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July 6, 2018

Commissioner announces two new Deputy Commissioners

Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien has announced the appointment of two new Deputy Commissioners who will be instrumental in helping to implement the OPC’s vision to be more proactive, and to focus efforts where there can be an impact for the greatest number of Canadians.

Gregory Smolynec will assume the position of Deputy Commissioner, Policy and Promotion. Dr. Smolynec has served as Director General Strategic Initiatives (DGSI) in the Strategic Joint Staff at National Defence Headquarters at the Department of National Defence. In that role, he has incorporated intelligence and policy inputs with tailored studies to inform national defence strategic decision-making and advice to government. His appointment is effective August 20, 2018.

Brent Homan has been selected as Deputy Commissioner, Compliance. Mr. Homan joined the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) in 2012 as Director General for investigations under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). In this role, he has been responsible for oversight of investigations involving companies such as Ashley Madison, Bell, Google and Facebook. He has also worked to increase the OPC’s enforcement collaboration with international partners. His appointment is effective July 9, 2018.

The appointments follow a competitive process. The Deputy Commissioner positions were created following an organizational review and the adoption of a new organizational structure, which took effect on April 1, 2018. The OPC’s work now falls into two program areas — Compliance and Promotion.

The Promotion Program is future-looking aims to inform Canadians of their rights and how to exercise them, and to bring organizations toward compliance with the law. This involves, for example, the development and promotion of general—yet practical—information and guidance, reviewing and commenting on Privacy Impact Assessments (PIAs), and offering industry advice on specific initiatives. The goal is to share information and advice with businesses and departments when they are designing their services so that Canadians may enjoy the benefits of innovation without undue risk to their privacy.

The Compliance Program focuses on addressing existing privacy compliance problems through a variety of enforcement activities to ensure violations of the law are identified and that remedies are recommended. The OPC’s investigative work can make a real difference to Canadians' privacy rights and this important work will continue.  This will include investigations into complaints filed by Canadians, but will also involve a shift towards more proactive enforcement, such as proactive, Commissioner-initiated investigations or, in certain cases, audits, to review issues that aren’t being addressed through the complaint system.

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