The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act: A Lost Opportunity to Democratize Canada's 'Technological Society'
(2000) 23 Dalhousie LJ 253
59 Pages Posted: 6 Aug 2013
Date Written: December 21, 2000
Bill C-6, more recently known as the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, is promoted by the Canadian government as privacy legislation to protect Canadian's personal information. This paper explores that characterization and concludes that it is inaccurate and misleading. The problem that motivated a response by Parliament is the proliferation and commercial importance of personal information, concerns Canadians have about its uncontrolled use by the private sector and the inadequacy of existing law to address those concerns. However, Bill C-6 has not responded to the problem as a result of several factors, primarily the disproportionate and anti-democratic importance of business interests in the promulgation of the legislation and the characterization of privacy in market terms rather than in the language of human rights and long-term policy objectives. Bill C-6's failure to achieve its substantive goals is demonstrated by comparing it to other models of privacy protection, such as the Privacy Charter proposed by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Human Rights, equivalent legislation in Quebec and the Australian Privacy Charter. Ultimately, the paper proposes solutions that would be more responsive to citizens' privacy concerns.
Keywords: privacy, PIPEDA, Canada human rights
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