Today marks my first day as Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner. I am truly honoured to have been appointed to lead this office, working with a highly skilled and dedicated team of professionals to serve the people of Ontario.
I am particularly grateful to my predecessor, Brian Beamish, for setting such high standards throughout his exemplary leadership and for being so supportive during this period of transition.
In this time of global turmoil and change, upholding privacy and access rights is more important than ever. The health, social and economic upheavals we are currently facing continue to test our sense of normalcy, posing some of the toughest privacy and accountability challenges yet.
At the IPC, we will continue to keep a steady focus on data issues that matter most to Ontarians, informed by the broader international policy context and what’s going on in the rest of the world.
In many jurisdictions, including Ontario, we’re seeing a sharp rise in data privacy and access issues at the intersection between public, private and health sectors. I plan to bring my professional experience — which spans all three sectors — to bear on these increasingly complex issues. I also plan to collaborate closely with my Canadian and international counterparts on cross-jurisdictional matters which have become par for the course in a world of global data flows.
As I begin my term, the recent statutory expansions of the IPC’s mandate will be top of mind. We want to get them started on the right track, taking a fair, practical and flexible approach to their interpretation and application. Our work will concentrate on the new administrative penalties under the province’s health privacy law, the data integration units under the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act, and the privacy protections in Part X of Ontario’s child and family services law.
Recognizing I’m still new to many of you, I plan to get out there over the next few months (virtually speaking) to introduce myself, and hear from, as many Ontarians as possible — including Franco-Ontarians. Moving forward, I will continue to build upon the IPC’s strong legacy of public outreach and education established through its Reaching Out to Ontario («ROTO») program and various other stakeholder activities.
It is a real privilege to serve as Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner and I look forward to working with you over the next five years.