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Ontario Privacy Bill Unexpectedly Stalled for the Year

OTTAWA, CANADA (AFP eWire - Dec. 20, 2002) - In a surprising development, privacy legislation will not be considered in Ontario this year as the legislature there adjourned last week without considering the bill.

The provincial government had indicated at the beginning of 2002 that one of its priorities was to move forward a privacy bill considerably more comprehensive than the federal bill C-6, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act. Draft legislation was introduced earlier this year, and AFP provided comments to the government about the bill, some of which were incorporated into a second version.

However, the Legislature ran out of time, prompting Ann Cavoukian, the Information and Privacy Commissioner for Ontario, to send an open letter to the Premier expressing her disappointment "with this failure to take action." The Commissioner posted the letter on her website.

In response, Consumer Minister Hudak indicated that the Legislature would be considering the bill in the spring.

Some provinces were following closely the Ontario legislation and considering using it as the basis for their own privacy initiatives. It remains to be seen what this delay might do to privacy considerations in other provinces. Alberta and British Columbia are said to be working closely on privacy legislation, although their bills are expected to be less comprehensive than Ontario's.

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