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News release

Canadians less confident that their privacy rights are being respected: poll

GATINEAU, QC, June 14, 2023 – In the wake of the pandemic, more Canadians are expressing concerns about privacy and less trust in how organizations handle their personal information, according to a new poll for the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.

According to the poll, 93% of Canadians expressed some level of concern about the protection of their privacy. Compared to 2020, the proportion of Canadians who said that they are extremely concerned about the protection of their privacy increased by 6 percentage points.

Four in 10 Canadians reported that they are more concerned about privacy and the protection of their personal information since the start of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, 6 in 10 Canadians feel that the federal government respects their privacy, while only 4 in 10 say the same for businesses. Confidence dropped 5 and 6 percentage points respectively for both since 2020, when the last OPC survey of Canadians was completed.

“The more that people trust that their privacy rights will be protected, the more confident that they will feel about participating freely in the digital economy, which is good for Canadians, good for businesses and good for public interest and innovation,” Commissioner Philippe Dufresne says.

“This is an important message for organizations in both the private and public sectors. Resources spent on protecting and promoting privacy – on creating a culture of privacy – are smart investments in the security and trust that Canadians have in organizations.”

The survey also found that concerns about privacy have prompted Canadians to take some actions to protect their privacy. For example:

  • Three-quarters of Canadians have adjusted privacy settings on a social media account (75%) or refused to provide an organization or business with their personal information due to privacy concerns (74%);
  • Half (50%) have deleted or stopped using a social media account due to privacy concerns;
  • 38% have stopped doing business with a company or organization that experienced a privacy breach; and
  • One-third (32%) said that they have raised a privacy concern with a company or organization.

While the survey found that older Canadians were altogether more concerned about privacy than their younger counterparts, they were also among the least likely to take concrete actions to protect it online. Canadians over 55 were significantly less likely to have adjusted privacy settings on a social media account, deleted or stopped using a social media account, and to have stopped doing business with a company that experienced a privacy breach.

Meanwhile, the youngest respondents – aged 16-24 – were more likely to describe themselves as less knowledgeable about privacy rights and how to protect those rights.

“Canadians of all ages need more information about their privacy rights, both online and offline, and they need to know how to protect them. Promotion of clear, easily accessible information about privacy will continue to be a priority of my Office,” Commissioner Dufresne says.

The telephone survey was administered to 1,500 residents across Canada between November 23rd and December 18th, 2022. It is considered accurate within plus or minus 2.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

Related documents

2022-23 Survey of Canadians on Privacy-Related Issues

For more information

Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada

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