Modifications to Bill 64 as Adoption in 2021 Remains Likely

The Québec bill proposing substantial amendments to an Act respecting the protection of personal information in the private sector (Bill 64) keeps making progress through the legislative process, as  the parliamentary committee recently published its report, including by proposing further changes to that piece of legislation.

The commission proposed several modifications to the initial version of the bill, including the following:

  1. Creating certain new rights for individuals as to their personal information;
  2. Requiring businesses to check, beforehand, that information exported outside Québec would be protected by laws (in the other jurisdiction at issue) that are “adequate”;
  3. Adding an obligation to inform individuals of the actual identity of third-party businesses and partners to which the organization may be disclosing information (as opposed to merely disclosing the types of third parties);
  4. Allowing business to delegate the roles of their Chief Privacy Officer (as required under the bill), to someone outside the company, if they so choose (for example, to allow outsourcing of that function if no one in the company has the requisite expertise);
  5. Forcing businesses that use information that has been depersonalized, to take reasonable precaution against eventual use of such information to “reidentify” the individuals at issue;
  6. Allowing use of personal information, even without consent, for purposes of delivering products or providing services to the individuals at issue;
  7. Allowing use of personal information, even without consent, in the context of purchase-type corporate transactions, but also other commercial operations such as mergers, financings, etc.;
  8. Expressly adding to the Québec statute the possibility of settling claims against businesses that violated the statute, by having them enter into undertakings with authorities, as is allowed under the Federal statute;
  9. Modifying the amount of certain penalties provided by Bill 64, being understood however that the maximum penalty of $25M (or 4% of annual turnover) remains untouched;
  10. Limiting what business must provide to individuals who ask to see “their” own data, by excluding therefrom data that was indirectly produced or induced from the initial data actually provided by each individual.

It is generally agreed Bill 64 is likely to complete the legislative process in 2021, as its formal adoption seems more than likely to follow before the end of the year, with fairly minimal modifications being made to it between now and then.

Canada Decriminalizes Sports Betting on Single Events

The Canadian government recently announced that Bill C-218 will come into effect on August 27, 2021. The bill at issue seeks to do away with the prohibition on betting on single sports events, in Canada.

By amending Section 207(4) of the Criminal Code, this change will allow Canadians to bet not only on a series of sports events or games, but also on a single one if they wish to do so. Apparently, this is something people want, as betting on several events is seen as more difficult and uncertain to allow you to win your wager.

Apparently, the current figure of sports betting in Canada is around 4 billion dollars par year, while illegal bets on sportive events may be around 10 billion dollars. With figures like this, it’s not too surprising various governments may want to cash-in on this.

Mind you, this change will not alter the fact that provinces are generally the ones regulating gambling, including betting on sportive events. Each province now has to choose whether it will allow this practice of betting on singe games or events, and how to go about regulating it. Individual gamblers will then be required to comply with whatever regulations scheme has been implemented by their province.

I’ll admit to now yet knowing what the province of Québec has in mind as to this, but I’ll bet (no pun intended) the huge market related to sports betting is likely to sway Loto-Québec and the Québec government in wanting a piece of the pie. I’d be surprised if the province doesn’t decide to take advantage of this new potential form of revenue.

Let’s get ready to rumble!

Québec Finally Does Away with Requirement to Register International Contests Here

On June 2, 2021, Québec amended the rules as to the Loi sur les loteries, les concours publicitaires et les appareils d’amusement, so as to exempt international contests (i.e. held from outside the province and also opened to foreigners outside of Canada) from being declared to Québec’s Régie des alcools des courses et des jeux (the “RACJ”).

This change will also exempt foreign businesses from having to pay fees to the RACJ that are (were) calculated on the value of prizes.

Until now, the sponsors or holders of international contests often excluded Québec residents from participating in promotional contests they held, so as to avoid the hassle of complying with the Québec statute at issue -and pay the related fees. From now on, provided the business is from outside Québec and holds a contest that is opened to residents of other countries, the RACJ will consider that it does not need to hear about it or otherwise deal with it.

It is hoped this may incite multinationals from refraining, in the future, to (almost systematically) exclude Québec residents from participating in their various promotional contests.