Privacy Commissioner launches e-learning tool for retailers

    OTTAWA, Aug. 20 /CNW Telbec/ - Retailers now have a free, do-it-yourself
interactive tool to help them bring their privacy practices and policies in
line with the law, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Jennifer Stoddart,
announced today.
    "Small businesses often don't have the money to hire privacy specialists
or lawyers to help them figure out how to comply with Canada's privacy
legislation," says Commissioner Stoddart. "Nor is it always necessary. Good
privacy compliance doesn't have to be expensive or time-consuming".
    The new e-learning tool created by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner
of Canada (OPC) provides retailers with the information they need to set up
their business to meet their obligations under Canada's privacy laws and
provide customers with the privacy protection they're guaranteed under the
Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).
    "Protecting customers' information is an increasingly important part of
running a business today and the online training is a valuable tool to help
our members build solid privacy practices into their operations," says
Catherine Swift, President and CEO of the Canadian Federation of Independent
Business (CFIB).
    Derek Nighbor, Vice-President, National Affairs with the Retail Council
of Canada (RCC) agrees. "With the proliferation of identity thieves and online
fraudsters, members of the RCC who do not always have the time or the
resources to learn about PIPEDA requirements will be pleased with the
user-friendliness of this e-learning tool. Ultimately, their customers will
find this a rewarding tool in the protection of their personal information"
says Mr. Nighbor.
    The OPC, in a joint initiative with the RCC, recently mailed privacy
information kits to some 3,000 retailers in provinces where businesses are
governed by PIPEDA. The kit includes a guide entitled Your Privacy
Responsibilities: A Guide for Businesses and Organizations. (The kits will not
go out to Retail Council members in the three provinces which have adopted
their own private-sector privacy laws, B.C., Alberta and Quebec.)
    "Some small businesses have been very proactive in developing good
privacy practices, while many others still have a ways to go," Ms. Stoddart
    "Protecting customers' personal information is the law, and it's also
good for a company's reputation and bottom line," the Commissioner adds,
noting that research has shown it costs far less to adequately protect
personal information in the first place than to clean up after a data breach.
    The online retailer training session takes only about 30 minutes to
complete. At the end, retailers will have: an information audit of their
business; consent provisions required specifically for their business; a
security plan; a sample privacy brochure for customers; and a training needs
assessment. The interactive training is available online at
    New information for other types of small businesses is also available on
the OPC's web site.
    Companies - large and small - in all but three provinces are subject to
PIPEDA. The law imposes obligations on how those businesses must handle
personal information such as names and addresses.

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

For further information:

For further information: and/or media interview requests: Colin McKay,
Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, (613) 995-0103,

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