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Canadian Privacy Commissioners' Guidance During COVID-19 

by Ryan Berger, Cory Sully

Published: April, 2020

Submission: April, 2020


Provincial health orders, guidance and physical distancing measures in response to COVID-19 have changed the way Canadians are working and studying. Organizations are suddenly more reliant on technical tools and approaches to doing business which have not all been fully vetted for privacy and security.

Over the past few weeks, Canadian privacy commissioners have made several announcements and have published guidance documents to help Canadians understand their privacy rights and obligations in light of COVID-19. We have outlined below the recent guidance from B.C. and across Canada.

B.C. Guidance for Online Tools

The transition to a remote workplace and classroom has resulted in an increased reliance on tools such as videoconferencing software to help individuals remain connected to their colleagues, patients, customers, teachers and others. On March 26, 2020, the B.C. government issued a ministerial order temporarily exempting public bodies from the “in Canada Only” requirements in B.C.’s public-sector privacy legislation, the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (“FIPPA”). We discuss this order in detail in our earlier blog post. This temporary exemption is intended to ensure that public sector workers have access to the necessary technological tools to do their jobs, and that those involved in health care are able to share personal information on an urgent basis. However, public bodies were reminded that they still have to do some due diligence before using third-party tools and applications that disclose personal information outside of Canada.


Click here to read Ryan Berger and Cory Sully's full article.


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