NAFTA Renegotiation will affect information privacy, access to information, and data protection compliance in Canada

At the instigation of the US government, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is about to be renegotiated. NAFTA came into force in 1994 — before computers, smart phones, social media, and advanced analytics were in common usage — and was intended as a vehicle to minimize trade barriers between Canada, Mexico and the United States.

In July 2017, the United States Trade Representative released a Summary of Objectives for the NAFTA Renegotiation which sets out the US objectives — and makes clear that the renegotiation will affect how, where, and by whom information may (and may not) be processed, stored and managed. The list of objectives indicates that the US seeks to reduce “barriers to digital trade” and to:

Establish rules to ensure that NAFTA countries do not impose measures that restrict crossborder data flows and do not require the use or installation of local computing facilities.

The Canadian government will be represented in the negotiations by a “NAFTA Council” that it created, and which is composed of individuals who have impressive track records in industry and the political sphere. The Council is missing key perspectives and representation from the privacy and access profession, and from civil society.

As a voice for privacy and access in Canada that speaks on behalf of its members and other concerned Canadians, PACC seeks input about the impact that proposed NAFTA changes could have on the ability of Canada’s access, privacy, data governance and compliance professionals to fulfill their roles and responsibilities.

This is your opportunity to have your voice heard. Complete the short survey by August 31, 2017 so that we can integrate the results into a single comprehensive report to Government. (Survey site:

Your employment or other associations could hamper your freedom to express personal or unpopular views. As an independent organization, PACC is at liberty to convey the views of its members and others.

The survey asks for very basic demographic information, but does not (and will not) seek to identify respondents.

For a copy of the survey results, email NAFTA_at_pacc-ccap_dot_ca with appropriate contact information.