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News Release

Privacy Commissioner announces funding for innovative independent research into emerging privacy issues

OTTAWA, April 30, 2014 - The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada today announced it will provide over $470,000 in funding for nine new, independent research and knowledge translation projects through its 2014-15 Contributions Program.

The projects will explore a variety of emerging privacy issues that fall under the Office's four priority policy areas: identity integrity and protection, information technology, genetic information, and public safety. These projects will generate and disseminate new knowledge about privacy risks and protections that can be applied by government institutions, organizations and individual Canadians. Some examples of this year’s projects include:

  • A study of smart vehicle technology: This project will examine the privacy implications of the use of telematics by vehicle manufacturers and insurers. The researchers will host a multi-stakeholder discussion forum and develop an in-depth research report.
  • A documentary about privacy and geneology: This broadcast-quality documentary titled Data Mining the Deceased: Ancestry and the Business of Family will explore the development of the world's biggest genealogical databases and the privacy implications of the concentration and aggregation of this data.
  • An analysis of the privacy policies of online payday lenders: This project will conduct a consumer survey and hold stakeholder meetings to determine how the privacy protections of online payday lenders align with privacy legislation and customer expectations.
  • A study of mental health information privacy: This project will identify leading issues, best practices and standards for managing health information privacy in the federally regulated workplace. This information could be used for the development of future guidance.
  • An app to educate kids about online privacy: This initiative will develop a privacy game app for tablets and smartphones that introduces children to the concept of online privacy and teaches them how to make smart choices about the personal information they share online.

“We received a variety of fascinating proposals this year, and I look forward to seeing the results that the funded projects will generate,” says Interim Privacy Commissioner Chantal Bernier. “For more than 10 years, the Contributions Program has generated top-notch independent research and knowledge translation activities, and this work has been invaluable in advancing privacy discussions and promoting the protection of personal information in Canada.”

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada received 45 proposals for the 2014-15 funding cycle of the Contributions Program. Each proposal was evaluated on the basis of merit by the Privacy Commissioner's Office, as well as an external peer review panel of privacy experts in various fields.

A full list of the 2014-15 Contributions Program recipients and their proposed projects is available on our web site.

The Contributions Program was created in 2004 to support arm’s length, non-profit research on privacy, further privacy policy development, and promote the protection of personal information in Canada. To date, the Program has allocated over $4 million to some 100 initiatives in Canada and is considered one of the world’s foremost privacy research funding programs.

About the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada

The Privacy Commissioner of Canada is mandated by Parliament to act as an ombudsman and guardian of privacy in Canada. The Commissioner enforces two federal laws for the protection of personal information: the Privacy Act, which applies to the federal public sector; and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), which applies to organizations engaged in commercial activities in the Atlantic provinces, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and the Territories. Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia each has its own law covering the private sector. Even in these provinces,PIPEDA continues to apply to the federally regulated private sector and to personal information in interprovincial and international transactions.

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For more information, please contact:

Heather Ormerod, Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada

NOTE: To help us to respond more quickly, journalists are asked to please send requests for interviews or further information via e-mail.

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