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News release

New survey explores business views and practices on privacy-related issues, including AI

GATINEAU, QC, May 6, 2024 – Privacy Commissioner Philippe Dufresne marked the beginning of Privacy Awareness Week today with the release of the results of his Office’s most recent survey of Canadian businesses on privacy-related issues.

The survey explores the views and practices of businesses from across Canada on issues and activities that are related to privacy, including questions about artificial intelligence as well as children’s privacy, which are among the Commissioner’s strategic priorities.

According to the poll, 12% of businesses collect personal information from minors.

And although just 6% of Canadian companies say that they currently use artificial intelligence (AI), nearly a quarter indicated that they intend to use this emerging technology in the next five years.

“Protecting privacy is one of the paramount challenges of our time,” says Commissioner Dufresne. “With a quarter of Canadian businesses planning to adopt AI in the next five years, the survey results underscore the important work ahead to ensure a future where innovation can flourish, and the fundamental right to privacy is upheld.”

Privacy Awareness Week is coordinated by the Asia Pacific Privacy Authorities and held annually in May to promote awareness of privacy issues and the importance of the protection of personal information. This year’s theme is “Privacy and technology: Improving transparency, accountability, and security.”

The survey also found that:

  • 80% of businesses consider the protection of customers’ personal information to be of high or extremely high importance; 14% said privacy is moderately important.
  • Most companies are aware of their responsibilities under Canada’s privacy laws (88% at least moderately aware) and have taken steps to ensure that they comply with these laws (76%).
  • Actions that businesses report taking to manage their privacy obligations include:
    • designating a privacy officer (56%)
    • having procedures to deal with complaints (53%)
    • having internal privacy policies (50%)
    • having procedures to deal with access requests (50%)
    • providing staff with privacy training (33%)
  • Awareness of OPC information and tools for businesses has increased, with 41% of businesses saying that they are aware of OPC tools, up from 33% in 2022; and 26% using OPC resources, up from 17% in 2013.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) commissions this research every two years to better understand business awareness and approaches to privacy protection. The findings are used to help the OPC develop guidance for organizations and enhance outreach efforts with businesses.

This year’s telephone survey of 800 Canadian businesses was conducted from November 21 to December 21, 2023. Based on a sample of this size, the results can be considered accurate to within ±3.5%, 19 times out of 20.

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Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada

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