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June 9, 2020

OPC publishes survey of Canadian businesses on privacy-related issues

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) has published the results of its latest survey of Canadian businesses on privacy-related issues.

The phone survey was conducted between November 29 and December 19, 2019, with 1,003 business representatives. The results are considered accurate to within plus or minus 3.1%, 19 times out of 20.

As in previous years, company size was the strongest predictor of a company’s privacy practices. Larger companies are more likely to have put in place a series of privacy practices, to have policies or procedures in place to assess privacy risks and to have a privacy policy.

The survey examined a wide range of issues, including how businesses take steps to obtain meaningful consent, practices related to privacy policies and concerns about data breaches.

The OPC commissions a poll every two years to better understand business awareness and approaches to privacy protection. The survey findings are used to help the OPC provide guidance to both individuals and organizations on privacy issues and to enhance outreach efforts with businesses.

The latest poll included some new questions to examine whether organizations are following the OPC’s guidelines for obtaining meaningful consent. The guidance highlights a number of issues such as providing clear, complete information about the collection, use and disclosure of personal information.

Quick facts

  • An overwhelming majority of respondents (88%) said customer privacy is an important corporate objective, with more than two-thirds (69%) saying it is "extremely important".
  • Half of respondents (51%) said they make privacy information easily accessible to their customers.
  • Less than half of respondents (45%) said their organization makes clear to customers whether the collection, use or disclosure of information is a condition of service.
  • Less than two-thirds of respondents (60%) said they had procedures in place to respond to customers’ requests to access their personal information.
  • More than half of respondents (58%) said they had procedures in place to address customers’ privacy complaints.
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