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Ontario’s Budget: Privacy and Data Governance Aspects

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Today, Ontario’s Minister of Finance, Dwight Duncan, presented Ontario’s proposed budget, “Stronger Action for Ontario“. 

From a privacy and data governance perspective, here are a few things to note:

  • Public-Private Partnership for ServiceOntario.  ServiceOntario operates a hub for government registrations, certifications and licensing.  The government is proposing to increase private sector involvement, including in the expansion of online services.
  • Unclaimed Intangible Property. Ontario has unclaimed intangible property legislation that has not been proclaimed into force.  The government has indicated that it will move forward to establish and Unclaimed Intangible Property Program that would allow the government to take unclaimed intangible property and use it for government purposes until claimed by the owner of the property.  This will inevitably create data gathering, reporting and payment obligations for businesses operating in Ontario as well as the collection of further information about Ontarians by the government.
  • Integration of Social Programs. As mentioned in our previous post, the Drummond Report suggested that there would be benefits to integrating social programs and centralizing data collection.  It appears that the government will move forward on some of these recommendations.
  • Sharing Information for Tax Compliance. The Drummond Report also called for greater information sharing to combat the loss of tax revenue in the underground economy. The government is proposing to move forward with, among other things, enhanced information sharing across Ontario ministries, municipalities and with the Canada Revenue Agency. 

The government is also proposing amendments to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act to accomplish some of its tax and revenue collection objectives.