November 07, 2019 - Private Sector, Public Sector

Fairness in AI and Stronger Enforcement Urged by Canadian Information and Privacy Commissioners

Statutory amendments requiring artificial intelligence technologies to respect fundamental human rights and enhancing enforcement powers are among a series of recommendations contained in a joint resolution released by the Federal, Provincial and Territorial (“FPT”) Information and Privacy Commissioners on November 6, 2019.

Echoing their earlier FPT Resolution in 2013, the Commissioners call on their governments to modernize privacy and access to information legislation in the face of technological advancements, and reiterate the need for Canada to catch up to the laws of many other countries.  

While recognizing the legislative advances made in some Canadian jurisdictions, the Commissioners underscore that there is still much work to do and recommend, among other things, that all FPT governments:

  • require the design, development and use of artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to respect fundamental human rights and ensure principles such as transparency, accountability, and fairness;
  • grant sufficient resources to independent oversight offices and enhance their enforcement powers, including the power to initiate investigations and audits; compel records and witnesses as necessary for reviews and investigations; issue orders; and impose penalties, fines or sanctions;
  • require the adoption and implementation of privacy management frameworks, demonstrable accountability, strengthened transparency requirements, appropriate security measures, mandatory privacy impact assessments and breach notification;
  • continue to uphold individuals’ right to meaningful consent and that any new consent exception be “limited to circumstances where the societal benefits clearly outweigh the privacy incursions” and “accompanied by prescribed legal conditions”;
  • afford individuals the right to access and correct personal information about themselves, including information that is inferred or attributed to them, and obligate entities to use verified, up-to-date and accurate data; and
  • extend the scope of privacy and access laws to cover all public and private sector entities, including political parties.

Many of the recommendations are aimed at both public and private sector institutions and cover both privacy and access to information.

For the full text of the resolution, see Effective privacy and access to information legislation in a data driven society (2019). 

This FPT Resolution will be analyzed and commented upon during AccessPrivacy’s November Monthly Call, taking place Wednesday, November 27, 2019 at 11:30 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time.