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17 October 20232 minute read

Canadian privacy regulators issue and seek input on updated biometrics guidance

Canada’s federal privacy regulator, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, has proposed updated guidance regarding the collection and processing of biometric information and is seeking input from private-sector and public-sector organizations. The draft guidance for private-sector organizations can be found here, while the draft guidance for public institutions can be found here.

The OPC last provided guidance about biometric information in 2011, which certainly feels an age ago given the advances in and broader adoption of biometric technology. The guidance includes systems handling facial scans, fingerprints, voiceprints, DNA, and other human characteristics. The guidance does not signal a change in the law, but does provide insight into how existing privacy laws can and should be applied to the collection and use of biometric information and how regulators will assess those activities with respect to privacy compliance and possible regulatory enforcement.  

The draft guidance is relevant to any organization that develops or uses biometric systems. If your organization handles biometric information in any capacity, you should review the draft guidance and consider submitting comments to the OPC.

The OPC has invited private-sector and public-sector stakeholders to provide their feedback by January 12, 2024.