Canada’s new guidelines for obtaining consent under PIPEDA are now in effect. Last year federal Office of the Privacy Commissioner and the Alberta and British Columbia Offices of the Information and Privacy Commissioner jointly issued the guidelines, which outline how to get “meaningful” consent. The OPC will now apply the guidelines when looking at how companies obtained consent, and it has been reported that the guides are viewed by the regulators to have the force of law.

Companies are expected to find creative solutions for developing a consent process, and the guidelines provide seven principles for companies to consider. These include transparency: making clear what is being collected and why. Also part of transparency is if the information is shared. Companies should also give people clear options (“yes” or “no”) and be innovative when putting together the consent process. The consents should, similarly, be user-friendly.  Finally, the guidelines urge companies to be ready to show how they implemented the principles when designing their consent process. To help companies, the guidelines include “must do” and “should do” checklists.

Putting it Into Practice: This Canadian guidance gives helpful insight into what regulators expect from a consent process, which may be useful even for those that operate outside of Canada.