Canada’s New Consent Guidelines are Effective Now!

Consent is an important element in privacy law.

Last year, Canadian officials jointly issued guidelines on how to obtain meaningful consent under Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) which generally requires that you obtain meaningful consent for the collection, use and disclosure of personal information.

The guidelines outline seven principles for obtaining meaningful consent.

  1. Emphasize key elements

Organizations must allow individuals to quickly and easily review key elements affecting their privacy decisions early in the process. Key elements include what information is being collected, why it is being collected and who it is shared with.

  1. Allow individuals to control the level of detail they get and when

Individuals should be presented with information in a manageable and easily-accessible manner. Individuals also should be able to control the level of detail. Layering is a considered a best practice when presenting privacy information.

  1. Provide individuals with clear options to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’

Individuals must have a clear choice and consent should never be a condition of service.

  1. Be innovative and creative

Organizations should tailor the consent process specific to the context in which the information is presented and the type of interface used.

  1. Consider the consumer’s perspective

When designing your consent process, consider the user’s perspective and make the process user-friendly and intuitive. Keep it simple!

  1. Make consent a dynamic and ongoing process

As circumstances change, so should your consent process! And when your privacy practices change, individuals need to be updated.

  1. Be accountable: Stand ready to demonstrate compliance

Organizations must be ready to show a reasoned and thoughtful consent process and that it’s regularly reviewed.

For more information (including a checklist for obtaining meaningful consent), please visit the official Canadian website here.

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