Molly Reynolds on the bifurcated nature of enforcing Bill C-11

December 21, 2020

The federal government has introduced a greatly anticipated privacy reform bill—Bill C-11—with the aim of modernizing the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).

Bill C-11 gives the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) authority to issue orders to enforce compliance with the law, allows Canadians to have more control over their personal information and presents clarity to innovative businesses on their obligations. The power to issue penalties, however, will be given to a newly formed Personal Information and Data Protection Tribunal.

Privacy lawyer Molly Reynolds told the Canadian Bar Association National Magazine that due to past experience, she believed even though Bill C-11 had a bifurcated nature of enforcement, the commissioner and the tribunal would learn to co-exist.

“The tribunal can decide whether a penalty meets the needs of the case—if a company conducted its due diligence in the eyes of the tribunal, for instance, it could decide not to order a penalty,” Molly said.

“In practice, I don't think it will set up conflicts between the commissioner and the tribunal. We haven't seen the Federal Court say to the OPC, 'You got this one completely wrong.’”

For more information on the implications that Bill C-11 will have on emerging and high growth technology and digital companies, read our analysis in the article “Bill C-11 and startups: the good, the bad, and the ugly”.


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