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The Great Phenylketonuria Fraud: Ottawa Should Have a Stronger Law

The Great Phenylketonuria Fraud: Ottawa Should Have a Stronger Law


PCU rigging by numbers

23842*
Reports to the Canadian Anti-fraud Center between March 6, 2020 and June 30, 2021

$7.6 million
Estimated attributable financial losses

22800 reports
officially open

Quebec

nearly 40%
Of all these files in Quebec

* This number includes phishing and phishing text messages

Quebec wants the Canadian government to follow suit and be stricter with companies and government institutions that do not poorly protect citizens’ personal data.

According to the minister in charge of government digital transformation in Quebec, Eric Kayer, the PCU scam was the “perfect storm” to show Canadians’ data sensitivity.

We had an emergency situation where the government wanted to give emergency funds. So, have all the necessary safeguards and controls been implemented? “A question is an answer,” says the Quebec minister.

The government's Minister for Digital Transformation, Eric Kayer, wants Ottawa to take inspiration from its Quebec Personal Information Protection Act in order to present a united front in this area.

Photo archive, Stevens LeBlanc

The government’s Minister for Digital Transformation, Eric Kayer, wants Ottawa to take inspiration from its Quebec Personal Information Protection Act in order to present a united front in this area.

According to him, the federal government should do better in the future to protect the personal information of citizens within its organizations.

continue the example

For its part, the Quebec government has just passed its Bill No. 64, which updates the Law on Access to Information and the Protection of Personal Information in the Private and Public Sectors. The first in the country.

The companies at fault will, within two years, face huge financial fines of up to 4% of global turnover and fines of up to $25 million in the event of a data breach and security incident.

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“It aims to empower those who collect personal information,” the minister said. There was a legal void regarding the consequences of not processing it in proportion to the value of this data.”

Addition of investigative resources and increased oversight of committee access to information are also on the list.

“Everything is fine and good, laws are stricter, but it requires an entity that can monitor this,” the minister said.

Canada in the clouds

But, even if Quebec improves data protection, for the impact to be tangible, other jurisdictions must follow suit.

The federal government has been working on Bill C11 to improve data protection for Canadians. However, the latter in the series died when the last election was called.

“The ideal would be for all Canadian legislation to be consistent,” Eric Cairo says, adding that Ontario is also hoping for stricter measures. “Maybe the federal government can coordinate and take inspiration from what Quebec has done.”

In the long term, the solution will be to create a digital identity for Quebecers, says the minister.

This ambitious project has been on paper in Quebec for several years, but it’s struggling to get started. CAQ promises that by 2025, key guidelines will be in place.