Past Event: Pathways 2 Privacy Symposium 2014

August 12, 2015

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) and our partners, the University of Toronto, Ryerson University, the Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC), and the University of Sherbrooke, hosted the second Pathways to Privacy Research Symposium at the University of Toronto on March 21, 2014. Over 125 participants representing a variety of interests, including academia, government, non-profit organizations, and privacy professionals, attended the full-day event, which showcased privacy-related research funded by the OPC’s Contributions Program.

In support of the theme Helping Canadians Find Pathways to Privacy, the symposium was preceded by a public panel discussion on March 20, 2014, entitled “Advancing privacy and civil liberties in Canada’s (emerging) surveillance state.” During the symposium on March 21, four panels covered a wide spectrum of privacy concerns that affect Canadians, including issues in commercial genetic testing and health information; privacy at the public/private interface; protecting personal information online and off; and the privacy of financial information. The symposium also featured a keynote address from human rights attorney Paul Champ.

Canadians are aware that their everyday activities produce enormous amounts of personal information with accompanying privacy risks, but find it difficult to act on their concerns. The Pathways to Privacy symposium aimed to provide Canadians with a better understanding of the ways their privacy is at risk, the privacy protections offered by PIPEDA, and practical means for exercising their privacy rights. At the same time, it brought together the network of privacy researchers, educators, advocates and practitioners across Canada to build connections and foster interaction.



“Advancing privacy and civil liberties in Canada’s (emerging) surveillance state”
March 20, 2014 | 6:00 – 8:30 pm
The Bissell Building, 140 St. George Street

From the Snowden revelations, to evidence of medical information emerging during border security checks, to questions about the data collection practices of the Canadian Security establishment, there have been many recent stories lately that raise public concern about our privacy rights. The round table discussion was interactive, with our moderator asking broad questions and soliciting opinions from an expert panel, featuring:

  • Jay Stanley, Senior Policy Analyst, American Civil Liberties Union’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project
  • Sukanya Pillay, General Counsel and Executive Director, Canadian Civil Liberties Association
  • Colin Freeze, National Security Reporter, Globe & Mail
  • Moderator: Andrew Clement, University of Toronto Faculty of Information

The Privacy Fair featured booths showcasing privacy education materials, including consumer oriented encryption, youth-oriented privacy education, video surveillance accountability apps, telecommunications transparency reporting and interactive mapping. Some of the projects included in the fair were:

Watch video webcast

View slideshow

>> Click here to see the full photo gallery



“Helping Canadians Find Pathways to Privacy”
March 21, 2014 | 8:30 am – 5:00 pm
The Faculty Club, University of Toronto
41 Willcocks Street, Toronto ON

Welcome Remarks

Sukanya Pillay, General Counsel & Executive Director, Canadian Civil Liberties Association (audio):

Patricia Kosseim, Senior General Counsel and Director General, Legal Services, Policy and Research Branch, Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (audio):

Panel 1 — Privacy for Life: Issues in Commercial Genetic Testing and Health Information Provision

This panel examined the privacy risks to consumers and patients who engage with private sector providers of health care or testing services or information provision. Health information is an area that has traditionally been deemed highly sensitive, needing high levels of protection when provided by the public sector. However, when private sector organizations become involved, citizens might not be aware of the different levels of protection afforded to their personal information.

Jacquelyn Burkell,
University of Western Ontario. “Hidden Surveillance by Consumer Health Websites.” (audio)
[Download presentation slides]

[Read the final report]

Kieran O’Doherty,
University of Guelph. “Privacy risks of direct to consumer genetic testing.” (audio)
[Download presentation slides]

[Project Backgrounder]

Sukanya Pillay,
Canadian Civil Liberties Association. “Genetic testing in the workplace.” (audio)
Moderator: Joseph Ferenbok,
Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto (audio) 

Watch video webcast

Panel 2 — Privacy at the Public/Private Interface

We live in a society where the lines between private and public are becoming not just blurred but in some cases erased. While privacy protection has long been treated differently, and legislated and enforced differently depending on whether the information collection occurred in the private or public sector, the realities of everyday life in an online, internally connected (and globally surveilled) world mean that these distinctions increasingly are being challenged. This panel examined the ways in which public and private interconnect and the need for privacy protections across the interface.

Andrew Clement,
University of Toronto. “IXmaps: Mapping Canadian Privacy Risks in the Internet Cloud.” (audio)
[Download presentation slides]

[Project website]

Micheal Vonn & Kate Milberry,
BCCLA. “A National ID Card by Stealth.” (audio)
[Project Backgrounder]

[Read the report]

Andrea Slane,
UOIT. “Privacy and civic duty: The legitimate scope of voluntary information sharing by private enterprises in law enforcement investigations into cybercrime.” (audio)
[Project backgrounder]

[Project website]

[Research article]

David LyonScott Thompson, and Ciara Bracken-Roche,
Queens University. “Privacy Implications of the Spread of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in Canada.” (audio)
[Download presentation slides]

[Project backgrounder]

Moderator: Lisa Austin,
Faculty of Law, University of Toronto (audio)

Watch video webcast

Lunch and Keynote Address — “Legal Strategies for Reclaiming Privacy in the Digital Age”

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Panel 3 — Privacy Online and Off: Protecting Personal Information

People of all ages encounter privacy challenges as they go about their daily business online and off. When personal information is shared about Canadian citizens, whether it is between social media sites and advertisers, or private sector organizations and law enforcement officers, there are potential privacy concerns. This panel featured research discussing the need for privacy protections in situations where personal information is shared and used in on and offline settings.

Christopher Parsons,
University of Victoria. “The Canadian Access to Social Media Information Project.”(audio)
[Download presentation slides]

[Project backgrounder]

[Project website]

Abby Deshman,
Canadian Civil Liberties Association. “Police Background Checks and the Private Sector.”(audio)
[Download presentation slides]

[Project backgrounder]

Moderator: Tamir Israel,
Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy & Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) (audio)

Watch video webcast

Panel 4 — Privacy and Financial Information

Financial information is often highly personal and is perceived as requiring strong privacy protection, yet it is also information much in demand by private sector agencies seeking to market financial services to governments, citizens and other corporations. This panel presented OPC-funded research focusing on the current privacy issues in the financial arena.

Alexandre Plourde,
Option Consommateurs, “New services provided by credit agencies.” (audio)
[Download presentation slides]

[Project backgrounder]

Avner Levin,
Ryerson University. “Fraud and privacy violation risks in the financial aggregation industry.” (audio)
[Download presentation slides]

[Project backgrounder]

Arthur Cockfield,
Queens University, “The Privacy Implications of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).” (audio)
[Download presentation slides]

[Project backgrounder]

Moderator: Ali Miri,
Department of Computer Science, Ryerson University (audio)

Watch video webcast

Closing Remarks

Sukanya Pillay, Canadian Civil Liberties Association (audio)

The event was organized with funding from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada’s Contributions Program; the views expressed at this event were those of the participants and do not necessarily reflect those of the OPC.