Being a modern and effective regulator also means being well-measured and balanced in our interventions and taking a risk-based approach to our oversight role. Our role is not just to make orders and wield fines and penalties when problems occur but to help organizations learn from their mistakes and prevent them from recurring. This practical and proportionate approach to our regulatory role was exemplified in our review of a regional hospital’s high number of privacy breaches due to misdirected faxes, our collaborative efforts with a government ministry to address their unique freedom of information challenges and our response to a serious cyberattack at a regional municipality.
To realize our vision of a modern and effective regulator, the IPC is committed to working toward real-world outcomes that benefit Ontarians. Our four strategic priorities guide our proactive work and help keep us focused on the most relevant issues to Ontarians and in areas where we can have the greatest positive impact. Providing thought leadership and having influence in these novel and emerging areas requires bringing many great minds together and hearing from a plurality of external voices.
To help us do this, the IPC convened a permanent Strategic Advisory Council, composed of twenty-five privacy and access experts across all sectors we regulate. To ensure the voices of young people are also at the table, we recruited a new Youth Advisory Council to address the unique needs of Ontario’s children and youth. In September 2022, we welcomed the IPC’s first Scholar-in-Residence, Professor Teresa Scassa, Canada Research Chair in Information Law and Policy, at the University of Ottawa. This new program provides a unique opportunity for thought leaders like Professor Scassa to apply their extensive academic knowledge and expertise to concrete policy development in key priority areas.
To be a modern and effective regulator, we must also strive to meet the highest standards Ontarians expect of us. With that objective in mind, we have worked extensively over the past year to provide digitally-friendly services to Ontarians while improving their user experience when interacting with our office. We have undertaken a review of our tribunal processes and procedures and developed a concrete plan to enhance our capacity to provide timely resolution to appeals and complaints, render plain-language decisions, and develop practical and actionable guidance by drawing on lessons learned from individual cases for the benefit of others.
Finally, in our journey to becoming a modern and effective regulator, we have introduced innovations into our own workplace. We’re modernizing how we work and using online collaborative tools to enhance employee engagement as part of our new reality of hybrid work. We have ensured best practices in fiscal management, comptrollership, and internal governance to strengthen our accountability to the people we serve.
As we reflect on the past year, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to my staff. Their in-depth knowledge, hard work and dedication have been instrumental in achieving our goals and advancing our mission.
Our work in 2022 resulted in noteworthy advancements for access and privacy rights in Ontario. This report provides an overview of our activities and accomplishments over the past year, demonstrating our commitment to protect and promote the privacy and access rights of Ontarians.