Quebec’s privacy regulator consults on consent rules

May 25, 2023
Advocacy Privacy

Quebec’s privacy regulator, the Commission d'access a l'information (“the CAI”), is consulting on guidance for organizations to comply with new consent requirements coming into force this September.

Quebec’s new Law 25, previously known as Bill 64, has Quebec leading the privacy reform movement in Canada, and has important consequences for companies that do business in Quebec and those that handle the personal information of Quebec residents.

Most provisions of the law go into effect this September. This includes updated requirements for obtaining consumer consent, including a set of new requirements for consent to be considered valid (including that it be “clear, free, informed and given for a specific purpose”) and a requirement for parental consent to collect the personal information of anyone under the age of 14. See our Privacy Law Comparison Chart for a fuller picture.

The proposed CAI guidelines are intended to bring the law’s consent requirements to life. Although many of the requirements expand on what marketers are already familiar with under the current law, the CAI’s approach to one particular provision will have a significant impact on marketing activities: technologies that identify, track or profile individuals will need to be turned off by default. This amounts to an express (opt-in) consent requirement for organizations that wish to collect personal information through any of these technologies.

The law has a broad definition of 'profiling', which includes any personal information processing to assess characteristics of an individual in any contexts and for any purposes. The new requirement will have a significant impact on the digital advertising ecosystem, requiring express consent for a variety of common data-gathering practices that fuel marketing analytics. It will limit the ability of marketing technologies and analytics to collect granular data, which will change the precision of performance measurement, campaign optimization and more.

In a world where consumers are demanding more personalization and optimization­ – while simultaneously suffering from consent fatigue – this requirement will have a chilling impact on the digital advertising ecosystem and challenge the ability of the marketing sector to continue to reach and serve consumers in the intuitive ways that consumers expect. Marketers will need to ensure they are diligent in following the rules through leveraging consent management platforms, creative investments in zero-party and first-party data and more.

Have your say by June 25

The CMA is one of just 17 organizations selected by the CAI to provide detailed feedback on the draft consent guidelines. CMA members who wish to contribute to our submission should provide their feedback to the CMA by email by no later than June 5.

Marketers across Canada can also participate in the consultation individually by responding to the public questionnaire on the Consultation Québec platform.

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Fiona Wilson

Director of Public Policy & Chief Privacy Officer Canadian Marketing Association




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