Extract from Corey Omer and Laila Paszti’s article “Québec’s Bill 64: The Newest Consumer-Friendly Patch on the Privacy Quilt”
On September 22, 2021, Québec passed Bill 64, An Act to modernize legislative provisions as regards the protection of personal information (Act). Among other changes, the Act overhauls Québec’s private-sector privacy law, the Act respecting the protection of personal information in the private sector (Private Sector Act), transforming it into the most consumer-friendly privacy law in Canada. The Act’s provisions will be phased in over a three-year period, with most provisions set to take effect on September 22, 2023.
In certain respects, the Act is a necessary facelift for Québec’s aging Private Sector Act, which was, at the time of its enactment in 1993, the first comprehensive private-sector data protection law in North America, but has since been criticized for lagging behind the global shift towards more protective and consumer-friendly privacy laws. The Act wholeheartedly embraces this international trend, leapfrogging Canada’s other private-sector privacy laws, including the federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), and bringing Québec much closer in line with the European Union’s and United Kingdom’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). Much like the GDPR and CCPA, the Act imposes a variety of prescriptive obligations, allows individuals to assert much greater control over their personal information and threatens a heavy cost for non-compliance: administrative penalties and penal fines for a first offence go up to $25 million or, if greater, 4% of worldwide turnover for the preceding fiscal year.