Privacy commissioner hopes to protect personal info, but ease access for citizens

In his annual report, Saskatchewan Privacy Commissioner Ron Kruzeniski says he's focusing on pushing for more modern legislation in light of the digital age, and making it easier for the public to gain access to information.  

Ron Kruzeniski says more modern legislation needed in the digital age

Ron Kruzeniski, Saskatchewan's privacy commissioner, speaks with media after his annual report was released on Thursday. (Cory Herperger/CBC)

Saskatchewan's privacy commissioner has released his annual report, which calls for more modern legislation in the digital age, and making it easier for the public to gain access to information.  

One way Ron Kruzeniski plans on improving access is waiving fees under $200 for access to information. Kruzeniski says the taxes citizens pay should cover that.

"It has always struck me that if the request results in fees that are less than $200, that should just be part of being a citizen of Saskatchewan," the commissioner said.

A big focus of the privacy commissioner's office continues to be health, especially with the legalization of cannabis. Kruzeniski says personal information collected by dispensaries should be protected. 

"It does strike us that if they're collecting information about your purchases of marijuana, then at least they have the obligation to safeguard that information, protect it," he said.

The office also keeps track of recommendations it's made and whether they have been implemented. Nearly a third of non- or partial-compliance reports are about health. 

In one example, the commissioner's office compiled a report on multiple doctors who were looking into the medical files of some victims of the Humboldt Broncos bus tragedy. 

One of the recommendations was that the doctors accused be audited monthly. However, that recommendation wasn't implemented because the commissioner does not have the power to enforce such suggestions, only make them.

The people and organizations Kruzeniski makes recommendations to can respond to his office and tell him which of the suggestions they'll implement and which they won't.

He said he gets more upset when people do not respond at all. "At that point, they're starting to flout or ignore the legislation," he said.

With files from Alex Soloducha


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