Post Tagged with: "budget"

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How the Budget Bill Quietly Reshapes Canadian Privacy Law

A budget implementation bill is an unlikely – and many would say inappropriate – place to make major changes to Canadian privacy law. Yet Bill C-59, the government’s 158-page bill that is set to sweep through the House of Commons, does just that.

The omnibus budget bill touches on a wide range of issues, including copyright term extension and retroactive reforms to access to information laws. But there are also privacy amendments that have received little attention. In fact, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada was not even granted the opportunity to appear before the committee that “studied” the bill, meaning that privacy was not discussed nor analyzed (the committee devoted only two sessions to external witnesses for study, meaning most issues were glossed over).

My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes that the bill raises at least three privacy-related concerns. First, the retroactive reforms to access to information, which are designed to backdate the application of privacy and access to information laws to data from the long-gun registry, has implications for the privacy rights of Canadians whose data is still contained in the registry. By backdating the law, the government is effectively removing the privacy protections associated with that information.

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June 15, 2015 6 comments Columns

Government Buries Massive Trademark Overhaul in Budget Implementation Bill

Appeared in the Toronto Star on April 19, 2014 as Trademark Overhaul Promises to Please No One It started innocuously enough with the House of Commons Committee on Industry, Science and Technology releasing its long-awaited report on intellectual property in Canada in March 2013. The report included a recommendation that […]

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April 23, 2014 Comments are Disabled Columns Archive

It’s (Almost) Here: Why the Canadian Digital Strategy Takes Shape With Budget 2014

Nearly two years ago, I wrote a post about how the Canadian digital economy strategy seemed to be taking shape. The government had moved on several legislative issues including copyright and spam, it was bringing together federal and provincial ministers to discuss the issue, the open government initiative was on the way, and telecom policy was beginning to emerge as a major concern. All that was missing was an announcement, identification of some targets, and the signal that this was a priority. While I’m told that some in government also saw it this way, then-Industry Minister Christian Paradis let the moment slip away and the entire digital strategy become little more than a punchline.

Yesterday’s federal budget marks the revival of the Canadian digital strategy. The government will undoubtedly still point to past accomplishments (the budget references reforms that date back to the 2006, so digital economy activities from several years ago are surely fair game), but this budget provides many of the remaining ingredients for a digital strategy (Mark Goldberg offers a similar perspective). Once again, all that is left is missing is the official announcement from Industry Minister James Moore. So what will the Canadian digital strategy contain? Based on this budget, it would seem to include:

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February 12, 2014 8 comments News

Canadian Government To Commit More Money Toward Rural Broadband Initiatives

The CBC is reporting that the 2014 federal budget, which is scheduled to be tabled tomorrow, will feature money to “extend or improve high-speed Internet access to 280,000 households and businesses in rural and remote areas.” A new commitment to broadband access, which was promised in last fall’s speech from […]

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February 10, 2014 6 comments News

The Upcoming Budget and the Implications for Canadian Tech Policy

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty will unveil the government’s much-anticipated budget this week amidst widespread speculation that it will feature sizable spending cuts and significant reorganization of major government programs. While changes to old age pension eligibility, the CBC, as well as government departments and programs will attract the lion share of attention, my weekly technology column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes the budget choices could have major implications for technology policy.

The government has telegraphed some measures, including an initiative to recast the National Research Council into a service focused on providing assistance to business rather than an entity emphasizing basic research. Changes to the NRC may be just the starting point as the budget’s fine print could include some important clues about where the government is headed on the digital economy.

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March 27, 2012 8 comments Columns