Contributions Program: Privacy Research and Related Knowledge Translation Initiatives Funded by the OPC

Call for Proposals: 2015 Pathways to Privacy Research Symposium

May 30, 2014

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) is once again making $50,000 available to eligible applicants under the OPC Contributions Program to organize and host the third Pathways to Privacy Research Symposium in 2015. Funding is available for eligible organizations that submit proposals in accordance with the established parameters that are described below.

Important Information

Maximum funding available:

Application deadline:
June 30, 2014, 11:59 p.m.

Anticipated notice of decision:
July 18, 2014

Anticipated funding start date:
July 25, 2014

Date on which symposium must be held:
Between January 15 and March 31, 2015


In 2012, the OPC organized and hosted the first Pathways to Privacy symposium. The event showcased privacy-related research and public education projects funded by the OPC’s Contributions Program and other funders. It was attended by over 130 participants representing a wide variety of interests, including academia, government, non-profit organizations and privacy regulators. The theme for the first symposium was Privacy for Everyone and topics included: the changing landscape for youth, reaching diverse populations, cultural perspective on privacy, and frontiers of identification and surveillance among different populations.

For the second Pathways to Privacy symposium, the OPC invited proposals from non-profit organizations eligible under the OPC Contributions Program to organize and host the event. Proposals were evaluated by the OPC and funding was awarded to the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA). The theme of the CCLA symposium was “Helping Canadians Find Pathways to Privacy,” and it was held at the University of Toronto in March 2014. The symposium drew on recent research conducted under the OPC’s Contributions Program, and like the previous event, it provided a forum for academic researchers, civil society and public interest groups, and individuals to discuss privacy research results and their relevance for Canadians.

Sessions were open to the public and they were also recorded and broadcast via a live webcast to ensure greater accessibility. In keeping with federal government policies, the event materials and sessions were made available in both English and French. The CCLA organized the symposium in partnership with the University of Toronto, Ryerson University, Sherbrooke University, and the Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC). For more information, see the Helping Canadians Find Pathways to Privacy symposium website.

This Year's Symposium

This year, we are once again inviting proposals from non-profit organizations eligible under the OPC Contributions Program to organize and host a Pathways to Privacy symposium. We hope this approach will introduce fresh thinking and new perspectives to the series concept, while continuing to promote privacy awareness and discussion.

As with our first two symposiums, this event must aim to increase awareness of the outcomes of privacy research and public education projects in Canada. The symposium’s key objective should be to facilitate a dialogue between the people who do research in academia and civil society, and those who can apply it in the private and government sectors, so that more people can benefit from this work. In particular, the symposium must aim to provide researchers, decision makers in business and policy makers in government with an opportunity to network and build partnerships.

Private Sector Focus

The OPC Contributions Program finds its authority under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), which governs the collection, use or disclosure of personal information by organizations in the course of commercial activities. Accordingly, only symposia proposals that address privacy issues in the private sector or at the interface between the private and public sectors are eligible for funding.

Official Languages

Organizations working at the national or regional level and receiving substantial financial assistance from the OPC through its Contributions Program are expected to provide services in both English and French. This means that proposals must provide for simultaneous interpretation at the event. As well, all documents published in the context of the symposium — e.g. the agenda, biographies of speakers, and the event’s web page — must be in both official languages. In evaluating proposals, consideration will also be given by the OPC to the ability of applicants to invite speakers who can partake in the symposium in either or both official languages.


Review Process and Evaluation

The OPC will provide funding for a symposium proposal that aligns with the OPC’s four priority areas. Prior to accepting the applications for evaluation, the OPC will conduct a relevance review based on complete applications and nominative information. Academic institutions and not-for-profit organizations are eligible for funding; this includes industry associations, consumer and voluntary organizations, trade associations and advocacy organizations.

To be eligible, all applications must include:

  • a theme that complies with the symposium objectives, as set out in the evaluation criteria below;
  • the name and description of the institution that will be hosting the event (to whom the payment will be made);
  • a point of contact for all communication purposes (including phone number, fax number and email address);
  • name of a person who has authority to sign an agreement for OPC funding;
  • a tentative date, time and location for the symposium (the event must be held in Canada and take place between January 15 and March 31, 2015);
  • a commitment to respect the terms set out in the Contributions Program Applicant's Guide; and
  • the applicant’s consent to share the application with a designated review committee for the purposes of review.

Applications that are not deemed to be relevant will not be included in the evaluation process.

An OPC-constituted review committee will evaluate the applications in accordance with the criteria below.

2015 Pathways to Privacy Symposium Evaluation Criteria
Criteria Indicators Information to be provided in application
Excellence of the organization
(20 per cent)
Ability of the organization and its staff to deliver the symposium successfully
  • The applicant must describe all relevant experience in its previous public outreach activities.
Financial considerations
  • The maximum amount that can be awarded is $50,000. The applicant must provide a realistic budget forecast and explain how the symposium plan will deliver value for money.
Quality of the symposium
(50 per cent)
Symposium objectives
  • The proposed privacy research-related theme must be related to one or more of the OPC’s four priority areas: 1) identity integrity and privacy, 2) information technology and privacy, 3) genetic information and privacy, 4) public safety and privacy.
  • The proposed theme will be evaluated for its originality, creativity, relevance and timeliness.
  • The proposed theme must be focused on the protection of personal information in the private sector.
Symposium content and format
  • The format of the symposium program may be consistent with the 2012 symposium and 2014 symposium. However, new and innovative approaches will be considered.
  • OPC-funded researchers must form at least 50% of the researchers on the symposium program.
  • Proposals must demonstrate that applicants plan to and have the ability to organise and host a bilingual event—e.g., simultaneous translation must be provided and all symposium documents (the agenda or program, the biographies of speakers, etc.) must be in both official languages
  • Consideration will be given by the OPC to the ability of applicants to invite speakers who can partake in the symposium in either or both official languages.
Impact and Reach
(30 per cent)
Target audience
  • The applicant must include a plan to make the symposium widely accessible to the Canadian public, with particular emphasis on consumer and student participation, and including use of social media to broaden the reach of the event.
  • The applicant must also include a plan to invite and include in the symposium decision makers in the business and government sectors, so that those who can implement privacy-sensitive policies and programs can benefit from recent findings in privacy research.
  • The applicant must commit to recognizing OPC support for the symposium in promotional material prior to and at the event itself.
  • The application must include a detailed communications plan (strategies, tools and timeline), a proposal on the use of social media platforms, and a commitment to use the existing Pathways to Privacy graphics and branding (in particular recognition of OPC Contributions Program funding of the event).
  • The applicant must commit to posting the symposium-related materials on the Internet, in English and in French.
Monitoring and evaluation
  • The application must include an evaluation plan to provide OPC officials with the results of a post-event participant survey.
  • The applicant must commit to providing frequent and regular updates to the OPC once the application has been funded until the event itself takes place.
  • The applicant must commit to providing a 250-word, post-event summary of the symposium, including links to any related background materials, for posting on the OPC website.

To apply for funding:

Access to Information and Privacy

The information provided to the OPC as part of your application is subject to the Privacy Act and the Access to Information Act, and may be accessible or protected as required under the provisions of the Acts. For more information contact the OPC.

For enquiries from potential applicants, please contact:

François Cadieux
Senior Research Analyst (Contributions Program Manager)
Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada
Tel.: (819) 994-6010