Manitoba NDP Introduces Bill to Set Framework for Digital Contact Tracing Advisory Council

May 13, 2020

Treaty 1 Territory, Winnipeg, MB – NDP Leader and MLA Wab Kinew introduced a bill in the House today which would take the first step to ensure civil liberties and privacy rights are considered if the province implements digital data collection to trace COVID-19 infections and prevent further spread of the virus.

The bill would establish a Digital Contact Tracing Advisory Council to provide information, advice and recommendations to the minister about the ethical, social, scientific and economic impacts of using data collected from mobile phones, social networks and other networking technologies during a pandemic to trace potential infections among communities.

“Any collection of Manitobans’ personal data must be done ethically and responsibly. It is important to balance public health measures with strong protections for civil liberties, privacy rights and the needs of communities. Government must be committed to protecting those core
values,” Kinew said. “Our bill establishes a clear framework, in the form of an advisory council, that will ensure all public health efforts are balanced with respect for civil liberties."

The Digital Contact Tracing Advisory Council would consist of at least nine persons, appointed by the minister, who are experts in the fields of ethics, technology, science, economics and other relevant fields, or who represent sociocultural communities within the province. These experts would meet quarterly, at minimum, and sit for a term of three years.

The Official Opposition remains committed to supporting workers and families, and to the efforts of government to fight COVID-19.