Exclusive Insights from State of the Nation 2024 Toronto – Is this even legal?    

As the Canadian advertising industry undergoes significant shifts, privacy regulations become increasingly complex. A recent panel discussion at IAB Canada’s State of the Nation event in Toronto, led by Jill Briggs (Head of Policy,IAB Canada) tackled these challenges. Featuring industry experts Adam Kardash (Partner Privacy & Data Management at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP), Amanda Maltby (General Manager Corporate Compliance and Regulatory Affairs for Canada Post), Ethan Sailers (Senior Manager, Consent & Preferences Solutions Engineering of OneTrust), and James Smith (Chief Compliance, Risk and Privacy Officer at Environics Analytics), the discussion centred around the current legislative landscape in Canada (and beyond), the looming issues and concerns for the industry, and how to ensure advertising practices are compliant and ethical. 

The Evolving Regulatory Landscape 

The panelists began by highlighting the evolving legal landscape, particularly in Canada. Quebec’s recent privacy law, with its hefty compliance obligations, was a major talking point. “Quebec’s Bill 64 is a wake-up call for businesses,” said Kardash. “Understanding these new regulations and their impact on data collection is crucial.” The proposed federal bill C-27, with its potential for significant financial penalties, was also a concern. Maltby emphasized, “The potential fines under C-27 underscore the importance of prioritizing data privacy compliance.” 

 Key Areas of Concern 

 The discussion shifted to specific areas of concern for the advertising industry. These included: 

  • Shifting from Checkbox Compliance to Responsible Data Use – Previously, a checkbox approach to consent may have sufficed. Now, advertisers need to consider the entire data lifecycle, from collection to deletion, and ensure responsible data use throughout. “Consent is no longer a one-time click,” explained Sailers. “We need to move towards a more nuanced approach that builds trust with consumers.” 
  • The Importance of Clear and Consistent Rules – Clear and consistent privacy regulations are essential for businesses. Panelists pointed to ongoing efforts by industry associations to develop standardized approaches to areas like de-identification and consent. Smith commented, “The lack of clear and consistent regulations makes compliance challenging. Industry collaboration is key to developing standardized practices.” 
  • The Subjectivity of Privacy – Privacy is a subjective concept, and what one person finds acceptable another may find intrusive. Finding a balance between creative marketing and respecting user privacy is crucial. 

Finding the Upside 

 Despite the challenges, the panelists also highlighted some positive aspects of the new regulations: 

  • Privacy as a Feature – Consumers are increasingly aware of and concerned about their privacy. Businesses that prioritize data privacy can build trust and loyalty with their customers. “In today’s environment, privacy is no longer a differentiator, it’s an expectation,” Briggs noted. “Businesses that prioritize privacy will be better positioned to win consumer trust.” 
  • Standardization and Interoperability – New privacy regulations are driving the development of standardized tools and technologies that can help businesses comply with regulations while still enabling effective advertising. 
  • Enhanced Consumer Control – Increased privacy protections empower consumers to have more control over their data and how it is used. 


By understanding the evolving regulations, adopting responsible data practices, and embracing new technologies, the advertising industry can continue to innovate and thrive in a privacy-conscious environment. 

State of the Nation Goes Regional Vancouver, Montreal and Halifax

Be ahead of the curve with cutting-edge advertising strategies. There’s no substitute for hearing directly from the experts. Join us for our State of the Nation regional shows! The next stop is Vancouver on June 27, followed by Montreal on July 9, and finally Halifax on July 11. Don’t miss out – register now to secure your spot