Commissioner welcomes legal community's call for privacy law reform

    QUEBEC CITY, Aug. 18 /CNW Telbec/ - A Canadian Bar Association (CBA)
resolution once again highlights the urgent need for reform of Canada's
federal public sector privacy legislation, says the Privacy Commissioner of
Canada, Jennifer Stoddart.
    "With this resolution, lawyers from across the country are urging the
government to strengthen privacy protection for Canadians. Canada's federal
sector privacy legislation, the Privacy Act, is unbelievably inadequate," says
Commissioner Stoddart.
    "I hope the federal government will heed the CBA's call for modernization
of the Act. This is the latest in a string of appeals from privacy experts
about the need to update legislation which has been far outpaced by
technological and societal changes."
    The CBA, which is holding its 2008 Legal Conference in Quebec City,
passed the resolution calling for comprehensive revision of the Privacy Act on
the weekend.
    In particular, it proposes changes to the legislation to ensure that:

    - Federal government departments only collect personal information when
      demonstrably necessary for clear and articulated state goals;
    - Once collected, personal information is rigorously protected with
      stringent safeguards and accountability requirements, including a
      breach notification requirement; and
    - Personal information is not shared within or beyond Canada's borders
      unless those safeguards and requirements can be guaranteed.

    The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) has long been
advocating for reform of the Privacy Act, which is a quarter-century old and
has never been substantially updated.
    Last spring, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Access to
Information, Privacy and Ethics began a study of the Privacy Act and possible
amendments. The OPC reform proposals to the committee are posted at The OPC looks forward
to the Committee's recommendations.
    The CBA resolution is available at

    The Privacy Commissioner of Canada is mandated by Parliament to act as an
ombudsman, advocate and guardian of privacy and the protection of personal
information rights of Canadians.

For further information:

For further information: Valerie Lawton, Office of the Privacy
Commissioner of Canada, (613) 943-5982,

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