Canadian Lawyer

February 2021

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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UPFRONT 8 OTTAWA UPDATE IN DECEMBER, federal Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien released a report on his office's investigation into a massive breach of Desjardins Group's customer data between 2017 and 2019. Desjardins discovered that the breach had been committed by a "malicious" employee, raising questions as to whether the credit union's secu- rity safeguards were appropriate. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner's investigation concluded that Desjardins con- travened the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act's principles regarding accountability, retention periods and security safeguards and made recom- mendations to address the contraventions found. These included: implementing secu- rity screening and confidentiality agreements; organizational policies and procedures; employee training and awareness; stricter Data breaches increase with COVID Kateri-Anne Grenier, a Fasken partner in Quebec City. The loss of business, reputation and providing compensatory credit monitoring to perhaps 100,000 people can be pricey, she notes, and, today, even smaller companies are purchasing cyber-insurance. The federal government's Bill C-11, or Digital Charter Implementation Act, went through first reading in November and proposes the most significant changes to privacy legislation in a decade. If passed, it will enact two new acts — the Consumer Privacy Protection Act and the Personal Information and Data Protection Tribunal Act — and amend some other acts. The corporate fines it would impose for the most serious infractions of digital privacy will be among the most stringent in the world — five per cent of an organization's gross global revenue in its financial year before the one in which the organization is sentenced or $25 million, whichever figure is higher. Under Quebec's proposed Bill 64, administrative pen- alties for breaches would be up to $10 million or two per cent of global revenues, whichever is higher. Proposed federal and Quebec privacy legislation would impose harsher sanctions on companies for breaches access controls and data segregation; and ensuring oversight and monitoring. In recent years, data breaches and hacks have become far more common and COVID- 19 has only exacerbated the problem, say two privacy and data protection lawyers, as hackers exploit vulnerabilities of a new remote, work- from-home environment. "It's amazing the sophistication resulting from COVID," says Daniel Fabiano, a partner at Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP in Toronto. Individuals are anxious and stressed, and the ground has shifted. "That's fertile ground for someone to exploit," he says. And although employee training in avoiding fraud is vital, even well-trained senior IT professionals can be duped by some of these hackers, he adds. For smaller companies, the cost of these attacks is proportionately very high, says NEWS BRIEFS Simplified process introduced for claiming home office expenses The Canada Revenue Agency has introduced a simplified process for claiming home office expenses for employees working from home due to the pandemic. "A new temporary flat rate method will allow eligible employees to claim a deduction of $2 for each day they worked at home in that period, plus any other days they worked from home in 2020 due to COVID-19 up to a maximum of $400," the CRA announced in a news release on Dec. 15. Resolute FP loses appeal of Hydro- Québec decision The Supreme Court of Canada has dismissed the appeal of Resolute Forest Products against Hydro-Québec for charges levied to the paper company by the provincial electricity provider. In Resolute FP Canada Inc. v. Hydro-Québec, the Supreme Court found that the assignment of contracts made by predecessor companies was binding and that Hydro-Québec was a mandatary of the state as defined in the Civil Code but had also acquired legal rights it could exercise through its acquisition of private power companies. "It's amazing the sophistication resulting from COVID. That's fertile ground for someone to exploit." Daniel Fabiano, Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP

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