Friday, January 02, 2004

Welcome to the Canadian Privacy Law blog

This is the inaugural entry in the Canadian Privacy Law blog ... Something that I hope will be a useful spot for reporting developments in Canadian Privacy Law. And now a word about me: I'm a lawyer practicing privacy law at Atlantic Canada's largest single law partnership, McInnes Cooper. My "official biography" is at, if you are curious. Of course, any stuff I post on this blog is not an official statement of McInnes Cooper, nor is it any sort of legal opinion. I've decided to create this blog because Canadian privacy law is in a period of rapid transition and transformation. As of January 1, 2004, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (aka PIPEDA or the PIPED Act) began to apply to every organization that collects, uses and discloses personal information in the course of commercial activities in Canada, except in those provinces that have legislation that deemed to be substantially similar. At the moment, only Quebec's law has been deemed to be substantially similar. PIPEDA has been around for a little while; it began to apply to "federal works, undertakings and businesses" on January 1, 2001. Though it isn't exactly new, many of its principles remain untested and many key terms are not satisfyingly defined. For example, PIPEDA requires consent for the collection, use and disclosure of personal information and that consent has to be commensurate with the sensitivity of that information. The thresholds for opt-in, opt-out, express and implied consent are relatively untested. Therefore, anyone who wants to fully understand the law needs to keep up to date on developments at the Office of the Privacy Commissioner and the Federal Court of Canada. I hope to post links on this site to recent findings, decisions and articles on the privacy law. I'll even throw in some of my own thoughts, for good measure. As a preliminary matter, below are a bunch of articles that I've written on the topic of Canadian privacy law that may be of asstance to those trying to find their way through PIPEDA: I hope this is useful to those interested in Canadian privacy law.

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