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Privacy Matters: The Federal Strategy to Address Concerns About the USA PATRIOT Act and Transborder Data Flows

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1. Introduction

Role of the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (the Secretariat) has produced this report to update Parliament and Canadians on the federal strategy in response to privacy concerns about the USA PATRIOT Act2 and the possibility that foreign legislation could affect the protection of Canadians' personal information.

The President of the Treasury Board is the designated minister responsible for issuing government-wide directives and guidelines related to the administration of the Privacy Act. The Secretariat supports him in this role and also issues government-wide security, contracting, and procurement policies. The Secretariat was therefore the logical body to co-ordinate government-wide efforts in reviewing the privacy and security of personal information in contracts.

Purposes of the report

This report has the following purposes:

  • to inform Canadians of privacy concerns related to the USA PATRIOT Act and transborder data issues in general;
  • to make Canadians aware of the existing federal framework of privacy-related laws and policies that have made Canada a world leader in privacy; and
  • to inform Canadians of the federal strategy addressing any ongoing issues related to transborder data flows.

Supporting facts

Privacy is defined as the fundamental right to control the collection, use, and disclosure of information about ourselves. Security, as it relates to privacy, is the process of assessing threats and risks to information and taking steps to protect it.

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