OTTAWA, ON – The Hon. Michelle Rempel Garner, Shadow Minister for Industry and Economic Development, and MP Jeremy Patzer, issued the following statement regarding alarming testimony delivered by the Privacy Commissioner Therrien to the Standing Committee on Industry, Science, and Technology:

“As we know, the Prime Minister has said that he will soon be “strongly recommending” Canadians use a contact-tracing app in light of the pandemic. However, the Privacy Commissioner stated that he has not been consulted by the government on any plans to adopt a contact-tracing app, although he maintained that his office is available and ready to provide such guidance to the government. This is absolutely unacceptable.”

“When asked if he was confident whether Canadians privacy laws would protect Canadians if a breach of a contact tracing app occurred, the Privacy Commissioner responded “No, I am not. My office has been talking for several years about the fact that our legal framework needs to be modernized and strengthened.”

“Prior to COVID-19, Canada’s privacy laws were woefully inadequate. Now that Canadians are being required to conduct business online, work and attend school from home; and now may be required to install a tracking mechanism on their cellphones, it is difficult to underscore the potential for disaster in the event of a leak or hack. Additionally, Conservatives are not confident that existing laws have any teeth in the event of a breach.”