COVID-19 Update – Guidance and Resources from the Federal, Provincial and Territorial Privacy Commissioners

May 12, 2020

Article by: Keri L. Bennett

Today’s COVID-19 information bulletin includes recent guidance and resources issued by the Federal, Provincial and Territorial Privacy Commissioners that may be of assistance to B.C. employers navigating privacy issues in the context of COVID-19.

Navigating COVID-19 in the Workplace – Privacy Update

During this pandemic, we have seen the increased use of smart phone apps as a public health tool, often for the purposes of contact tracing or notifying individuals of the fact they have been in close proximity with someone who is confirmed or assessed as likely to be a carrier of COVID-19. On May 7, 2020, the Federal, Provincial and Territorial Privacy Commissioners issued a joint statement setting out guiding principles for governments that intend to use contact-tracing applications.

The joint statement is directed at government.  However, it provides helpful guidance to employers considering the use of tracing measures when implementing back-to-work plans.

There is one important caveat. The Commissioners ask government to make the use of apps voluntary and to seek consent.  Employers in B.C. do not require consent to collect, use and disclose personal information about employees where such personal information is managed in accordance with applicable provincial and federal privacy legislation.

Videoconferencing and Privacy Issues

Many employees and employers are likely concerned with how to protect their privacy in our “new normal” world of regular video conferencing. For some tips, check out the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada’s blog post: Videoconferencing – Maintain your physical distance, but keep your personal information close.

To read the full May 12, 2020, COVID-19 Privacy Update, please see the link below:

COVID-19 Update – May 12, 2020

 

If you have questions on this update, please contact Keri L. Bennett.

All our previous COVID-19 information bulletins can be found on Roper Greyell’s COVID-19 resource page.