The objectives of CANON are to:

  • Share and exchange information about internationally-evolving, legal, policy and technical standards on anonymization.
  • Develop a Canadian community of practice among stakeholders that rely on effective anonymization for the success of their organizations across the public and private sectors.
  • Educate the community at large about the effectiveness of alternative anonymization methods, and meaningfully contribute to discussions about risks and opportunities.
  • Identify emerging issues and challenges with anonymization, including re-identification risks, legal/policy constraints and ambiguities.
  • Advocate for balanced legislative and policy standards for anonymization that enable innovative and beneficial uses of data, while reasonably protecting against foreseeable privacy risks.


For the first 3 years of its existence, CANON will strive to achieve the following deliverables:

  • Create a consolidated resource of international legal/policy/technical standards for anonymization to serve as a go-to reference library for CANON members.
  • Develop a range of practical use cases as a means of developing more consistent use of terminology, demonstrating concrete successes and opportunities, and identifying major application challenges and definitional ambiguities under existing Canadian privacy laws.
  • Drawing from the work above, and building on existing international frameworks, develop an overarching framework of principles for demonstrating effective anonymization in Canada that is technologically and sectorally neutral, and is ultimately acceptable to Canadian privacy regulators.
  • Make group submissions and/or propose statutory amendments to be eventually considered as part of legislative reform initiatives, in due course and as needed.

Key success indicators

Should CANON succeed in fulfilling its objectives in the first 3-5 years, and should participating members endorse its outcomes, the following success indicators will begin to appear in whole or in part:

  • Organizations will have gained a better understanding of what anonymization means, and how it can be effectively achieved while preserving the utility of data.
  • Negotiations between controllers and processors will be facilitated based on a more streamlined and common understanding of terms and expectations.
  • Organizations will be in a better position to communicate with regulators and to ‘demonstrate accountability’ on demand.
  • Organizations will see a reduction in the level of privacy risks they face and an enhancement of their reputation.
  • Organizations will be more confident about their analytic use of data and using data to drive innovations in products and services.
  • Organizations will begin to gain increased trust and confidence of consumers / individuals.