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Privacy Commissioner of Canada awards $148,850 for research on privacy issues

Ottawa, December 22, 2005 – The Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Jennifer Stoddart, today announced that five organizations will be awarded a total of $148,850 through her Office’s Contributions Program for research into emerging privacy issues. Studies through the program will delve into the thriving data brokerage industry, the use of DNA samples, workplace surveillance, and compliance with and enforcement of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), Canada’s private sector privacy law.

This is the second year of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada’s (OPC) Contributions Program, which was launched in June 2004 to support research by not-for-profit groups, including educational institutions, industry and trade associations, and consumer, voluntary and advocacy organizations. Its goal is to further the development of a national research capacity in Canada in the broad spectrum of issues impacting privacy.

“In recent polls, close to 70 per cent of Canadians have told us that protecting privacy will become one of the country’s most pressing issues,” says Ms. Stoddart. “I’m very pleased to see the range of interests that this research represents. These studies will help us to further our knowledge of these important issues, and ultimately to help us protect and promote the privacy rights of Canadians. Every day, this Office is engaged in research and analysis on a wide range of privacy activities, but we cannot tackle everything ourselves. Society must become engaged in understanding the world that lies ahead, and we are pleased to see the level of interest from all parts of the community in this program.”

Funded Projects

Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic
Ottawa, ON
The PIPEDA: Compliance Testing and Special Report on the Data-Brokerage Industry

Evaluate organizational compliance with PIPEDA and research the growing data-brokerage industry

$50,000
Ryerson University
Toronto, ON
Workplace Privacy - The Employer's Perspective

Highlight some of the issues, concerns and interests that motivate employers in their adaptation of new workplace surveillance technology

$36,150
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC
A Preliminary Exploration of Workplace Privacy Issues in Canada

Explore the challenges to privacy in the workplace posed by current and emerging technologies

$27,000
British Columbia Civil Liberties Association
Vancouver, BC
PIPEDA Enforcement Evaluation

Comparing PIPEDA's effectiveness to similar regimes in other jurisdictions

$24,200
University of Ottawa
Ottawa, ON
Social Uses of DNA Information in the Context of Developing Policies and Analysis of two DNA related bills

Exploration of the social uses of DNA by a comparative analysis of two DNA bills

$11,500

“We are very excited about the work these researchers are undertaking,” says David H. Flaherty, a member of the OPC’s External Advisory Committee. “The proposals are top-notch and Canadians can have confidence that the investment in these initiatives will help to help enrich the community of privacy scholarship in Canada.”

In addition to investigating complaints and conducting audits, and the other activities within the Privacy Commissioner’s multi-faceted mandate, she is mandated to undertake and publish research that is related to the protection of personal information. The program was set up as part of the Office’s budget pursuant to its program/legislative authority under PIPEDA, which received Royal Assent on April 13, 2000.

Since it was first launched in 2004, the Contributions Program has awarded a total of $520,440. Research bodies across Canada are invited to apply for grants to examine various privacy interests. After a thorough screening process, the organizations are then awarded the resources to initiate the research. The projects are expected to be completed in 2006 and links will be posted to the Privacy Commissioner’s Web site.

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

View our Backgrounder.

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For more information, please contact:

Florence M.C. Nguyen
Media Relations
Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada
Tel: (613) 943-0025
E-mail: fnguyen@privcom.gc.ca

Valerie Georgewill
Media Relations
Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada
Tel: (613) 992-3745
E-mail: vgeorgewill@privcom.gc.ca

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