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Do Canada’s New Privacy Laws Really Help Private Business?  

The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) and an individual act for each Canadian province protect all Canadian data and business privacy in the country — or do they? PIPEDA is the federal act that oversees all of the provincial acts, which are as follows:

  • Alberta — The Personal Information Protection Act
  • British Columbia (BC) — The Personal Information Protection Act (same name as Alberta; different act)
  • New Brunswick — The Personal Health Information Privacy and Access Act
  • Newfoundland and Labrador — The Personal Health Information Act
  • Nova Scotia — The Personal Information International Disclosure Act
  • Ontario — The Personal Health Information Protection Act
  • Quebec — An Act Respecting the Protection of Personal Information in the Private Sector

Although each of these pieces of legislation is different, they all try to touch on the same topic — data privacy. However, all these laws have the same problem: Government has a huge problem keeping up with the technological advancements that are organizing, distributing, storing and protecting data in Canada for its business community. Although many of the laws have been updated, most of them still possibly lag behind the true nature of how data moves in modern-day Canada.

Privacy in Canada

Protecting Your Data as a Businessperson

Even politicians recognize that most of the laws on the books today do not have the reach to deal with virtual data or the cloud community that is becoming more prevalent by the day. In a virtual environment, there is less of a single physical presence for any piece of data, and therefore less of an entity for government to punish in the case of a criminal or civil redress. Government officials are warning business owners to follow the steps below:

Ask your cloud provider where the data that you put into the cloud will be physically stored.

If you have a physical location for your data, then you can maintain accountability more easily. Additional regulations must be considered if the data in the cloud provider that you choose is stored outside of the country. Although some of the laws mentioned claim jurisdiction over the data of any business that originates in Canada, the government does not always have the reach to impose its will in the case of a problem.

You must remain in compliance with Canadian law if your data is stored in another place. Canada has attempted to bring data physically back into the country so that the physical location of data coincides with the law, but the business community is fighting this tooth and nail. For one, cloud server prices are much cheaper in the United States, and the two countries have yet to come to an accord about jurisdiction over certain cases of virtual data.

What are the private safety measures in place to protect physical and digital data?

Physical protection should be present for the data you store at any data center, and there should also be high-level data encryption for the protection of your information.

The Mix Between Government and Private Business

The Canadian government, like every other government with a robust private business community and virtual data structure, has trouble keeping up with technology. Although you may be able to address certain issues with your data within the law, you can and should seek private protections for your data, especially if you are moving in the international space. However, to keep your governmental protections, you should endeavor to remain in compliance with provincial law.

IT Partners is the trusted choice when it comes to staying ahead of the latest information technology tips, tricks, and news. Contact us at (780) 513-4455 or send us an email at info@itpartners.ca for more information.