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Privacy Commissioner awards $50,000 to Canadian Marketing Association for research into best practices regarding consumer privacy

Ottawa, January 27, 2005 – The Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Jennifer Stoddart, is pleased to announce that the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) is awarding $50,000, under its Contributions Program, to the Canadian Marketing Association (CMA) to develop privacy best practices to assist businesses in better handling customer personal information under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).

"The CMA has shown great leadership in awareness and promotion of privacy as good business practice amongst its membership through its Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, as well as its Privacy Code and Do Not Contact service," said Ms. Stoddart. "I am delighted to be involved in this collaborative partnership to achieve better consumer protection."

The CMA's three-phase project is aimed at helping small and medium-sized Canadian businesses to understand and comply with the provisions of PIPEDA, which protects the personal information given to businesses by customers.

In the first phase, the CMA will examine data management practices within organizations that have a good understanding of privacy issues, and will incorporate this research into best practices guidelines for wider use in the business community. Phase two will involve a detailed look at the role of the Chief Privacy Officer within companies, while the final phase will identify the specific questions, issues, and concerns of small business.

"PIPEDA applies to all types of businesses that use personal information, whether large or small," explained Ms. Stoddart. "We hope this project will identify and fill knowledge gaps for smaller business owners, and help them comply more easily with the law."

Small business represents the largest sector in Canada, with 75 per cent of employer-based businesses having fewer than 10 employees.

"The research contribution we have received from the federal privacy commissioner's office will go a long way in helping us develop a set of best practices that show businesses how to improve their privacy compliance efforts," noted John Gustavson, President and CEO of the Canadian Marketing Association. "By doing so, our objective is to take privacy to a new level by demonstrating how a commitment to privacy can be turned into a business advantage as well as a benefit to consumers."

The CMA research project is funded from the OPC's Contributions Program, launched in June 2004, to foster and develop Canada's national capacity for research into privacy issues and emerging technologies. The project is one of 10 research initiatives funded by the OPC.

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For more information, please contact:

Renée Couturier
Director, Public Education and Communications
Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada
Tel: (613) 995-0103

Ed Cartwright
Director of Communications
Canadian Marketing Association
Tel: (416) 644-3760

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