Wyant Examining Privacy Gap Options: Employee Records a Key Concern

Justice Minister Gord Wyant is looking for ways to close the so-called privacy gap left by federal laws.”We, like Ontario and the eastern provinces, have relied on the federal legislation with respect to privacy matters in the private sector,” said Wyant.He said there is a concern about employee records that are not covered by the federal legislation. “We’ve consolidated all the labour legislation into one piece, and we think that there’s a possibility of perhaps bringing some regulations forward under the employment act to cover off that issue,” continued Wyant.He said another possibility is to revisit the province’s freedom of information and privacy laws (FOIP), which he acknowledged are outdated. Privacy Commissioner Gary Dickson said the issue of employee records is only part of the gap in the legislation related to the private sector, and he isn’t confident regulatory changes could address all of his concerns.Although Wyant said he isn’t sure taking legislation from other provinces is the right answer, Dickson said the other western provinces have set good precedents with their laws. “I think there’s a need to overhaul FOIP; there’s a need to overhaul the local authority FOIP act, there’s a need to overhaul HIPA and I think we need a personal information protection law just like B.C. and Alberta have had since 2004…Why would we go a different path?” Dickson said.

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