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May 3, 2023

Commissioner: Meaningful privacy obligations should apply to political parties

Political parties collect large amounts of sensitive personal information and should be subject to laws that will assure Canadians that their fundamental right to privacy is properly protected, says Privacy Commissioner of Canada Philippe Dufresne.

Commissioner Dufresne appeared today before the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs to discuss amendments to the Canada Elections Act proposed in Bill C-47, the Budget Implementation Act. The proposed amendments would authorize political parties and their affiliates to collect, use, disclose, retain and dispose of personal information in accordance with the party’s own privacy policy.

"Given the importance of privacy and the sensitive nature of the information being collected, Canadians need and deserve a privacy regime for political parties that goes further than self-regulation and that provides meaningful standards and independent oversight to protect and promote electors’ fundamental right to privacy," the Commissioner told committee members.

In his remarks, Commissioner Dufresne stated that political parties should be subject to privacy requirements that are grounded in legislation and based on internationally recognized privacy principles, including recourse to an independent third party with authority to verify and enforce compliance and provide remedies in case of a breach.


Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada

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