Author ORCID Identifier

Jonathon Penney: 0000-0001-9570-0146

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Source Publication

González, G., Van Brakel, R., & De Hert, P. (Eds.). (2022). Research Handbook on Privacy and Data Protection Law. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.


An overemphasis on technology among Canadian privacy scholars has neglected other important historical factors in the development of privacy law. The chapter aims to help fill that void through a case study examining how a broader Post War paradigm, centred on freedom of information, impacted on Canada's most important early privacy laws, including Canada's first privacy law - Part VI of the Canadian Human Rights Act (1977); the federal Privacy Act (1983); and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA)(2000). The case study suggests that despite wider concerns about privacy when each law was enacted, those concerns were often overshadowed by a focus on freedom of information and related ideas and norms consistent with broader international paradigm in those same years. Through this case study, this chapter also offers insights as to Canada's overall privacy and data protection regulatory scheme and its development over time.