International Issues

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Building trust and confidence in the Internet is a key policy focus for Canada and it is therefore important that Canada's interests are represented in international discussions aimed at achieving this goal. With its expertise in matters of privacy and electronic commerce, the Government of Canada has been instrumental in the development of various international initiatives.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

The OECD Guidelines on the Protection of Privacy and Transborder Flows of Personal Data, adopted on September 23, 1980, continue to represent international consensus on general guidance concerning the collection and management of personal information. By setting out core principles, the guidelines play a major role in assisting governments, business and consumer representatives in their efforts to protect privacy and personal data, and in obviating unnecessary restrictions to transborder data flows, both on and off line.

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)

The APEC Privacy Framework establishes a consistent approach to information privacy protection across APEC members economies while avoiding the creation of unnecessary barriers to information flows. The Framework was endorsed by APEC Ministers on November 20, 2004.

European Commission

In 1995, the European Union (EU) passed a Data Protection Directive aimed at protecting personal information and harmonizing privacy laws among its member states. Under this directive, all member states must adopt privacy legislation or revise existing laws. The directive also establishes rules to ensure that personal data may be transferred only to those countries outside the EU that provide an equivalent level of protection. In December 2001, the European Commission ruled that Canada's Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) meets the rigorous standards for the protection of personal data as outlined in the European Union's Data Protection Directive. This unanimous decision by the European Parliament and the Commission allowed for the continued flow of personal information between the European Union and Canada.

European Commission Recognizes Canadian Legislated Privacy Protection
Industry Canada News Release
January 14, 2002