On February 15, 2022 the Canadian Marketing Association (CMA) released its paper "Privacy Law Pitfalls: Lessons Learned from the European Union", a critical analysis of the EU's experience with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The 33 page document refers to results and insights from over 30 third-party research reports and commentaries, including Phase 5's State of SMB 2021 Study.
The CMA has published its perspective in anticipation of the Canadian government introducing new legislation and/or updates to private sector privacy law this spring which could replace the current Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). PIPEDA has been considered the "global gold standard for privacy protection" for more than 10 years, and times have indeed changed in the last decade.
However, the CMA argues that it will be critical to the health of business to balance protective measures with the needs of organizations competing in an increasingly digital economy. As CMA President and CEO John Wiltshire says, "Canada has the opportunity to learn from the EU experience, and to once again be a global leader with legislation that protects consumer privacy while preserving the enormous social and economic value of data to Canadians."
Among the leading concerns expressed by the CMA is the potentially disproportionate impact to small & medium sized businesses who are already struggling to recover and thrive in a post-pandemic world. Findings from Phase 5's study help illustrate the importance to SMBs of leveraging consumer data to stay connected to their customers in a meaningful way, enabling them to build trust and loyalty, and ultimately compete. The resources required to adapt and keep pace with complicated legal changes could be economically unfeasible to many a small business, resulting in a decline of this significant part of the Canadian economy.