Thursday, November 16, 2006

Saskatchewan Commissioner calls for overhaul of privacy law

The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Saksatchewan, Gary Dickson, has released his annual report for 2005-2006, calling for a significant overhaul of the province's public sector legislation. See: Saskatchewan told to update privacy laws that expose residents to risk - Yahoo! Canada News.

From the Commissioner's media release:


Information and Privacy Commissioner

NEWS RELEASE – November 16, 2006

Saskatchewan Information and Privacy Commissioner tables 2005-2006 Annual Report.

Saskatchewan’s Information and Privacy Commissioner, Mr. Gary Dickson, has submitted his Annual Report for 2005-2006 to the Legislative Assembly. The document is available at the website:

Dickson recommends action by the Saskatchewan Government to make Deputy Ministers and CEOs of Crown corporations and local authorities explicitly accountable for access and privacy compliance in their organizations.

The Commissioner also highlights unfinished business from his last Annual Report. Of six major recommendations in his 2005 Privacy and Access: A Saskatchewan ‘Roadmap’ for Action, there has been no action taken on four recommendations, namely:

  • Extend privacy protection to private sector employees in Saskatchewan;
  • Conduct a public review of our 14 year old law, The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, and then make the necessary changes to modernize that first- generation law;
  • Integrate two separate access and privacy laws into a single law to make it more understandable and easier to comply;
  • Ensure that public registries address the new challenges to the privacy of citizens.

The Commissioner also highlighted two emerging issues that warrant attention:

  • Development of an electronic health record for every man, woman and child in Saskatchewan poses major challenges to the protection of privacy. “It will be important to get the ‘privacy piece’ of the EHR right so that citizens will continue to be frank and candid when they deal with their family physician and other primary providers.”
  • There is a popular trend to promote ‘shared services’, whether SchoolPlus for children at risk, or multi-department delivery of services for adults. This trend requires a careful rethinking of the way access to information and privacy will be managed.

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