On November 25, 2021, amendments to B.C.’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 165 (“FOIPPA”) came into force through Bill 22-2021, with a few more anticipated within the coming months (by the end of next year). FOIPPA applies to records in the custody or control of “public bodies”, such as government ministries, municipalities and regional districts, as well as many agencies, provincial regulators and Crown corporations.
The major changes to FOIPPA now in force include:
- New requirements that all public bodies must conduct privacy impact assessments (“PIAs”) in accordance with the directions of the minister responsible for FOIPPA (section 69). On November 26, 2021, the Minister of Citizens’ Services issued directions for public bodies that are not ministries regarding PIAs (the “PIA Directions”). In addition to providing general directions on conducting a PIA, the PIA Directions stipulate that the head of a public body (or their delegate) must conduct a PIA on a new initiative for which no PIA has previously been conducted, as well as before implementing a significant change to an existing initiative.
- The data-residency provisions, which had required public bodies to access and store personal information only in Canada, have been removed from FOIPPA. FOIPPA still includes rules and parameters for storage and access. The PIA Directions also apply where changes are made to the change in location where personal information is stored. Since public bodies have generally been prohibited from storing information outside of Canada until now, any storage outside of Canada will probably require a PIA. This PIA requirement may not apply where personal information will be accessed (rather than stored) outside of Canada.
- New privacy offences (such as collecting personal information except where authorized) have been added in the new Part 5.1 of FOIPPA and the monetary penalties for breaches have been increased (up to $50,000).
Some of the major FOIPPA amendments will come into force by regulation and these new sections of FOIPPA will:
- require public bodies to develop a privacy management program in accordance with the ministerial directions (new s. 36.2); and
- impose mandatory privacy breach reporting requirements (new s. 36.3).
If you would like to learn more about the changes made to FOIPPA and the implications for BC Public Bodies and partner agencies, click here to watch our on-demand webinar on the topic. We will also be providing further comment on particular areas of the new changes in future posts.
Ryan Berger is a leading privacy and employment lawyer, with a primary focus on providing strategic advice to businesses and employers.
Ryan leads the firm’s Privacy Group and routinely advises public and private sector ...
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Meg is a member of Lawson Lundell’s Research and Opinions Group. She regularly provides legal research, opinions and submissions on a wide range of legal topics.
Her background includes advising clients and organizations in a ...
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