Canadian Lawyer

July/August 2020

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 26 of 35 25 WHAT IT MEANS to "clock in" has trans- formed radically in many workplaces. Where once a flash of an ID or scan of a badge and maybe a nod to a security guard sufficed to get workers past the gate, now workers are being interrogated on their health status and recent social interactions and some are even subject to temperature scans. On a wider scale, COVID infection is being tracked with digital contact tracing. Alberta is the first government in Canada to develop and offer this type of tool, which uses Bluetooth technology to detect other users in proximity — which can then help determine if a COVID-19-infected user may have trans- mitted the disease. The global pandemic has elicited the unifying slogan of "We're in this together," a rejection of isolation and detachment, but which also raises the question: what about personal privacy? "If you did a quick public survey and talked to individuals about how they feel about some encroachments on their privacy — liberties – in the name of public health and safety, I think you would get a pretty consistent response from Canadians to say that privacy is not really at the forefront. Let's do what's right for the country. Let's get ourselves healthy," says Sylvia Kingsmill, national data protection and privacy leader Workplace transmission prevention measures and digital contact tracing for COVID-19 are raising a host of issues for privacy lawyers, writes Aidan Macnab Privacy during the pandemic at KPMG Canada and former chief of staff to the privacy commissioner at the Information and Privacy Commission of Ontario. "At the same time, I think that not thinking about privacy will be detrimental, in terms of long-term consequences, because, right now, we see governments pushing new tech- nologies into the marketplace really hastily. Decisions that sometimes take months or years to deliberate are being made overnight. If we don't think about the long-term conse- quences of data being used for a different purpose than originally intended, which is the 'purpose limitation' rule in privacy law, I think we might have a trust crisis on our hands afterwards." Although any read of the room will tell policy-makers that "long-winded privacy assessments" are undesired, Kingsmill says it's important that governments assure the public that data collected through contact tracing technology will be anonymized, will not be kept and will not be later put to other uses — such as surveillance. She adds that earning trust is necessary because contact tracing is only effective if it is widely adopted. To prevent infection and spread in work- places across Canada, employers are imple- menting proactive screening mechanisms, to control access to their facilities, says Daniel Michaluk, who advises employers on infor- mation security, cyber security, data manage- ment and privacy at Hicks Morley Hamilton Stewart Storie LLP. Active screening often involves a questionnaire to determine through LEGAL REPORT PRIVACY AND DATA PRIVACY COMPLAINTS Accepted Privacy Act complaints against governmental institutions Correctional Service Canada 30% RCMP 19% National Defence 9% Canada Border Services Agency 8% Accepted PIPEDA complaints, by sector 20% Financial 13% Telecoms 11% Services 10% Internet Source: Office of Privacy Commissioner annual report

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Canadian Lawyer - July/August 2020