Human Resources Legislative Update
Ontario Announces Consultation on Modernizing Privacy
Date: June 23, 2021
On June 18, 2021, the Ontario government released a White Paper titled “Modernizing Privacy in Ontario” and announced a public consultation on the issues raised in the Paper. Headed by the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, the government is looking to revamp its legislative privacy framework and provide privacy protection beyond current provincial and federal regimes.
The White Paper sets out several proposals which the Ministry is considering in order to broaden the scope of privacy protection in Ontario, including establishing a “fundamental right to privacy for Ontarians,” introducing on-line protections for children and youth, regulating automated-decision making systems to guard against bias and other risks and requiring more informed consent and data transparency.
Notably for employers, there is a proposal to limit an organization’s ability to collect, use and disclose personal information about an employee. Part of that restriction may impose a necessity component where an employer would be required to demonstrate that the collection, use and disclosure of such information is necessary for the employment relationship.
The proposals were created in part from the feedback of stakeholders, including the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, through the Ontario government’s 2020 privacy reform consultation.
The deadline to submit comments or feedback with the Ministry is August 3, 2021. Readers should consult the website for further information or contact your Hicks Morley lawyer for assistance.
We will continue to monitor these developments, including the federal government’s proposed Bill C-11, Digital Charter Implementation Act, 2020, which at the time of writing is at Second Reading.
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