Reminder: As of January 1, OPC has been Applying Consent Guidelines

January 11, 2019
By Catherine Lovrics and Amanda Branch 

In May 2018, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (the “OPC”), in connection with the Offices of the Privacy Commissioner of Alberta and British Columbia released the Guidelines for obtaining meaningful consent (the “Consent Guidelines”). The OPC began applying these Consent Guidelines on January 1, 2019. You can read our full article here but, in brief, the Consent Guidelines set out seven guiding principles:

  1. Emphasize key elements. In particular: (i) what personal information is being collected; (ii) with which parties personal information is being shared; (iii) for what purposes personal information is collected, used or disclosed, and (iv) the risk of harm and other potential consequences.
  2. Allow individuals to control the level of detail they get and when.
  3. Provide individuals with clear options to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
  4. Be innovative and creative. Consider a variety of communication strategies, like just-in-time notices, interactive tools and customized mobile interfaces to highlight privacy issues.
  5. Consider the consumer’s perspective. Use clear explanations and a level of language that is suitable to a diverse audience.
  6. Make consent a dynamic and ongoing process.
  7. Be accountable: Stand ready to demonstrate compliance. 

The Consent Guidelines also contain a checklist to help guide organizations in their compliance efforts. Organizations should pay particular attention to the “must do” list. For more information, please contact our Privacy, Cybersecurity and Data Protection Group.


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