A Signal-Based Approach to Support Opt-Out Privacy in Canada

Progress on Global Privacy Platform / TCF Canada 

IAB Canada efforts to prepare the industry for rapid developments in the global privacy landscape continue to move forward. Policies that will serve to provide specifications to IAB Tech Lab to develop a signal-based approach to communicating consent choices throughout the digital media supply chain in compliance with PIPEDA have undergone a public commentary period and are being finalized in the coming weeks.  

A key part of IAB Canada’s mandate is to develop standards that enable responsible and unimpeded investment into the digital media sector. The Global Privacy Platform is focused on providing protection from the inevitable changes that are taking place around the world. From international regulatory pressures, to the deprecation of cookies and IDFA, our goal is to provide demonstrable evidence to regulators and citizens that we are advancing the industry towards a privacy first structure.   

It’s been quite a journey. When we began our work, we were focused on adapting the successful code of practice developed by IAB Europe for the GDPR to help address our need in Canada to signal consent across the supply chain in a standardized way under PIPEDA. Well into the process, Bill C-11 was tabled and prescribed a very different set of rules for Canadian business along with a strong enforcement regime including substantial fines for offenders.  In short, it looked a lot like GDPR.  

In response to the newly proposed law, we pivoted and began to outline a set of policies reflecting these new requirements which made their way into the initial draft that went out for public commentary. We did this to ensure that we were preparing for the worst-case scenario and building specs that would cover off any future requirements for added stringencies. Several of our members and other trade associations expressed concerns with the policies addressing a law that has not yet passed.   

To allay concerns and misconceptions about “technology driving policy” or any perceived position that IAB Canada has taken on amendments to privacy law, we have since reverted to our initial approach (PIPEDA focused) that will meet current local needs while also allowing for flexibility should the proposed legislative amendments in C-11 become a reality. We felt this was the most prudent action to take at this point and that it will help avoid industry downtime should our collective efforts to maintain an opt-out regime fail, and we find ourselves in an explicit opt-in consent regime in the future. These newly revised policies are currently with our TCF Working Group and will be shared with our membership at large in the coming weeks.  

At IAB Canada we continue to operate as a non-profit standards body with clear visibility of the global technical realities that are unfolding in real-time. We recognize that advertisers and agencies may decide to pursue their own approaches to privacy compliance, but it should be noted that the Global Privacy Platform / TCF Canada, is part of a global body of work and is designed specifically for the digital media supply chain to deliver signals of consent fluidly through the chain. It is time for our industry to step up to privacy and to show regulators that we can do better, and this project will help us get there.  

Privacy is a complex issue for our industry and for this reason, we will continue to present the facts about this framework to our members and other trade bodies. We continue to endorse the Ad Choices program in Canada, and we are confident that the Global Privacy Framework / TCF Canada combined with the Ad Choices program will offer all stakeholders best-in-class privacy compliance for digital advertising in Canada.  

To get involved or to find out more about this important initiative, please reach out to policy@iabcanada.com