Language selection



OPC publishes survey of Canadian businesses on privacy-related issues

August 11, 2022

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has published the results of its most recent survey of Canadian businesses on privacy-related issues.

In this first survey of business since 2019, the OPC asked a wide range of questions in order to understand the extent to which businesses are familiar with privacy issues and what type of privacy policies and practices they have in place, as well as to assess compliance with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).

Quick facts:

  • Privacy practices have changed since 2019: 57% of companies had designated a privacy officer, down from 62%; 51% had developed internal policies for staff to address their privacy obligations, a drop from 55%; and 51% said the company had procedures in place to respond to customer requests for their personal information, down from 60% in 2019.
  • The percentage of companies that provide staff with privacy training and education has dropped to 34% from 39% in 2019.
  • Fewer companies (59%) report having a privacy policy in place than in the previous survey (65%). As in previous surveys, larger companies were more likely to have such policies – 79% of large businesses, compared to 66% of medium-sized and 58% of small businesses.
  • 43% of companies that have a privacy policy notify customers when making changes to their policy, up from 36% in 2019. The same proportion – 43% – obtain consent from customers when making changes to their company’s privacy practices, up from 34% in 2019.
  • 70% of businesses say they make their privacy information easily accessible to customers, up from 51% in 2019.
  • 94% of companies say they have not experienced a privacy breach, unchanged from 2019. High concern about privacy breaches has declined from a high of 37% in 2019 to 28%.
  • 74% of businesses say they have taken steps to ensure compliance with Canada’s privacy laws. The likelihood of taking steps increased with company size: 85% of large businesses, and 82% of medium-sized businesses have reportedly taken steps, compared to 73% of small companies have done so.

The various lockdowns and telework arrangements may have had an effect on the results, including the number of responses received, and the views of those participating in the survey.

“When businesses are preoccupied with pandemic-related impacts on their day-to-day operations, it is reasonable to assume that privacy responsibilities might not be top-of-mind,” says the survey report.

The 15-minute phone survey was conducted between January 12 and February 18, 2022 with representatives from 751 businesses across the country. The results can be considered accurate to within ±3.6%, 19 times out of 20.

The OPC commissions a survey of businesses every two years to better understand 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.

Date modified: