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Privacy experts are raising concerns about some of the guidance the Ontario government is offering to businesses on the verge of reopening under the next stage of the province’s COVID-19 recovery plan.

The framework outlining the next phase of reopening, set to take effect across much of the province on Friday, contains advice for certain businesses to collect patron’s contact information in a bid to help with contact tracing in the event of future outbreaks.

But legal experts say the government suggestion is both too broad to have a meaningful impact on public health and potentially too risky for businesses to adopt.

They say salons and other companies urged to collect contact information are not necessarily used to navigating the complexities of Ontario’s privacy laws and may simply opt to omit that step to avoid running afoul of the legislation or driving wary customers away.

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They also say the guidance is too general, omitting key details like the length of time contact information should be retained.

They’re urging the government to clarify such points, potentially following the lead of provinces like British Columbia that have provided more specifics in their advice to local businesses.


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