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Corporate Knights to present its 2014 Award of Distinction to information access and privacy crusader Dr. Ann Cavoukian

Wednesday, June 4th 2014 9:07:46am

(Toronto, June 4, 2014) - Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner Dr. Ann Cavoukian is the 2014 recipient of Corporate Knights’ annual Award of Distinction, which recognizes leaders in Canadian society who have had a catalytic impact on advancing a more positive relationship between business, government and sustainable development.

Cavoukian, who is nearing the end of her unprecedented third five-year term as Commissioner, isn’t known for backing down when the fight is in the public interest, whether that means protecting the personal privacy of citizens or assuring access to information that is crucial to holding governments accountable. Blocking the retroactive disclosure of private adoption records and leading an investigation into the deletion of emails relating to Ontario’s cancelled gas plants are among her long list of high-profile wins.

But Cavoukian is not just a public watchdog. She has gone beyond the call of duty by proactively engaging and educating the business community about the benefits of building privacy into products, services and operational processes at the very earliest stages of development. She calls this Privacy by Design, and its foundational principles - translated into 36 languages - have become a global standard.

“Few privacy commissioners have succeeded in placing privacy in the public eye as effectively as Ann,” said professor Michael Geist, Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-Commerce Law at the University of Ottawa. “She consistently identified cutting edge issues such as lawful access or global surveillance and recognized the need for public education and debate. In doing so, her office achieved prominence far beyond what is typical for a provincial privacy commissioner.”

Though she is leaving her post as commissioner at the end of June, Cavoukian will not be resting on her laurels. In July she begins a new chapter in her career as executive director of the new Institute of Privacy and Big Data at Toronto’s Ryerson University. “It is with a great sigh of relief that Cavoukian will continue to champion our personal privacy in her new role at Ryerson, particularly in this highly networked, post-Snowden world,” said Tyler Hamilton, editor-in-chief of Corporate Knights.

“While some have thrown in the towel and declared our personal privacy dead, Cavoukian is very much intent on keeping it alive. For that we owe her our collective gratitude,” Hamilton added.

Cavoukian will be presented her award this evening at Corporate Knights’ Best 50 Gala Dinner at Toronto’s Casa Loma. She joins a distinguished group of past Award of Distinction recipients, including the Rt. Hon. Paul Martin, Maurice Strong, Hon. Danny Williams, Avrim Lazar, Jim MacNeill, and Dr. Frank Frantisak. Read a profile of Cavoukian in the Summer 2014 issue of Corporate Knights or online at www.corporateknights.com.

Founded in 2002, Corporate Knights Inc. is a Toronto-based media, research and financial products company focused on clean capitalism.