Privacy Deniers Beware – The Race to Compliance is On

With the Liberal government retaining power, the PIPEDA makeover is sure to stay at the top of the agenda. Meanwhile, Quebec’s new Bill 64 and the ongoing consultations in other provinces to ratchet up privacy laws ensures that privacy professionals and digital advertising stakeholders across the country are in for a busy year.  To set the stage for the work to come, this week we took the IAB Canada’s Privacy Committee and Quebec Council on a deep dive into Bill 64 – the latest piece of legislation to achieve royal assent. Leading privacy counsel, Adam Kardash of member law firm, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, answered some of our members’ most pressing questions.  

 Kardash stated that this new piece of legislation is the most stringent we have seen in our country with even more complex requirements than the highest bar set out by Europe’s GDPR. Not only is this a highly enforceable opt-in regime (existing PIPEDA is opt out by default), but it also outlines concerning requirements when dealing with transborder data flows. The Bill states that “information may be communicated if the assessment establishes that it would receive an adequate protection equivalent to that afforded under this Act in compliance with generally accepted data protection principles” – as every other province does not have the same requirements as Quebec, they will all be deemed inadequate making our fear of interoperability a stark reality.  

Quebec policy makers have made an already complex area of business much more onerous and expensive. Within two years’ time when the requirements become mandatory, companies will be required to name a privacy officer, create an internal privacy program, and comply to a whole new set of statutes which will require additional resources and dollars. The fines are big, and the stakes are high, and it is time for our industry to put our heads down and start working on finding solutions.  

Regulations across multiple jurisdictions – whether international or homegrown, call for a global privacy framework that can interoperate across all markets. Since 2018, IAB Canada has been working towards this moment and we continue to move forward with our release of a Canadian-friendly Transparency and Consent string, that will provide consent management platforms with access to required signalling and allow vendors to continue to pass bid requests in compliance with this new Quebec law, the current PIPEDA requirements as well as impending new Federal or provincial privacy regimes. The development of the technical string is currently in the works, and we anticipate it to be ready for testing as early as Q1 2022. 

This conversation will continue in the coming months and our policy team will also create and share useful resources to help our members prioritize where their focus needs to be. If you are an IAB Canada member would like to become a part of the privacy conversation or would like access to a recording of our most recent session, please reach out to