Right now political parties are in a privacy wild west: they aren’t private companies subject to PIPEDA, our private sector privacy laws, nor are they subject to The Privacy Act, which regulates government agencies' handling of our personal information.
According to the government’s own survey, more than 96% of people in Canada think this should change,1 yet the federal government has chosen NOT to include political parties within the scope of its newly proposed privacy laws, Bill C-27.2
Even worse, they’re trying to make this wild west permanent; they’ve snuck an amendment to Canada’s Elections Act in the very back of their 2023 budget Bill C-47 that will make it so federal political parties NEVER have to abide by privacy laws and NEVER face scrutiny from independent regulators.3
The government says they’re doing this so that political parties have a “national, uniform” set of rules, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. If they get their way, each political party will be able to set their own rules about how they collect and use our personal information, and they’ll oversee their own adherence to those rules.
If the government really wanted a “national, uniform” set of rules for how political parties collect and use personal information, they would have included political parties within the scope of Canada’s proposed new privacy laws, which are part of Bill C-27. But they explicitly didn’t.
In effect, the government is acting to legalize the wild west practices of political parties, fighting against even the most minimal accountability and transparency measures – the very same standards that they’re imposing on EVERY other organization in Canada – and opting instead for a “trust us,” self-regulation approach.
A law that says nothing more than that you get to set your own rules is no law at all. Sign the petition for federal political parties to abide by Canada’s privacy laws!