Hard to believe a full year has passed since we closed our office doors and began working from home. The significant adjustments made by my team, the high pace of change they have to contend with, and their unwavering commitment to continue serving the people of Ontario, regardless of the circumstances, fills me with immense pride.
While there is hope on the horizon that effective vaccines may allow us to resume some measure of normalcy in our home and work lives, the truth is that until all of us are vaccinated (or at least that magic percentage of us needed to reach herd immunity), many will continue to work from home for the foreseeable future. There is also the possibility that some organizations will make working from home – whether full-time or part-time – a permanent new reality of their operations and work culture.
Regardless of whether we go back to the office or continue working from home, Ontario’s access and privacy laws continue to apply. Protecting privacy and security, and ensuring access to information are critically important responsibilities, even when staff are working off-site. This is why I encourage all organizations to regularly assess their information practices and procedures for employees working remotely and I invite you to consult our fact sheet, Working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. It includes best practices and strategies for securing virtual communication channels, protecting personal information, and responsibly managing data.
This is also a good opportunity to remind those employees working from home of their carriage of responsibilities as well. This includes:
- following organizational security protocols
- remaining vigilant and alert to the threats posed by phishing and malware attacks
- immediately reporting any privacy breaches to their organization
- retaining and cataloging work-related records that may be needed to respond to access requests
This pandemic has fundamentally impacted our society, our families, our social lives, and our places of work in ways that are still unfolding. As things continue to evolve, keep an eye on IPC’s website or follow us on Twitter for the latest tips and resources on protecting privacy and ensuring proper records retention while working from home.
If you have questions about working remotely or other access and privacy topics, please feel free to contact us.
We are always here to help, from our hearth and home to yours.
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