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How Canada’s Changing Privacy Landscape Will Impact Business, Consumers, and You

Friday, September 24, 2021

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The Empire Club of Canada Presents:
How Canada’s Changing Privacy Landscape Will Impact Business, Consumers, and You

The Government of Canada’s proposed changes to Canada’s existing national privacy framework (Bill C-11) died on the Order Paper when the election was called.

The need for modernization and a national approach have not changed.

Given the opportunity to update that plan, how should the new Parliament act to best protect the personal information of individuals while recognizing the need of organizations to collect, use or disclose personal information during commercial activities?

Practically speaking, how might those changes impact some of the modern conveniences we have come to take for granted as individuals, consumers and businesses.

Our panel of experts provided their diverse point of views on the many legal and practical implications of privacy reform in advance of the debate heating up again this fall.

Alex Benay, Global Lead, Government Azure Strategy, Microsoft

Vass Bednar, MPP, Executive Director, Master of Public Policy in Digital Society Program McMaster University

Éloïse Gratton, Partner & National Co-Leader, Privacy and Data Protection Group, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP

Dr. Teresa Scassa, Canada Research Chair in Information Law and Policy, University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law

*The content presented is free of charge but please note that the Empire Club of Canada retains copyright. Neither the speeches themselves nor any part of their content may be used for any purpose other than personal interest or research without the explicit permission of the Empire Club of Canada.*

*Views and Opinions Expressed Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the speakers or panelists are those of the speakers or panelists and do not necessarily reflect or represent the official views and opinions, policy or position held by The Empire Club of Canada.*

headshot of Vass Bednar, MPP

Vass Bednar, MPP

Executive Director, Master of Public Policy in Digital Society Program, McMaster University

Vass Bednar is an interdisciplinary wonk focused on ensuring that we have the regulatory structures we need to embrace the future of work and new ways of living. She is the Executive Director of McMaster University’s Master of Public Policy in Digital Society Program and a Public Policy Forum Fellow. As an enthusiastic and perpetual student of the policy-making process, she has held leadership roles at Delphia, Airbnb, Queen’s Park, the City of Toronto, and University of Toronto.

Vass is recognized as a creative, data-driven thinker and served as a member of Ontario’s Workforce Recovery Advisory Committee and was the Chair of the federal government’s Expert Panel on Youth Employment. A graduate of McMaster University’s Arts & Science Program, Vass holds her Master of Public Policy (MPP) from the University of Toronto and successfully completed Action Canada and Civic Action DiverseCity Fellowships.

Passionate about public dialogue, she was also the co-host of “Detangled,” a weekly pop-culture and public policy radio show and podcast that ran from 2016-2018. She currently writes a newsletter about Canadian startups and public policy called “regs to riches” and was recently recognized as an outstanding alum with a McMaster “Arch” award.

headshot of Alex Benay

Alex Benay

Global Lead, Government Azure Strategy, Microsoft

A former national museum CEO, technology executive responsible for global government inside Canada’s largest software company, Deputy Minister at the Treasury Board Secretariat of Canada where he was the country’s CIO, to more recently a former Partner at KPMG and current Global Lead, Government Azure Strategy at Microsoft – Alex has spent his life helping organisations of all sorts transition from industrial aged based approaches, to digital ones.

He is also on the board of the Web Foundation, created by the Web’s creator Sir Tim Berners Lee, as well as Chair of Digital Committee for I am the Code, an organisation responsible for helping young girls in Africa learn to code. Alex has spent his career at the crossroads of people, technology and policy.

headshot of Éloïse Gratton

Éloïse Gratton

Partner & National Co-Leader, Privacy and Data Protection Group, Borden Ladner Gervais, LLP

Éloïse Gratton is a partner and National Co-Leader of the Privacy and Data Protection group at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP. She offers strategic advice to companies and their board of directors relating to best business practices relevant to the monetization of big data and the use of artificial intelligence, in addition to providing support in crisis management situations (e.g. security breaches, privacy commissioners’ investigations, class actions).

Éloïse’s publications are consulted in Canada and abroad, used in law courses and cited in academic journals as well as in landmark privacy decisions by the Supreme Court of Canada. She authored Internet and Wireless Privacy: A Legal Guide to Global Business Practices, one of the first technology and privacy book in Canada (CCH, 2003). Her recent works include Managing Privacy in a Connected World (LexisNexis 2020), Privacy in the Workplace, 4th edition (LexisNexis, 2017), Practical Guide to e-Commerce and Internet Law (LexisNexis 2015) and Understanding Personal Information: Managing Privacy Risks (LexisNexis, 2013).

She was recently honored by Canadian Lawyer magazine as a forward thinker in an article about the country’s 25 most influential lawyers, as well as selected as one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Influential Women by the Women’s Executive Network (WXN) in the “CIBC Trailblazers & Trendsetters” category.

headshot of Teresa Scassa

Teresa Scassa

Canada Research Chair in Information Law and Policy, University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law

Dr. Teresa Scassa is the Canada Research Chair in Information Law and Policy at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law. She began her academic career at Dalhousie Law School, and served as Associate Dean of the Law School, and as Associate Director and then Director of Dalhousie’s Law and Technology Institute. In 2007 she moved to the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law, Common Law Section, where she is a member of the Centre for Law, Technology and Society. She is also a Senior Policy Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation.

Dr. Scassa earned her LLB in Common and Civil Law from McGill University, and her LLM and SJD in Law from the University of Michigan. Her research explores the intersection of law and technology, and she draws upon interdisciplinary approaches and networks in her work. She has written widely about intellectual property and privacy law issues in a broad range of contexts. Dr. Scassa’s ongoing research projects are on artificial intelligence and the law, data governance, privacy and legal dimensions of data scraping.

Dr. Scassa is author or co-author of several books, including Artificial Intelligence and the Law in Canada (LexisNexis 2021), Digital Commerce (LexisNexis 2020), Law and the Sharing Economy (uOttawa Press 2018), and Canadian Trademark Law (2d edition, LexisNexis 2015). She has research and published widely on law and technology subjects. She is a member of Canada’s Advisory Council on Artificial Intelligence, and a member of the Law Commission of Ontario’s Advisory Panel on the AI in Civil and Administrative Justice Project. She is a past member of the External Advisory Committee to the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.