A whole new kind of “homework”: Ensuring access and privacy rights from the hearth

The new work-from-home reality hit many of us like a ton of bricks – bricks and mortar, that is. From a usual Friday afternoon at our office desks, surrounded by familiar people and things… to a Monday morning email instructing us to stay home for the sake of our own health and safety.

With no playbook to follow, many organizations had to turn on a dime to get staff the informational assets they needed to continue to be productive and maintain operations from home. Admittedly, access to information and privacy were not top of mind.

However, what may not have been obvious then, should be abundantly clear now: Ontario’s access and privacy laws continue to apply even when working from home.

To help organizations and their staff navigate the “new normal,” the IPC has released a new access and privacy fact sheet specifically adapted for the work-from-home context. It includes best practices and strategies for adopting new virtual communication channels while continuing to protect personal information and responsibly manage data.

As we settle in for the long ride, it’s essential that corporate policies and practices related to access, privacy, and security, be adapted, as needed, to ensure continued compliance when working from home. Staff must be reminded of their responsibilities, which include:

  •  diligently following all work-from-home information security protocols,
  •  remaining particularly vigilant of new phishing attacks
  •  immediately reporting any data breaches, and
  •  properly preserving and cataloguing records so they can be found when responding to access requests.

As the province begins to reopen and remote working conditions continue to evolve, let’s keep the conversation going, so organizations and their staff know how to mitigate risks to access, privacy and security even from home.

If you have questions about reducing the risks of remote work or other access and privacy topics, please feel free to contact us. Our offices may be physically closed right now, but we’re always available to help – virtually, that is.


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