New Transparency Framework Helps Companies Inform Consumers about Privacy and Build Greater Loyalty

Are you looking for new ways to provide consumers with clear, user-friendly information about how you collect, use and share their personal information? Are you looking for ways to build more consumer trust and loyalty?

The CMA Guide to Transparency for Consumers will help you do both. Developed by the CMA’s Privacy and Data Committee – which includes some of Canada’s leading Chief Privacy Officers – the guide presents a new transparency framework built on three pillars:

  • Information is layered so that consumers can choose the level of detail that suits them, and they receive information in smaller amounts, as it is needed. To achieve this, the Guide outlines a range of approaches.
  • Information is tailored to the medium and the audience, such as a simple, succinct “privacy label” that can easily be read on a small screen, making it user-friendly and user-appropriate.
  • The approach reflects the shared roles of individuals, organizations and regulators.  

The Guide reflects consumers' perspectives on transparency, gleaned from two research studies commissioned by the CMA and released in 2018. 

  • Data Privacy – What the Canadian consumer really thinks, conducted by Foresight Factory in 10 countries (Argentina, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, UK and US) on behalf of the Global Alliance of Data-Driven Marketing Associations, found that 75% of Canadians are willing to share personal data in order to receive benefits, as long as the data is properly protected. Higher rated benefits include free products and services, greater value for money, improved service and tailored offers.

The information in the guide will help you tailor your privacy policy and practices to suit your sector, business model, consumers' preferences and products.  It will also help you respond to new Guidelines for Meaningful Consent, issued by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, which came into effect on January 1, 2019.

Advances in technology have created some challenges around obtaining meaningful consent, including the wide use of devices with small screens, the length and complexity of today’s privacy policies, and the speed with which consumers interact with content and technology. However, technology has also solved many problems and has led to conveniences that consumers have embraced.

Emerging technologies (e.g. better encryption, blockchain) are significantly improving our capacity to protect personal information.

Organizations that adopt practices contained in the CMA Guide to Transparency for Consumers will instill more trust and loyalty in current and future customers because their customers will be better informed and have more choice and control.

Sara Clodman is Vice-President, Public Affairs and Thought Leadership, Canadian Marketing Association

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