Data sovereignty, data residency, and security are important terms when it comes to data privacy in Canada. Emphasis on cloud-first business options, and provisions for data center establishments by the government is aimed at holding citizens' data within the nation's boundaries.
In 2018, the Canadian Federal Government demonstrated its cloud-first strategy making the cloud its preferred option for delivering IT services. Prioritizing the public cloud, this legislation also demonstrates that certain sensitive information remains within its boundaries. For this, the Canadian government emphasizes the availability of major public cloud services within the country. This is why setting up data centers in Canada is important. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada is responsible for governing the storage and use of personally identifiable information (PII). Every federal, provincial, and territorial jurisdiction in Canada has an independent Information and Privacy Commissioner who manages the data protection laws under their jurisdiction.
To set up a data center and run your business uninterruptedly, make sure you comply with the following:
Like other major privacy laws, PIPEDA insists that organizations obtain an individual's consent when they collect, use, or disclose that individual's personal information. Personal information can only be used for the purpose it was collected for. If an organization is going to use it for another purpose, it must obtain consent again.
All businesses that operate in Canada and handle personal information that crosses provincial or national borders in the course of commercial activities are subject to PIPEDA, regardless of the province or territory in which they are based. This includes provinces that have enacted similar legislation.
PIPEDA lists 10 fair information principles that form the basis for the collection, use, and disclosure of personal information, as well as for providing access to personal information. In PIPEDA's words:
Canada has also implemented the Privacy Act of 1983 which covers how the federal government handles personal information.
Alberta, British Columbia, and Quebec have their own private-sector privacy laws that are similar to PIPEDA. Organizations that are subject to the provincial privacy laws are generally exempt from the PIPEDA with respect to the collection, use, or disclosure of personal information that occurs within that province.
The Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) is Alberta’s private sector privacy law. It protects personal information collected and processed by private sector organizations, businesses, and in some cases, non-profit organizations.
The Province of British Columbia comprises various federal and provincial laws that govern the way personal information is handled. Provincially, the PIPA and federally, the PIPEDA regulate private organizations that collect, use, and disclose personal information. The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) regulates the personal information handled by public bodies.
Quebec enforces its data privacy rights through the Private Sector Act, inspired by the General Data Protection and Regulation (GDPR).
Similar to the United States, data centers in Canada are expected to comply with common data center standards, like NIST and ISO 27001.
There are different types of data centers, like traditional and hybrid, that each come with their own pros and cons. It's the choice of the individual organization to choose the type that fits their needs, and successfully incorporate all elements of privacy, safety, security, and other environmental standards. With so many controls, standards, audits, and reports, it's always recommended to adhere to and maintain compliance with all region-specific laws.