Privacy Act Modernization: Engagement with Indigenous Partners – What We Have Learned (so far) and Next Steps


This report summarizes the input received from partners who participated in the Department of Justice Canada’s initial engagement inviting First Nations, Inuit and Métis partners to discuss the modernization of the Privacy Act. These initial discussions took place from spring 2020 to spring 2021. This report also outlines next steps for further engagement with First Nations, Inuit and Métis partners on Privacy Act modernization. The purpose of sharing this report at this time is to let partners know what we have learned so far through this engagement process, to provide a common basis for continuing the conversation.

In light of the feedback received to date, we are proposing a multi-stage approach for moving forward. First, over the next few months, the engagement will focus on the Privacy Act’s foundational principles and rules that play a significant role in governing information sharing between federal public bodies and Indigenous peoples. After that, the engagement would focus on discussing more detailed rules and complex questions to support any initial changes that might be made to modernize the Privacy Act. This stage might occur after the possible enactment of a new Privacy Act.

This report is divided into three parts:

Part 1 provides a brief description of the context for Privacy Act modernization and Justice Canada’s efforts to engage with Indigenous partners to date. It also includes a summary of what we have learned so far through initial bilateral engagement sessions and informal discussions with Indigenous partners on Privacy Act modernization.Footnote 1

Part 2 suggests ideas for potential changes to the Privacy Act’s foundational principles and rules, based on input received so far from Indigenous partners. Our engagement efforts will focus on these potential changes over the next few months.

Part 3 briefly describes some of the questions to be addressed at a later stage, following the engagement on the ideas raised in Part 2. These questions include the more detailed rules that may be required to ensure the appropriate implementation of any initial changes made to modernize the Privacy Act, as well as other complex questions that go beyond the Privacy Act and relate to Indigenous data more broadly.Footnote 2

Indigenous partners are invited to provide comments to the Privacy Act modernization team either through a virtual engagement session, in writing, or both, as preferred before April 30, 2022.