Minister Bains outlines digital charter with focus on personal data control

TORONTO — Federal Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains unveiled a wide review of privacy laws Tuesday in what he said was an effort to build trust in a digital world.

Bains announced the review as part of a 10-point digital charter that he said is necessary in a rapidly evolving society and economy that’s increasingly data-reliant.

“We need to get serious about rebuilding trust because people are currently losing it,” he said at an Empire Club of Canada event in Toronto.

“In the 21st century, either we build that trust and compete in the data-driven digital economy, or we don’t compete at all.”

Bains committed to a review of private sector privacy laws as well as the Privacy Act, promising much more stringent enforcement mechanisms against companies that violate privacy laws.

He said the government has also written to the Competition Bureau to ensure the independent agency has the necessary tools to promote competition, including room for small and medium businesses to compete.

The government will also review the Statistics Act so citizens have faith in the agency’s data collection, and it will launch a new Data Governance Standardization Collaborative to better manage data governance standards in the country, said Bains.

He said the government will look to collaborate with businesses as it updates policies.

“Governments can’t do this alone, we need businesses, we must work together…that’s the only way we’ll build trust in our digital institutions.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau first announced the digital charter last week, emphasizing the need to combat hate speech, misinformation and online electoral interference.

The Canadian Press