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News release

Canadians concerned about access to their online personal information: poll

Survey finds identity theft to be a growing concern among Canadians

GATINEAU, QC, June 15, 2021 – Canadians remain apprehensive about the protection of their personal information and certain online practices, a new poll commissioned by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada suggests.

“The digital revolution has immense promise and offers important benefits, but new technologies also pose risks to our values and to our rights. These survey results show that Canadians remain concerned about privacy – particularly when they are online,” Commissioner Therrien says.

The vast majority of Canadians (87%) expressed concern about the protection of their privacy. Other survey findings indicate concerns that personal information online may be used in unexpected ways:

  • Approximately nine in 10 Canadians (89%) are concerned about people using information available about them online to attempt to steal their identity.
  • Nearly nine in 10 are concerned about social media platforms gathering personal information that they (88%) or someone else (89%) posted online to create a detailed profile of their interests and personal traits.
  • 88% are concerned about how companies and organizations might use information available about them online to make decisions about them, such as for a job, an insurance claim or health coverage.

The survey found that Canadians are taking proactive steps to ensure their personal information is protected. For example, seven in 10 Canadians have refused to provide an organization or business with their personal information due to privacy concerns, and three-quarters (74%) have adjusted privacy settings on a social media account. Four in 10 have deleted a social media account due to privacy concerns or stopped doing business with a company that experienced a privacy breach.

The telephone survey was administered to 1,502 residents across Canada between November 21st and December 20th, 2020. It is considered accurate within plus or minus 2.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

Related document

2020 Survey of Canadians on Privacy-Related Issues

About the Privacy Commissioner of Canada

The Privacy Commissioner of Canada is mandated by Parliament to act as a guardian of privacy in Canada. The Commissioner enforces two 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, Canada’s federal private sector privacy law.

For more information

Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada

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