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    New Brunswick Privacy Commissioner Pushes for Mandatory Government Breach Reporting

    Dec 12, 2016

    New Brunswick's Information and Privacy Commissioner Anne Bertrand is calling for stronger privacy legislation that would require provincial government agencies to report breaches involving personal information, CBC News reported on November 5. According to the report, most of the government data breaches that have occurred since 2013 involved stolen laptops.

    “When I see this kind of thing, you almost make a case for an argument that the commissioner's office be notified, because we can report on that,” Bertrand told the CBC. “Reporting on this publicly will encourage concrete actions to be taken.”

    A 2015 Ministry of Government Services report on the review of the Right to Information and Protection of Privacy Act recommended that there be mandatory reporting to the New Brunswick OIPC of any unauthorized access to, or collection, use, or disclosure of personal information. In addition, the Commissioner recommended that the reporting of privacy breaches to the Commissioner’s office become mandatory. However, the government did not act on that recommendation.

    A similar recommendation was made at the federal level by Canadian Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien in an October 13 submission to the National Cyber Security Directorate of Public Safety Canada. “To date, the approach to data breach notification in Canada has not been consistent.” He noted that health care institutions are required to report breaches in Ontario, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, and Labrador, although government institutions are not required to do so.

    Therrien also noted that federal institutions subject to the Privacy Act are required by policy to notify the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada of all material privacy breaches. However, he recommended that breach reporting be made a legal requirement under the Privacy Act.

     This monthly advisory contains brief summaries of recent legislative and regulatory issues that may affect the management of records and information in Canada.

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