Yukon gov't vows privacy not at risk after commissioner raises concerns

The territorial government is not intent on centralizing Yukoners' personal information in the interest of convenience, according to its director of corporate information management.

Privacy commissioner said she's worried about government departments sharing citizens' personal information

The territorial government says it's continually improving security on its computers against hackers and snoopers. (Tammy54/Shutterstock)

The territorial government is not intent on centralizing Yukoners' personal information in the interest of convenience, according to David Downing, the director of corporate information management.

"Absolutely, without reservation that is not under consideration, in any way, shape or form, that that would be the case. There will be no massive centralised database in the Yukon government," said Downing.

Concerns were raised by the Yukon's information and privacy commissioner, Diane McLeod-McKay, in her response to a government review of the existing Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

Information and Privacy Commissioner Diane McLeod-McKay is concerned the territorial government is more focused on the delivery of services than respecting Yukoners' ownership of their personal information. (Dave Croft/CBC)
The government report suggested that barriers to sharing information between its departments hindered the delivery of services to Yukoners.

McLeod-McKay said those barriers help protect Yukoners' rights and that no one person should have access to all of the personal information held by the government.

Downing said the privacy principles in the current act will not be changed, but he said modernization is needed to incorporate digital technology.

David Downing, the Yukon government's director of corporate information management, says the principles of privacy in privacy legislation will not be watered down. (YG)
"In a world where you had to go to individual front counters, and files are locked in behind that front counter for each and every program," he said, "we have some more ability that hopefully would allow citizens to see where their information is and where it may be being used from at home and in their bedroom slippers, as we do in many commercial services."

He added the government is constantly improving its privacy safeguards.

"Protection of information is built-in always, always, always," he said. "And it is one of our highest concerns."

Downing said the Highways and Public Works department is now looking at its own analysis as well as information collected from people outside the government and will then write recommendations for changes to the act.

Those recommendations will then go out for consultation before new legislation is introduced, he said.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.