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August 27, 2010

Canada joins APEC cross-border privacy enforcement initiative

Canada has been accepted as a participant in a new Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) mechanism for cross-border cooperation on data privacy enforcement.

The initiative – the APEC Cross-border Privacy Enforcement Arrangement – was developed to facilitate information sharing and cooperation between authorities responsible for data and consumer protection in the APEC region.

Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Jennifer Stoddart, says the arrangement is an important step forward in addressing new challenges for privacy in a globalized, online world.

“This will help us deal with privacy concerns relating to organizations that operate in multiple jurisdictions and businesses that move personal information across borders for processing. These are increasingly common phenomena in the economy of the 21st century and we need 21st century tools to address them,” says Commissioner Stoddart.

Canada’s notice of intent to participate in the initiative was formally accepted this week.

The arrangement establishes a process under which participating authorities may contact each other for help with collecting evidence, sharing information on an organisation or matter being investigated, enforcing actions, and transferring complaints to another jurisdiction.

It also encourages cooperation between privacy enforcement authorities in APEC and their international, non-APEC counterparts as the arrangement has been designed to work seamlessly with other regional and global schemes.

The arrangement was developed by a volunteer group of APEC member economies with input from civil society and business groups. To date, the participants in the arrangement also include the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Australia, Hong Kong’s Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of New Zealand and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. Additional privacy enforcement authorities from APEC member economies are also expected to join.

For more information, please see:

APEC Cross-border Privacy Enforcement Arrangement (CPEA)

APEC News Release

APEC Fact Sheet

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