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Ontario Takes Action to Protect Privacy and Personal Data

News Release

Ontario Takes Action to Protect Privacy and Personal Data

Consultation reveals almost 80 per cent of Ontarians want improved protections for personal and commercial data

Today at the Open Government Partnership Global Summit, Bill Walker, Minister of Government and Consumer Services, highlighted the results from the Government's online survey for its Data Strategy. They include:

  • 83% of respondents feel businesses don't do a good enough job of explaining what they plan to do with the public's data, and
  • 79% of respondents believe data about people and businesses in Ontario needs stronger protection.

"Our government recognizes that the tremendous economic potential of emerging data technologies needs to be balanced with thoughtful and robust protections for the privacy and personal data of all Ontarians," said Walker. "We believe that Ontarians deserve to know and actively consent to the collection of data, how that data is used, and by whom."

Ontario's Data Strategy will prioritize three areas:

  • Promoting Public Trust and Confidence: In the face of growing risks, ensure public trust and confidence in the data economy by introducing world-leading, best-in-class privacy protections.
  • Creating Economic Benefits: Enabling Ontario firms to develop data-driven business models and unlock the commercial value of data.
  • Enabling Better, Smarter, Efficient Government: Unlocking the value of government data by promoting use of data-driven technologies.

"Our government is taking swift action to ensure that the protection of personal privacy and private information is paramount in the data economy and we hope that our municipal and federal partners will do the same," said Walker. "The Federal Government's Digital Charter announced last week is a step in the right direction to address threats to people's privacy and the protection of private data across the country. Time, however, is of the essence and we are encouraging the federal government to take swift action in the next few months to ensure Ontarians, and Canadians across the country, are protected in the digital world we increasingly live in."

In June, Ontario's Government will announce members of the Minister's Digital and Data Task Force and phase two of our consultations that will include roundtables across the province.

Minister Walker also announced the government's first step in creating a policy framework to guide the development of smart cities in Ontario. The new smart cities principles will help Ontarians and businesses benefit directly from the data economy, while ensuring their personal privacy is protected to the highest standard.

The Province's five framework principles require smart cities and the companies that create them to:

  • Guarantee that Ontarians' privacy and personal data are protected, managed responsibly, and kept secure;
  • Put people first by ensuring that Ontarians are the primary beneficiaries and valued partners in the opportunities created by the project;
  • Create responsible and good governance systems that are democratic, accountable, and transparent;
  • Enact leading, best technical practices that ensure chosen technologies use open software and open standards, and are secure, interoperable, locally procured, flexible, durable, and scalable; and
  • Educate the public on the risks associated with the project and provide meaningful opportunities for local residents to participate and engage in the creation of the smart city.

"With smart cities being developed across Ontario, our government has created five new principles to ensure Ontarians benefit from these projects and most importantly that their privacy is protected," said Walker. "We invite our federal and municipal counterparts to help develop a best-in-class framework that can act as a gold standard for smart city development around the world."

Quick Facts

  • On February 5, 2019, the government invited people across the province to have their say on a provincial strategy that will help Ontarians and businesses benefit directly from the data economy, while being confident that their privacy is protected.
  • The first phase of consultations contained 13 questions and was posted for 31 days. The consultation garnered over 770 entries from respondents who were interested in the topics presented.

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