Dalhousie Law Journal


C-6, Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, Canada, privacy, legislation, Privacy Charter, Quebec


Bill C-6, more recently known as the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, is promoted by the Canadian government as privacy legislation to protect Canadians' personal information. This paper explores that characterization and concludes that it is inaccurate and misleading. The problems that motivated a response by Parliament are the proliferation and commercial importance of personal information, concerns Canadians have about its uncontrolled use by the private sector and the inadequacy of existing law to address those concerns. However, the Act has not responded to these problems. There are several reasons for this, primarily the disproportionate and antidemocratic importance of business interests in the promulgation of the legislation and the characterization of privacy in market terms rather than in the language of human rights and long-term policy objectives. The Act's failure to achieve its substantive goals is demonstrated by comparing it with other models of privacy protection, such as the Privacy Charter proposed by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Human Rights, equivalent legislation in Quebec and the Australian Privacy Charter. Ultimately, the paper proposes solutions that would be more responsive to citizens' privacy concerns.

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