Perspectives — October 29-November 2, 2018

It was recently revealed that Statistics Canada is seeking the personal financial information of Canadians, without their prior knowledge or consent. Statistics Canada’s proposed “Personal Information Bank” would require nine of Canada’s largest banks and credit card companies to provide all banking transactions on 500,000 Canadians – including utility and mortgage payments, ATM withdrawals and account balances – all without their consent. 
Shockingly, the Prime Minister defended this plan.
In March of this year, documents obtained through Access to Information showed 20 separate incidents of information and privacy breaches at Statistics Canada in 2016, including one that involved almost 600 First Nations residents.
In its cyber security report released on Monday, the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce noted that the Privacy Act does not require federal departments and agencies to report privacy breaches to the Privacy Commissioner.
One of the ten recommendations brought forward by the committee urges the “federal government [to] modernize Canada’s privacy legislation to take into account emerging cyber security concerns and international standards.” The report suggests empowering the Office of the Privacy Commissioner with needed resources to impose fines against those that don’t take adequate measure to protect customers’ personal information.
It is my hope that the government takes the committee’s recommendations under serious consideration to secure the privacy of all Canadians.