Public consultation on the Privacy Act – Submission – Nunatsiavut Government

Cette soumission n’est disponible qu’en anglais.

February 12, 2021

The Honourable David Lametti, P.C., Q.C., M.P.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
Ottawa, Canada
K1A 0H8

Dear Minister Lametti,

I write to you on behalf of the Nunatsiavut Government (NG) in regard to the Department of Justice Canada’s public consultations on the modernization of the Privacy Act and in response to your letter dated November 17, 2020. The NG fully recognizes the need to ensure that the Privacy Act is fit for the digital age and emphasizes that any development of privacy legislation must respect the Government of Canada’s commitment to reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples in Canada, including the Labrador Inuit. While we have yet to see any proposed amendments to the Privacy Act, I would like to make the following preliminary remarks regarding the modernization of the Privacy Act.

First, the NG underscores the importance of adapting the Privacy Act to give the NG and the Labrador Inuit greater exercise of control over decisions involving their personal information. Any amendments to the Privacy Act must honor the spirit of reconciliation and respect the NG’s role in the governance of the Labrador Inuit. I look forward to further discussions regarding the Federal Government’s recommendations as to definitions of communal data and new governance mechanisms and that would support a more collaborative approach to information sharing with the NG.

Second, any modernization of the Privacy Act must ensure greater transparency regarding federal institutions’ collection, use, disclosure and retention of personal information, particular in regard to Indigenous Services Canada and Indigenous and Northern Affairs. Greater transparency as to the policies or programs being developed using the Labrador Inuit’s personal information, for example, would help to build confidence in federal institutions.

Third, the NG expresses concerns regarding exemptions related to transparency requirements, such as the expansion of federal institutions’ powers to indirectly collect personal information. Specifically, the NG questions the appropriateness of expanding federal institutions’ ability to collect personal information for the purpose of an investigation by a law enforcement or national security agency, given that the Privacy Act already provides exemptions for the collection of personal information in relation to law enforcement under sections 8(2)(c) and (e) of the Act. Any such amendments must be clearly defined and circumscribed as to minimally infringe on the Labrador Inuit’s rights to safeguard their personal information.

I understand that the Government of Canada will continue to consult and collaborate with the NG regarding the modernization of both the Privacy Act and the future review of the Access to Information Act. I look forward to hearing from you regarding any proposed amendments to the Privacy Act that may affect the Labrador Inuit.


[Information was severed]

Mr. Johannes Lampe
Nunatsiavut Government
P.O. Box 70
Nain, NL
A0P 1L0