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Privacy Commissioner renews funding for research into emerging privacy issues

Ottawa, July 6, 2005– "Canada must generate new knowledge to support the development of expertise in selected areas of privacy and data protection if we are to advance the privacy rights of Canadians," announced Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Jennifer Stoddart, today in launching the second annual $200,000 Contributions Program.

"Three quarters of Canadians surveyed in a recently commissioned EKOS Research Associates survey, told us that the protection of their personal information is one of the most important issues facing the country. We are delighted to renew our commitment to funding research into the privacy issues of greatest concern to Canadians," said Ms. Stoddart.

In an effort to address knowledge gaps and to provide guidance for the development of privacy policy and best practices, this year’s program will focus on the following three key priorities:

  • Issues related to the upcoming Parliamentary review of Part 1 of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, including, but not necessarily limited to:
    • the scope of the Act;
    • oversight models;
    • the consent provisions;
    • trans-border data flows;
    • identifying purposes; and
    • investigative activities.
  • Workplace privacy–for example, issues related to workplace monitoring, the use of technologies such as radio frequency identification (RFID) or location devices to track employees and, more generally, the application of Canadian privacy legislation to employee personal information.
  • The collection, use and disclosure of DNA samples by the private sector for a variety of purposes, including DNA analysis services available to the public for personal reasons such as paternity testing or genetically determined diseases and business reasons such as employee screening or identification.

According to David Flaherty, a leading international privacy expert and member of the Office’s External Advisory Committee, the continuation of the Contributions Program will advance and foster the promotion and understanding of privacy rights of Canadians.

"I am very pleased that the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada is renewing this important initiative that will enable privacy communities across Canada to keep pace with cutting-edge technologies that threaten personal privacy," said Dr. Flaherty.

Organizations that are eligible for funding under the Program include not-for profit organizations, such as educational institutions and industry and trade associations, as well as consumer, voluntary and advocacy organizations.

The maximum amount that can be awarded for any single research project is $50,000. Organizations are eligible to receive funding for only one project.

Projects must be completed within the fiscal year in which the funding was provided. The deadline to submit applications is August 19, 2005.

Links to the projects completed under the 2004-2005 Contributions Program will be available shortly on the OPC’s Web site.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada is mandated by Parliament to act as an ombudsman, advocate and guardian of the privacy and protection of personal information rights of Canadians.

For further information on the Contributions Program:

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For more information, please contact:

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

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