Politics

Privacy committee set to probe federal health agency’s use of mobility data

A day after the House FINANCE committee unanimously agreed to launch a wide-ranging investigation into the root causes — and consequences — of inflation, their colleagues on the ACCESS TO INFORMATION, PRIVACY AND ETHICS committee are set to assemble via webcam to discuss whether to proceed with a Conservative-initiated bid to probe the Public Health Agency of Canada’s use of mobile location data as part of its pandemic tracking protocols. (11 AM)

The mid-recess meet-up — which was triggered by a written request to the chair backed by both the Conservatives and the Bloc Québécois — comes just days after a spokesperson for federal privacy commissioner Daniel Therrien confirmed that, after receiving “multiple complaints about the program,” the office is “now looking into how PHAC assured the data could not be used to track individuals,” Global News reported yesterday.

While the committee still has to sign off on the proposed study, it seems all but certain to proceed, as all three opposition parties are expected to support the motion if it goes to a vote during today’s session — as, indeed, could the four Liberal members as well, as was the case at the finance committee yesterday.

Meanwhile, with the steady uptick in COVID case counts across the country ushering in a return to more stringent social distancing protocols, three Team Trudeau front benchers will fire up their respective webcams to hit the virtual circuit today.

First up: Justice Minister David Lametti, who, as per his office, will join Caring Hearts Counselling education director Dwayne Yasinowski to share the details of new federal funding to support families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. (9 AM)

Later this morning, Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson will hop on a Zoom call with representatives from the International Energy Agency for the launch of an “in-depth review of Canada’s energy policies.” (12 PM)

Finally, Defence Minister Anita Anand will team up with Helena Jaczek, who now serves as cabinet lead for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, as well as their caucus colleagues Valerie Bradford, Jenna Suds and Shafqat Ali to deliver what the advisory is billing as an “important announcement to … support southern Ontario’s manufacturing sector.” (1 PM)

As for the prime minister, he’s once again set to spend the day in “private meetings,” according to his daily itinerary, including a call with African Union Commission for the Horn of Africa high representative Olusegun Obasanjo.

IN THE CHAMBER

Regular parliamentary proceedings are scheduled to resume on Jan. 31.

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Committee highlights courtesy of our friends at iPoliticsINTEL.

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