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Jun 3, 2019

Privacy commissioner suspends consultation following Equifax data breach — Lisa R. Lifshitz speaks to Canadian Lawyer

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The Canadian government’s privacy watchdog is quietly winding down a consultation that was announced in April following the Equifax data breach, say lawyers.

Lawyers say Privacy Commissioner of Canada Daniel Therrien told lawyers and chief privacy officers that it would suspend its consultation on transborder dataflows, which was announced on April 9 after an investigation into Equifax and Equifax Canada Co.’s compliance with PIPEDA. 

The suspension of the consultation was announced verbally in Toronto at the IAPP Canada Privacy Symposium 2019, says David Elder, chair of the communications and privacy and data protection groups at Stikeman Elliott LLP in Ottawa.

The Equifax personal data breach made headlines worldwide after Equifax announced it on September 7, 2017.

Lifshitz says that even if the suspension of the OPC consultation is a result of additional consultations around the new Digital Charter, people are still looking for clarity from the regulator. She noted that there are a number of issues beyond transborder consent that were raised by the Equifax breach.

"We had understood — those of us that attended that initial meeting — that the privacy commissioner’s website would be updated to reflect this new development, and I’m a little surprised it has not occurred up to this point because in my mind that’s problematic. We shouldn’t be privy to information that others in the country aren't,'" she says.

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