As published in The Hill Times

Canadians have never been more reliant on the digital economy. Businesses and consumers both benefit from the enormous social and economic benefits of data. Yet our private sector privacy law, known as the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), pre-dates the digital era.

The federal government must modernize PIPEDA so that consumers have updated protections, and the businesses – including small and medium-sized companies – that are fueling our economic recovery have clear and consistent privacy rules.

A modern, balanced federal law would help prevent the patchwork of provincial legislation that is emerging across the country. As provinces legislate to fill the legislative vacuum, conflicting approaches will cause enormous confusion and complexity for consumers and businesses.

Modernizing PIPEDA would also ensure that Canada’s consumer privacy laws are deemed adequate by the European Commission so that Canadian businesses can continue to seamlessly transfer data to and from the European Union and the United Kingdom – two of our largest trading partners.

The companies – large and small – that fuel our economy must be able to effectively leverage data to provide consumers with the products and services they need. It is critical to ensure that innovative projects are not delayed due to uncertainty as businesses await modernized rules.

The need for an updated law is a top national priority. Consumers and businesses across Canada are relying on it. We call on all parliamentarians to support the tabling of a modernized, balanced privacy bill.