Privacy is a Global Issue


The world is getting smaller. This oft-used statement is made in relation to the impact of technology on our lives from a global perspective. It is supposed to signify the advances that have been made that allow us to have ‘real-time’ communications with each other at any time, and from almost anywhere in the world. If you’re in Canada, and have the right access codes, you can send a text message to someone in India and expect to have an almost immediate response. You can order your living room furniture directly from a Swedish manufacturer without leaving your house and enjoying the in-store meatballs. All of this can be done on a computer with a few clicks.

It goes without saying that the world is as big as it ever was. What has changed is our ability to access and share information on a global stage. It is from this perspective that we begin to see how our access to information is being shaped and directed by differing views on data protection and privacy.

In May of 2018, the European Union implemented the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This legislation imposes accountability and responsibility on organizations that do business around the world, with particular focus on the protection of private information based on electronic and personal data.

This legislation has significant implications on Canadian businesses as it requires proactive measures to be put into place when there is a potential privacy data breach.

Click here to read about mandatory data breach reporting for Canadian companies.

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has provided a guide that outlines eight critical elements that the human resources function must have in place to be in compliance with the legislation.

Click here to read the SHRM article.

As noted in both articles, the GDPR impacts strategic international human resources management directly. If the Human Resources function was not actively engaged in data protection prior to the implementation of the GDPR, the legislation changes that business-level approach as well. It is the role of the Human Resources function to ensure that employee data protection rights, organizational data accountability structures, and data breach reporting requirements are all prioritized.

Once again, we see the ever-increasing need for a pro-active and visible Human Resources presence that must find its place on the shrinking global stage.


Discussion Questions:

  1. From an HR perspective, what constitutes a data breach?
  2. How will the European privacy legislation impact global businesses and the Human Resources function?
  3. What should Canadian multi-national companies put into place to ensure the privacy and protection of employee data?
  4. What are possible remedies for privacy or data breaches that happen outside of Canadian business jurisdictions?

The UK’s Scarlet Letter of Wage Discrimination

Workplace Employment Inequity is a Worldwide Problem.

All things strive to achieve balance; including, wages, and supply and demand. These are terms we use all the time in HR and in the business world.

HR planning is all about sustaining equilibrium with your employees – you want the right number, at the right price, with the right skills. HR strives for balance and to treat all individuals fairly and equally.  Unfortunately, research from all over the developed world, is showing that we treat half our employees unfairly!

Click here to read the article.

Women in Canada make 73% on the dollar, when compare to their male counter parts.  This statistic does not following the basic HR principles of consistency or fairness.

The United Kingdom (UK) is trying to address income inequality between genders in the workplace through legislation.  All companies, with over 250 employees, will have to publish their gender pay gaps.  Public shaming, the proverbial scarlet letter to announce and embarrass the wrongdoer, is hoped to be a effective strategy to achieve balance.  The UK’s Prime Minster, David Cameron, stated:

“[It] will cast sunlight on the discrepancies and create the pressure we need for change, driving women’s wages up.”

This may or may not be work as planned, in fact, it could backfire and start driving male wages down! Oh well, as least we will have equality…

Wage inequality between the genders is a complex problem that touches on our economy, our cultural, and our sociological mores and norms.  It is too bad that HR and organizations cannot solve this problem without resulting to public shamming.

Discussion Questions:

  1. You are the new Director of HR, and have conducted a wage analysis with results demonstrating gender inequality issues. What steps would you take to correct this imbalance?
  2. Research the statistical evidence of wage inequality in your province. What have you discovered?  How does your province compare to other provinces in Canada, the US, around the world?