It’s Emergency Preparedness Week in Canada – time to encourage Canadians to become better prepared to face an emergency with basic steps such as keeping bottled water and canned goods in the basement.
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada is also encouraging organizations to ensure they are prepared to address privacy issues that may arise during a time of crisis.
Personal information can play an important role in an emergency situation. Uncertainty around the sharing of personal information could result in unnecessary confusion and delays – and have significant consequences for people.
Our Office, in consultation with several provincial and territorial counterparts, has created a Privacy Emergency Kit to help both private and public sector organizations ensure they are prepared.
Privacy laws do allow for appropriate sharing during a time of crisis, but it is crucial that organizations understand the legislation that applies to them and consider privacy issues in advance of an emergency situation.
The Government of Canada’s Get Prepared site advises individual Canadians: “Whatever you do, don’t wait for a disaster to happen.”
That’s also good advice for organizations subject to privacy legislation.