Alain Lavoie, President of Irosoft, and Charles Milliard, CEO of the Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec (FCCQ, the Federation of Quebec Chambers of Commerce), presented a report as part of the special consultations and public hearings on Bill 64, Loi modernisant des dispositions législatives en matière de protection des renseignements personnels (an Act to modernize legislative provisions respecting the protection of personal information in Quebec), held by the Parliamentary Committee on Institutions on Tuesday, September 22 at the Quebec National Assembly.

The purpose of Bill 64, introduced before the Assembly last June by Ms. Sonia LeBel, Minister responsible for Democratic Institutions, Electoral Reform and Access to Information, is to modernize the framework applicable to the protection of personal information in various Quebec laws, in particular, the Loi sur l’accès aux documents des organismes publics et sur la protection des renseignements personnels (RLRQ, c. A-2.1, an Act respecting access to documents held by public bodies and the protection of personal information) and the Loi sur la protection des renseignements personnels dans le secteur privé (RLRQ, c. P-39.1, an Act respecting the protection of personal information in the private sector).

Among other provisions, the “Bill introduces into these two Acts [A-2.1 and P-39.1] rules concerning the handling of incidents affecting the confidentiality of personal information by public bodies and businesses. In addition, it requires these organizations and businesses to publish the rules that define their governance with respect to personal information and, for those who collect such information by technological means, to publish and disseminate a privacy policy. It also introduces the requirement that a privacy impact assessment be conducted in certain circumstances, notably with respect to any information system or electronic service delivery project involving the collection, use, disclosure, retention or destruction of personal information.” (Source: Journal des débats (Hansard), Fascicule n°120, 12 juin 2020, pages 8245-8247, free translation).

This Bill will have an impact on public bodies and private businesses, particularly with respect to governance, the review of processes for collecting and disseminating personal information, the anonymization and destruction of personal information, the implementation of a notification registry, the assessment of compliance with the law when designing information systems or artificial intelligence systems and, for private business leaders, the accountability in the event of non-compliance with the provisions of the Bill.

Balance to be Maintained Between Protection, Innovation and Economic Development

The FCCQ’s report is intended to make parliamentarians aware of the fact that this bill, although it provides a necessary update of Quebec’s legislative framework for the protection of personal data, must ensure “the right balance between, on the one hand, the protection of personal data and, on the other hand, innovation and economic development.” (Source: FCCQ, Mémoire, 22 Septembre 2020, Sommaire exécutif, p. 1, free translation).

This bill is largely inspired by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) already adopted by the European Union. However, the FCCQ, as the representative of more than 50,000 Quebec businesses, would like “Quebec and the rest of Canada to coordinate their efforts to harmonize as much as possible their expectations and obligations with respect to the protection of personal information”, so as not to penalize Quebec businesses on the national and North American markets in particular by rules that are more restrictive than those in force in other jurisdictions. (Source: ibid., p. 2, free translation.)

The FCCQ’s report recommends, in particular, that “businesses be supported in complying with this legislation, specifically SMEs, which may not always have the required legal and financial resources. They must be made aware, trained and supported.” (Source: ibid., p. 2, free translation.)

Alain Lavoie, President of Irosoft, who himself participated in the reflection and drafting of the report and its recommendations, volunteered to present it to the Parliamentary Commission as Chairman of the FCCQ’s Information Technology Committee and because he is an expert on the subject of the protection of personal information.

“I am pleased and honored to have been able to participate and share my perspective on this issue. I would like to thank the FCCQ and Mr. Milliard for having placed their trust in me,” said Alain Lavoie.

According to him, “[t]his is an important bill that will better protect the citizens of Quebec in matters of personal information protection. It will certainly have an impact on businesses, especially SMEs. The challenge will be to support them through this mandatory transition that is nevertheless much-needed in the digital age. ”

To read the report (in French), click here.

To view the video broadcast of Charles Milliard and Alain Lavoie’s interventions (in French), click the image below.

Alain Lavoie at Parliamentary Commission


For more information:

Alain Lavoie, President

Yves Pelletier, Director Irosoft-Digital

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