Press Release

New survey shows that Canadians want greater sovereignty over their personal data

Press Release
Trusted Cloud

A new survey* commissioned by cloud service provider OVHcloud and conducted by Leger show that Canadians are becoming increasingly attentive to the way their personal data is handled, and most of them are opposed to it being stored outside of Canada.

With the explosion of digital services and the growing importance of cloud solutions, Canadians were asked if they felt in control of their personal data. 8 out of 10 Canadians responded that they are concerned about its handling, especially when the data is stored predominantly by a handful of Web giants.

The survey also found that Canadians feel that the lack of targeted, standardized Canadian legislation governing the protection of personal information makes the concept of digital sovereignty – the degree of authority that a user has over her/his data and its processing – difficult to understand for them.

Canadians want control of their data

On the question of storage, the verdict of Canadians is clear: 78% of them refuse to have their data hosted outside of Canada. In the age of cloud computing, the question of data residency (where it is located and whether it is subject to be transferred internationally) gives rise to debate. Many organizations overestimate their cloud provider’s commitment to data sovereignty. While it is logical to expect a provider to respect the regulatory framework of the country where it is located, it must first and foremost prove that it is immune from extraterritorial legislation.

More than two-thirds of Canadian respondents feel constrained to use the services of the U.S. Web giants who have been able to implement their technologies and their rules, at the risk of locking users into an ecosystem of proprietary solutions (known as vendor lock-in). In turn, alternative models have emerged in recent years that rely on multi-cloud and the principle of interoperability between several solutions based on technological standards.

Greater awareness and transparency from Canadian government needed

In recent months, regulatory frameworks in Canada defining the protection of personal information have been strengthened. However, when asked about the latest privacy legislation, only 47% of Canadians say they trust the government. The delay in adopting the new federal privacy bill C-11 – titled the Digital Charter Implementation Act – may have something to do with this mistrust. Conversely, the adoption of Bill 64** in Quebec last fall seems to have had a positive effect, with 64% of Quebecers believing that their government is heading in the right direction to secure citizens' personal data.

Inspired by the European regulatory framework, Bill 64 proposes to significantly raise the level of requirements expected from organizations in terms of transparency and consent. One of the key measures of Bill 64 is aimed at the supervision of cross-border data transfers, making it mandatory to assess privacy risks in the event of data transfers outside Quebec. 

However, despite a convergence of views between Canada and Europe on the regulatory front, Canadians seem to lack a reference point: twice as many of them would rather align Canadian legislation closer to an American model than to the European model. Tellingly, 50% of Canadians simply do not know how to define the Canadian regulatory model.

“There is a clear opportunity here for the government to raise more awareness about this new legislative framework emerging in Canada, together with cloud providers. Our shared responsibility is to guarantee citizens the level of protection they deserve, within a transparent and sovereign technological environment" said Estelle Azemard, VP Americas at OVHcloud.

*Léger survey for OVHcloud, "Canadians and digital sovereignty", December 2021
**Bill 64, An Act to modernize legislative provisions as regards the protection of personal information, passed on September 21, 2021


Digital sovereignty: what do Canadians think?


About OVHcloud

With a strong presence in Canada since 2011, OVHcloud is a global player and Europe’s leading cloud provider operating over 400,000 servers within 33 data centres across four continents. For 22 years, the Group has relied on an integrated model that provides complete control of its value chain: from the design of its servers to the construction and management of its data centres, including the orchestration of its fiber-optic network. This unique approach allows it to independently cover all the uses of its 1.6 million customers in more than 140 countries. OVHcloud now offers latest generation solutions combining performance, price predictability and total sovereignty over their data to support their growth in complete freedom.

About Léger

Leger is the largest Canadian-owned market research and analytics company, with more than 600 employees in eight Canadian and US offices. Leger has been working with prestigious clients since 1986, including The City of Calgary, Brookfield Properties, L’Oreal, Nespresso, IKEA, Scientific Games, Pfizer, GSK, and more.

Recently, Leger presented the most accurate polling results for the 2021 Canadian federal election (including the most accurate results in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia) and the 2019 Canadian federal election. This accuracy is due to the quality of the company’s LEO panel and its employees’ expertise.

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