October 9, 2013
Canadians have come to expect greater accountability and transparency on the part of both governments and private-sector organizations with respect to how they gather, create, share, disclose and manage information, including personal information.
There have been many changes in technology, changes to government practices (such as public-private partnerships, outsourcing or shared services models), and Canadians’ expectations over the years. Recent revelations about government surveillance programs have heightened Canadians’ concerns about the erosion of their privacy rights and have prompted calls for increased transparency and greater oversight of national security initiatives.
Most Canadian access and privacy laws have not been fundamentally changed to keep up with these changes and to improve protections and rights since their passage, some more than 20 years ago. Only a few Canadian laws have recently been passed or updated to address modern challenges and to ensure continued protection of individuals’ rights to access and privacy.
At the same time, other laws have been amended or passed that have had the result of undermining or eroding access and privacy rights – the very rights access and privacy laws were intended to protect and guarantee.
Elsewhere in the world, privacy and access laws are being strengthened to meet the realities of the 21st Century – more powerful information and communication technologies, the challenge of managing electronic information and the social and political demands of engaged citizens. Canada’s laws need to do the same.
Information is one of Canada’s most important national resources.
Robust protection of privacy and access to information are defining values for Canadians and underpin our democratic rights and freedoms.
Canadians need to be able to hold public institutions and private organizations to account for their privacy practices, their access decisions and their information management.
Canada must re-establish its position as a leader in both the access and privacy fields.
1) Canada’s Information and Privacy Commissioners and Ombudspersons call on ourrespective governments to recommit to the fundamental democratic values underpinning access and personal privacy legislation by:
In terms of access to information:
In terms of privacy:
2) Canada’s Information and Privacy Commissioners and Ombudspersons commit to
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