Perceptions of Canadians and their Data: Canadians want more control over their data

As the digital landscape continues to evolve at a faster pace than we have ever seen, the importance of understanding public sentiment towards data sharing and privacy cannot be overstated. The Digital Governance Council (DGC), in collaboration with Hill & Knowlton, conducted a comprehensive survey of 1500 participants in January 2024 to delve into the minds of Canadians and unravel their perceptions, concerns, and willingness to share personal data. The findings are not only eye-opening but also shed light on the intricate relationship between individuals, organizations, and the digital data realm. 

The collection and utilization of employee data have become integral components of organizational operations. However, concerns surrounding data privacy, security, and ethical usage have also heightened. As a result, there is a pressing need for clear guidelines and standards to ensure responsible management of such data.

Executive Highlights: A Glimpse into the Canadian Psyche around data 

The survey revealed that 53% of Canadians rated a high level of knowledge about protecting personal data, with self-rated knowledge increasing by generation. Furthermore, 71% expressed high levels of concern about the privacy and security of their personal data, with boomers being the most concerned at 80% and Gen Z the least at 53%. 

The findings also highlighted a sense of powerlessness among Canadians regarding how organizations use and profit from their information. A significant portion, between a third and 4 in 10 respondents, expressed having “no control whatsoever” over various aspects of data sharing and privacy.
graph on data sharing
The study also explored Canadians’ willingness to share data in various scenarios. Emergency response scenarios garnered the highest willingness at 75%, followed by health care scenarios at 63%. On the other hand, sharing of purchases scenarios had the lowest willingness at 35%. 
Willingness to Share Data Graph
The survey revealed that Canadians are cynical about who benefits the most from data sharing practices in Canada. Overwhelmingly, Canadians feel that businesses (73%) reap the lion’s share of benefits, compared to governments (23%) or citizens themselves (4%). 

Bar graph
The survey also highlighted the trust dynamics in data sharing, with social media companies, online retailers, tech companies, and telecom companies being the least trusted organizations in Canada. In contrast, banks were the most trusted for personal data protection at 51%, followed by governments at 38%. 
Trust in Orgs Chart

Unlock the Full Value of the Survey 

The insights extracted from this survey are an invaluable tool for businesses, policymakers, and organizations seeking to understand and navigate the complex terrain of data sharing and privacy. To unlock the full value of the survey and gain access to regional and demographic perspectives, we are offering the opportunity to purchase the complete results for all non-members.  

Purchasing the survey results grants non-members access to a wealth of in-depth insights into Canadians’ perceptions, concerns, and willingness to share personal data. The comprehensive data encompasses detailed findings on Canadians’ level of knowledge and concern, their openness to data sharing across various scenarios, and their perspectives on the primary beneficiaries of data sharing practices. Acquiring the full survey allows for a deep dive into the intricate details of Canadians’ attitudes towards data sharing and privacy, offering a nuanced understanding of diverse perspectives across different age groups, genders, income brackets, and educational backgrounds. This enables the data to be filtered on the backend, providing a customized view tailored to specific criteria. 

To purchase the full survey and gain access to a wealth of insights, including regional perspectives and demographic breakdowns, please click here 

Is your organization already a Digital Governance Council member? Contact us at to get complimentary full access to the results. 


Canadians Data and the future  

The DGC serves as a cornerstone for Canada’s digital economy, aiming to enhance confidence in the management and architecture of digital technologies through its comprehensive initiatives and collaborations like this one. It has a pivotal role in convening members to deliberate and develop digital technology governance standards and is instrumental in promoting the responsible use of personal data and addressing governance gaps.   

This survey is just one of the tools that DGC offers. It provides a compelling glimpse into the intricate dynamics of data sharing and privacy in Canada. The findings not only offer a snapshot of public sentiment but also serve as a valuable resource for those seeking to navigate the evolving landscape of digital governance and privacy. 

For more information for future collaborations, please reach out to us at  


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