Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Prime Minister names DOJ's top national security and law enforcement lawyer as next Privacy Commissioner of Canada

The Prime Minister has tapped Daniel Therrien to be the next Privacy Commissioner of Canada. Mr. Therrien is a long-serving lawyer with the Department of Justice. Here is the announcement:



Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced the nomination of Daniel Therrien as the next Privacy Commissioner.

Mr. Therrien is currently Assistant Deputy Attorney General, Public Safety, Defence and Immigration Portfolio, at the Department of Justice. He began his career as Counsel to the Department of the Solicitor General of Canada, the Correctional Service of Canada and the National Parole Board. He subsequently went on to hold positions of increasing scope, complexity and responsibility, including Senior General Counsel and Director, Citizenship and Immigration Legal Services, at the Department of Justice; Director General, Refugee Policy, at Citizenship and Immigration Canada; and Manager, Legal Strategy and International Law, at the Department of Justice. Mr. Therrien holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Licence en droit from the University of Ottawa. He has been a member of the Quebec Bar since 1981.

As set out in the Privacy Act, this appointment must be approved by resolution of the Senate and House of Commons. In addition, pursuant to House of Commons Standing Order 111.1, the Government will be tabling this nomination for referral to the appropriate Standing Committee.

The Prime Minister took the opportunity to thank Chantal Bernier, who has been serving as Interim Privacy Commissioner since December 3, 2013, for her dedication and service to Canadians.

Quick Facts

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner was created in 1977 under the Canadian Human Rights Act, Part IV. The Privacy Act, which currently governs the functions of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, was adopted in 1983.

As an Agent of Parliament, the Privacy Commissioner oversees compliance with both the Privacy Act, which covers the personal information-handling practices of federal government departments and agencies, and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, Canada’s private sector privacy law. The mission of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada is to protect and promote the privacy rights of individuals.


“­­­­­­­­­­I am pleased that Daniel Therrien has agreed to be nominated for the position of Privacy Commissioner. He is a well-qualified candidate who would bring significant experience in law and privacy issues to the position.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper

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Biographical Notes: Daniel Therrien

I expect his appointment will be controversial as he has been the Assistant Deputy Attorney General with Justice Canada, responsible for providing advice to the following departments and agencies, most of which have been in the government surveillance crosshairs as of late:

  • Canada Border Services Agency
  • National Security Litigation and Advisory Group
  • Citizenship and Immigration Canada
  • Communications Security Establishment, Legal Services
  • Correctional Service Canada
  • Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Section
  • National Parole Board to Parole Board of Canada
  • National Defence and Canadian Forces, Legal Services
  • Public Safety Canada, Legal Services
  • Royal Canadian Mounted Police

This a politically bold choice that likely serves to reinforce that the government will not be changing its position regarding national security and law enforcement. It will be interesting to see the reaction to this appointment and to see whether the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, under his leadership, will continue to take a leadership role in advocating for privacy with respect to law enforcement and national security activities.

Only time will tell ...


Unknown said...

What will happen to the complaints I've made to the Privacy Commissioner about the RCMP and the Justice Dept? I've been waiting answers for years and now this. This country is going to s**t.

Anonymous said...

War is peace.
Freedom is slavery.
Ignorance is strength.
Surveillance is privacy.