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Canada: OPC publishes practical tips for employers in relation to workplace privacy

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) published, on June 8, 2023, a blog on 'Privacy in the workplace - practical tips for employers.' The blog highlights tips, including:

  • knowing the law;
  • mapping out the information that is collected from employees;
  • conducting a privacy impact assessment;
  • testing proposed information management practices;
  • limiting collection;
  • being transparent and open;
  • respecting key privacy principles; and
  • being aware of inappropriate practices/no-go zones.

Specifically, on testing the proposed information management practices, the blog notes that employers should identify the purposes for which they plan to collect, use, or disclose personal information, consider the legitimate purpose, and whether there may be a less privacy-invasive method of achieving the same. Furthermore, with regard to being aware of inappropriate practices, the blog clarifies that given the unequal positions of power between employers and employees, there is a risk that employers could ask for more information than they are allowed to collect and that individuals may feel unduly pressured to provide such information. To this end, the blog notes that asking employees (or potential employees) to provide you with access to password-protected areas of their social media accounts would likely go too far.

You can read the blog here.