Canada wants to impose heavy penalties for breaches of privacy

Published on : 17/11/2020 – 20:50

Montreal (AFP)

The Canadian government wants to impose financial penalties on companies that do not respect privacy laws, up to 5% of their turnover, according to a bill introduced on Tuesday.

The bill aims to “apply, in the case of the most serious offenses, some of the most severe sanctions of the G7”, said Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, Navdeep Bains.

These sanctions would be capped at 25 million Canadian dollars (approximately 16 million euros).

“This is a first on the international scene,” said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a press briefing.

This bill seeks to “give Canadians more control and provide them with greater transparency in how businesses handle their personal information,” Trudeau said.

In particular, Canadians will be able to request the destruction of personal information they have provided, the government said in a statement.

The data collection consent form should be presented in understandable language, and not “in a 30-page legal document,” the minister said.

The Privacy Commissioner will have the ability to order a company to stop collecting data or using personal information.

Several attacks targeting the personal data of millions of Canadians have been documented in recent years.

This summer, tens of thousands of online government service user accounts were hacked in cyber attacks.

Data from about 15 million customers – just under one in two Canadians (38 million people) – from a Canadian medical laboratory company, LifeLabs, was also stolen in November 2019.

The same year, the Canadian bank Desjardins saw the personal data of 4.2 million customers stolen by one of its employees and communicated to third parties.

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