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Guidelines for obtaining meaningful consent now in effect

January 9, 2019

Guidelines for Obtaining Meaningful Consent now in effect

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada’s (OPC) Guidelines for Obtaining Meaningful Consent came into effect on January 1, 2019, and is intended to improve the current consent model under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).

The guidance on meaningful consent was issued jointly with the offices of the Information and Privacy Commissioners in Alberta and British Columbia and is made up of seven guiding principles for obtaining meaningful consent. These are:

1. Emphasize key elements, namely;

  • What personal information is being collected,
  • With which parties personal information is being shared,
  • For what purposes personal information is collected, used or disclosed, and
  • Risk of harm and other consequences;
2. Allow individuals to control the level of detail they get and when;
3. Provide individuals with clear options to say 'yes' or 'no';
4. Be innovative and creative;
5. Consider the consumer's perspective;
6. Make consent a dynamic and ongoing process; and
7. Be accountable: Stand ready to demonstrate compliance.

As a result, credit unions must review their privacy practices and policies to ensure compliance with the guidelines for obtaining meaningful consent. A mandatory and best practices Consent Checklist can be found on CCUA’s web site (member login required). As well, a summary of the OPC’s Guidelines on Inappropriate Data Practices and Obtaining Meaningful Consent can be found at the same location.