Do the right thing Ontario, make a move now to fight ID Theft

    TORONTO, Feb. 6 /CNW/ - Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner Ann
Cavoukian today called on the Ontario Government to show leadership in the
battle against identity theft rather than relying exclusively on the federal
government to bring in much-needed legislation.
    The Commissioner was reacting to comments made on Monday by Government
Services Minister Gerry Phillips, who called on Ottawa to force Canadian banks
and retailers to notify customers when their credit or debit card information
has been compromised.
    "I greatly respect Minister Phillips, but in my view, he is ill-advised
here" said the Commissioner. "I have been writing to the Minister for the past
three years, as well as to the Premier, to bring in made-in-Ontario
legislation that would address breach notification, as well other crucial
privacy issues."
    "Victims of identity theft need to be notified as soon as possible in
order to take whatever steps may be necessary to protect themselves, not
months later. Learning about being the victim of a breach only when you get
your credit card statement is not the way to do it - that's far too late."
    Three of Canada's four largest provinces (B.C., Alberta and Quebec)
already have private-sector privacy legislation. Ontario is the only one that
does not. "I have been emphasizing that breach notification must be included
as a basic principle of such Ontario legislation," said the Commissioner.
    "Without specific legislation, I have taken what limited steps I can. In
December, I released a Breach Notification Assessment Tool (available at which we jointly produced with my counterpart in British
Columbia. It provides hands-on advice to assist organizations in making key
decisions regarding notification after a privacy breach occurs.
    "Instead of pointing to Ottawa, Ontario should be taking responsibility
for bringing in its own legislation (like the above three provinces have),
that will address Ontario's privacy needs, including a key provision to
require breach notification."

For further information:

For further information: Media contact: Bob Spence, Communications
Co-ordinator, Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner/Ontario,
Phone: (416) 326-3939; Cell: (416) 873-9746

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