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Key Takeaways from Our October 22nd Panel Event

The speed at which technology has been adopted has increased dramatically over the time of the pandemic - this means that privacy considerations need to either be assessed quickly or are being done after implementation. Despite the obvious ‘surprise’ factor involved here, there is the possibility that certain changes that may not be reversed,  even if the need for these technologies loosens, and the pandemic starts to subside. 

Last week, I had the honour and privilege to host several experts on Canadian Privacy Law for an informative and dynamic discussion of how our privacy laws have changed under COVID, and how they may continue to change as the pandemic evolves.

Our expert panel has so much information to share, so I encourage you to watch the one-hour replay to get the full and extended answers from our experts on these issues. 



I wanted to take a moment and acknowledge the contributions of our incredible panel. I strongly encourage you to check out their LinkedIN Profiles below to learn more about the work that they do in their field, and follow their work. 

David Goodis, Assistant Information and Privacy Commissioner, Regulation

Nadia Jandali Chao, Bespoke Law,  Private Sector Healthcare IT Specialist 

Rosario Cartagena, IC/ES, Not-for Profit Research Institute

Robin Gould-Soil, Consulting

Janet Guevara, Markham Stouffville Hospital, Hospital sector

If you can’t watch the replay- no worries! I pulled out some of the key takeaways from our wider discussion to share with you below. 

  1. Virtual care/telehealth has increased

Type of technology is new, so there are obvious risks for unknown security concerns, reliability and accessibility for the wider population. 

Challenge to articulate the risks and understand them, but important to enable technology to support care, first and foremost. 

Patient care is paramount, and other concerns must fall second to this priority. 

  1. Vendor Management

This has been arising as a key issue in the privacy discussion, as it pertains to how information is shared within institutions.  One of challenges is that legislation is not harmonized and different parties may be subject to different legislation (i.e. hospitals are subject to PHIPA in Ontario vs the vendors providing the health technology are subject to PIPEDA (private sector federal legislation). 

Clear and consistent rules will be needed to ensure the transparency and secure transfer of Health information. 

  1. Cybersecurity 

The swift hardening of cybersecurity controls has become a necessity with the booming widespread adoption of largely untested and unregulated technologies. The transition to an en-masse, large scale work from home workforce has moved business security outside of a secure centralized location like an office, and moved into people’s homes. 

However, these WFH tools have become essential for businesses at ensuring that their business processes can protect data outside of the ‘four walls’ of the business office, and allow them to continue to operate. 

Most importantly, the largest takeaway from all of our presenters, was that the dichotomy between privacy and public safety does not need to exist. There are some amazing opportunities in this climate, and some much-needed changes to some outdated systems are getting the ‘push’ that they need to make better changes. 

There are opportunities across the board to:

  • Begin harmonizing work on privacy and security

  • Increased focus on the benefits of technology

  • Technology vendors wanting to move to improve privacy controls in their design because it is being demanded by the public on a large scale

  • Cybersecurity is forefront and there is more understanding of the importance and necessity of secure systems and online controls. 

If there isn’t a divide between privacy and public safety then both can work together to improve access to care, and security of information. We always err on the side of disclosure when safety is an issue, keeping public safety and security at the forefront of all privacy decisions.  

If you have any questions, I’m happy to answer them at samara@drawbridgeconsulting.com, or put you in touch with any of our panelists. 



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