This legislation received royal assent in Canada in April of last year.
The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act continues
to be misinterpreted by law firms, accountants and privacy advocates alike
... especially the provisions of applicability and coming into force.
Although the implications of the Bill are far reaching it does not affect
all organizations nor does it affect them all immediately.
It is useful to read both the legislation and our federal privacy
commisioner's guide to the legislation.
A Guide to the Legislation
The inclusion of the CSA Standard CAN/CSA-Q830-96, Model Code for the
Protection of Personal Information is interesting although the Code has
been known to Canadian businesses since its first publication in 1996.
This is a Schedule under the Act which defines some 'obligations' as well
as some recommendations for businesses. One such obligation is the
appointment of a 'privacy person'. Since 1996, many businesses have moved
voluntarily to create a "Privacy Officer" or the equivalent.
Another, and to my mind more interesting provision of the Act, is the move
to allowing electronic documents as evidence in the courts. Each province
is now moving or has moved to pass similar legislation.
In our province Alberta, Bill 21 received first reading late in the last
session and will undoubtedly be re-introduced in the fall (autumn). It
will allow for electronic documents to be accepted in the courts. However,
we have identified several notable exceptions - wills, powers of attorney
and land interests. It was felt that moving too quickly in these areas
would be an error as the implications of accepting electronic evidence for
these records has not been addressed thoroughly.
Are any other countries or jurisdictions looking into similar legislation
and/or similar exceptions?
Jim Connelly, CRM
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