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NAID-Canada Testimony Leads to Government Action

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March 13, 2018

“It’s what associations are supposed to do,” says NAID CEO Bob Johnson. “We keep pushing the message and eventually it pays off.”

Johnson comments come on learning that testimony given by NAID-Canada during the government’s period review of the country’s data protection law led to an official recommendation to add new data destruction requirements.

In testimony given last September, NAID-Canada Chair, Kristjan Backman, pressed the Canadian Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics Committee to recommend inserting stronger and clearer direction on data destruction in the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Document Act (PIPEDA).

While the association has called for such changes for more than a decade, it seems the renewed concerned raised by continued disposal malfeasance and the development of stronger laws elsewhere have made legislators more receptive to the need. Among the committee’s recommendations just released is one stating…

Recommendation #13: That the Government of Canada consider amending the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act to strengthen and clarify organizations’ obligations with respect to the destruction of personal information.”

The committee’s report attributing the recommendation directly to Backman’s testimony:

“Another privacy protection concern raised in the study is PIPEDA’s lack of clarity regarding how information – whether on paper or electronic – should be destroyed.

According to Mr. Backman of NAID, this aspect of privacy protection is often overlooked: "Far too often little attention is paid to the end of a document’s lifecycle. We see evidence of this on almost a daily basis in the media, with reports of information being left intact and publicly accessible in dumpsters, recycling bins, and discarded electronic devices sent for reuse and recycling.”

In addition to its ongoing campaign for clear data destruction requirements within PIPEDA, NAID-Canada has also been a strong proponent of more aggressive enforcement, which it considers equally important. Fortunately, the committee concurred.

Recommendation #15: The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act be amended to give the Privacy Commissioner enforcement powers, including the power to make orders and impose fines for non-compliance. 

Of course, this is not the end of it. While obtaining the committee’s recommendations are an important step, the job is not over until they have been translated into the revised law. NAID-Canada will stay on it. As demonstrated by this success, persistence pays off.