Advertising to Canadians: Consumer privacy

Jul 14th '20

Good privacy and data protection practices help lay the foundation for consumer loyalty and trust. On this page, we share things you should know and to do when advertising to Canadians.


Most Canadian organizations are subject to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), which sets the rules for the collection, use and disclosure of personal information by organizations in the course of commercial activities.


Like the privacy provisions in Section J of the Canadian Marketing Code of Ethics & Standards, PIPEDA is based on 10 principles for the protection of personal information.


Things to know
  • Canada broadly regulates the collection, use and disclosure of personal information in the course of commercial activity
  • Canada’s privacy laws apply to organizations collecting personal information of Canadian residents, even if those organizations are located outside of Canada
  • Personal information is defined to cover “information about an identifiable individual”, regardless of whether the information is publicly available
  • Subject to exceptions, consent of the individual is required for any collection, use or disclosure of personal information
  • Even with consent, any collection, use or disclosure of personal information must meet a reasonable person test
  • Additional fair information principles reflected in Canadian privacy laws include: limiting collection, limiting use, disclosure and retention, accuracy, openness, individual access and challenging compliance
  • Canada’s data privacy regulators take an active approach to enforcement



Things to do
  • Localize your privacy policy
  • Compare your current privacy practices (including notice and consent processes) to Canadian requirements
  • Build privacy into the design of your products, services and business processes
  • Ensure that you have documented internal policies and procedures that comply with privacy commissioner “accountability” guidance, including for responding to a data breach



Advertising to Canadians: General Guidance.


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