Privacy policy

In Canada, privacy policies for e-commerce businesses are governed primarily by the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) and the more recent Digital Charter Implementation Act, 2022, which includes the Consumer Privacy Protection Act (CPPA).

Key Requirements under PIPEDA and CPPA

  1. Consent and Transparency: Businesses must obtain meaningful consent from individuals for the collection, use, and disclosure of their personal information. This involves providing clear information about the purposes for data collection and how the data will be used​ 

  2. Data Collection and Use: Personal data should only be collected for specified, legitimate purposes and not used beyond those purposes without further consent from the individual. Businesses must inform users of the categories of data collected and any third parties with whom this data may be shared​ 

  3. User Rights: Individuals have the right to access their personal information held by a business, request corrections, and withdraw consent. They can also request the deletion of their personal data when it is no longer necessary for the original purpose of collection​ ​​ (Canada.ca)​.

  4. Protection of Minors: There are stricter regulations for handling the data of minors, including limits on the collection and use of such data and higher standards for obtaining consent​ (Canada.ca)​.

  5. Accountability: Organizations must implement appropriate security measures to protect personal data and have policies and practices in place to handle privacy complaints and breaches​ 

  6. Fines and Enforcement: The Privacy Commissioner of Canada has the authority to enforce compliance, including the power to order companies to stop collecting or using personal information. Non-compliant organizations may face significant fines—up to 5% of global revenue or $25 million, whichever is greater​ (Canada.ca)​.

Compliance Steps for E-commerce Businesses

  • Develop a Clear Privacy Policy: Ensure your privacy policy clearly explains your data handling practices, the types of personal information collected, how it is used, and shared. It should also describe how users can exercise their rights regarding their personal information​ 

  • Obtain Consent: Implement mechanisms to obtain explicit consent from users, especially for non-essential data collection and cookies. This includes providing opt-in options for data sharing with third parties and for targeted advertising)​.

  • Ensure Data Security: Adopt robust security measures to protect personal data from breaches, and establish protocols for responding to data breaches if they occur​

  • Regular Audits and Updates: Conduct regular audits of your data handling practices and update your privacy policy to ensure ongoing compliance with evolving legal requirements and technological changes​ 

By adhering to these guidelines, e-commerce businesses in Canada can ensure they comply with national privacy laws and build trust with their customers by protecting their personal information.