Bill C-27 is Back in the House

Canada’s Digital Charter (Bill C-27) made its way back onto the order paper last week at the Standing Committee on Industry and Technology (INDU). This important legislation has been top of mind for all Canadians and is comprised of three main parts: 

the Consumer Privacy Protection Act (CPPA), the Personal Information and Data Protection Tribunal Act (PIDPTA) and the Artificial Intelligence and Data Act (AIDA). 

Last week’s hearing kicked off with witness number one, Minister of Innovation Science and Industry (ISI), Francoise-Phillippe Champagne. He told the room that his office has listened to feedback from all sides of the table and that they intend to make amendments to both CPPA and AIDA to get the legislation passed. While the members of parliament unanimously agreed that this is a positive step forward, the absence of the tabling of these amendments did not sit well with Committee.  

In fact, when Privacy Commissioner of Canada, Phillippe Dufresne, appeared two days later to go through his own thoughts on the Bill things quickly unraveled. The Committee put a halt to the discussion and demanded that the process be paused until ISI produce the amendments in writing. Shortly thereafter a letter was sent to the INDU committee with the proposed amendments to both CPPA and AIDA and after this brief roller coaster of events, things are now back on track with hearings resuming next week.  

The Key amendments from ISI include: 


  1. Privacy will be recognized as a fundamental human right in the purpose statement of the Bill in addition to the language in the preamble. 
  1. Further reinforcement to ensure stronger protections for Minors. 
  1. Support for providing the Commissioner more flexibility to reach “compliance agreements” under the Act to ensure that the Tribunal is engaged to consider only those cases that require the specialized adjudication. 
  1. Remain open to address concerns on the burden of the law on SMEs, safeguards for exceptions, greater co-operation between regulators, and alignment with international and domestic legislation. 


  1. Defining classes of systems that would be considered high impact. 
  1. Specifying distinct obligations for generative general-purpose AI systems, like ChatGPT. 
  1. Clearly differentiating roles and obligations for actors in the AI value chain.  
  1. Strengthening and clarifying the role of the proposed AI and Data Commissioner.  
  1. Align with the EU AI Act as well as other advanced economies.  

This somewhat messy process is becoming unwelcomely common. The recent consultation on and eventual release of a Voluntary Code of Conduct on the Responsible Development and Management of Advanced Generative AI Systems was less than transparent and collaborative. IAB Canada remains concerned with the lack of discussions around AIDA. Of particular concern ISI’s inclusion of details in their recommendations around what constitutes a “high impact” system. The recommendation reads “(a) the moderation of content that is found on an online communications platform, including a search engine and a social media service; or (b) the prioritization of the presentation of such content”. Both examples reference critical models used in digital advertising and require further debate. We are reviewing the recommendations internally and are planning to discuss them with members.  We have formally requested to appear as a witness at the hearings to ensure our members have a voice at the table. 

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