When Canada’s privacy rules come into effect, you might want to think twice about sharing personal data with third parties, warns the privacy watchdog
A new law in Canada will require Canadians to disclose their personal information to any third party that asks for it, even if the request comes from a business or a government agency.
The Privacy Commissioner of Canada has been pushing for such a requirement for years, but the law is now on the books.
The rules are intended to protect the privacy of Canadians and, in some cases, even their personal data.
“This legislation sets a strong baseline for what is required,” said Paul-Claude Bélanger, the privacy commissioner.
“It does require disclosure of data that is not legally required by law, but is necessary for an authorized agency to perform its functions.”
The rules also mandate that Canadians are supposed to be given an opportunity to opt-out of the sharing of personal data, if they don’t want it.
Under the legislation, any company that asks a third party for the information must also disclose it to the consumer.
“I have been very pleased with how the legislation has gone through the committee process,” said Béolanger.
“And I think we have a strong base for the privacy rule to become effective.”
It’s not clear whether the legislation will be adopted in the House of Commons or in the Senate.
But Béelanger said he believes it’s likely to pass.
“We have a lot of good momentum, so I think it’s certainly possible to get this legislation through both houses of Parliament,” he said.
The new privacy rules are in the works and, as the CBC reported, the Privacy Commissioner’s Office is now working to draft a more detailed bill that could be enacted in the spring.
The privacy commissioner’s office also said it’s also working with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the Canada Border Services Agency to develop rules on how to share personal information.
In a news release, the office said that while the rules won’t go into effect immediately, it expects them to be in place by March of next year.
The department also said the privacy rules will apply to any communication with Canadians, including electronic mail, telephone calls, and online chats.
The agency said that any third parties that request personal information, including from a Canadian company, will need to provide the information to the Privacy Office within 10 business days.
“The Privacy Office is reviewing the requirements and working with our partners to ensure that these requirements are in line with the rules,” said the agency in a news statement.
“In the meantime, it’s important that Canadians understand that they are not obligated to disclose personal information if it is legally required.”
A spokeswoman for the Privacy Protection Commissioner of British Columbia told CBC News the department is currently working with British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec to develop the rules.