Skip to main content
Dr. Ann Cavoukian

Dr. Ann Cavoukian

Title:

Executive Director of the Privacy and Big Data Institute

Office:

VIC-712

Telephone:

416-979-5000 x3138

Email Address:

ann.cavoukian@ryerson.ca

Biography:

Appointed as the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, Canada in 1997, Dr. Ann Cavoukian served for an unprecedented three terms as Commissioner. In that time, she elevated the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner from a novice regulatory body to a first-class agency, known around the world for its cutting edge innovation and leadership. Dr. Cavoukian is best known for her creation of Privacy by Design – unanimously adopted as an international framework for privacy and data protection in 2010; now translated into 38 languages.

As of July 1, 2014, she began a new position at Ryerson University as the Executive Director of the Privacy and Big Data Institute – Where Big Data meets Big Privacy.

Commissioner by Design

Former Commissioner, Dr. Ann Cavoukian – Ontario's longest serving Information and Privacy Commissioner

Initially appointed Commissioner in 1997, Dr. Ann Cavoukian served for an unprecedented three terms. In that time, she elevated the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC) from a novice regulatory body to a first-class agency, known around the world for its cutting edge innovation and leadership.

Dr. Cavoukian began her career in the early 1980s, working as the head of the Research Services Department at the Office of the Attorney General of Ontario. At that time, the Honourable Justice Sidney Linden was serving as Ontario's first Public Complaints Commissioner, conducting independent reviews of complaints against the police. When he was subsequently appointed Ontario's first Information and Privacy Commissioner in 1987, he asked Ann to join him as the first Director of Compliance, overseeing the investigative side of the IPC. A decade later she received her first appointment as Commissioner.

Now recognized as one of the leading privacy experts in the world, Dr. Cavoukian is an avowed believer in the role that technology can play in protecting privacy. Her ground-breaking 1995 paper, Privacy-Enhancing Technologies: The Path to Anonymity, laid the foundation for her magnum opus, Privacy by Design (PbD) – which is now recognized as the world's gold standard in privacy protection.

Building upon PbD, Dr. Cavoukian also developed Access by Design to demonstrate the vital role access to information plays in our democratic society. One of Dr. Cavoukian's favourite quotes with regards to freedom of information came from former Ontario Attorney General, the Honourable Ian Scott, who once said, "We do not, and never will, accept the proposition that the business of the public is none of the public's business." She often liked to tell her audience that the government must always be reminded that it is there at the pleasure of the governed, and that access to government information is not a privilege, but an essential right that is vital to a healthy and functioning democracy.

Throughout her tenure as Commissioner, Dr. Cavoukian has delivered keynotes at countless forums and conferences around the world, published hundreds of white papers, issued thousands of Orders and authored two ground-breaking books on privacy – Who Knows: Safeguarding Your Privacy in a Networked World, in 1997, and The Privacy Payoff: How Successful Businesses Build Customer Trust, in 2002. She also received numerous awards as Commissioner, the latest being the 2014 Corporate Knights Award of Distinction, and sits on a number of boards and advisory councils.

In 2014, Dr. Cavoukian ended her tenure as Commissioner after two decades of a long road marked with many challenges and victories. She has left behind a legacy of excellence that has been earned through a lifetime of hard work. If anything, her efforts have always been to advance a noble cause – to continually strive for the pursuit of open, transparent government and the protection of our privacy – which lies at the very heart of our freedom and liberty.

AWARDS & COMMENDATIONS

Commendation letter from Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario
Kathleen Wynne Commendation Letter

Commendation letter from Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario

Public Affairs Association of Canada - Award of Distinction
PAAC Award

2014 Award of Distinction presented to Dr. Ann Cavoukian from the Public Affairs Association of Canada

University of Alberta - Information Access and Protection of Privacy Award
University of Alberta Award

Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner
Outstanding Leadership in the Field of Privacy Protection
2011 Information Access and Protection of Privacy Award
University of Alberta Faculty of Extension

The Privacy by Design Challenge
Data Privacy Day Award

Data Privacy Day - The Privacy by Design Challenge
Jan 28, 2008

The Law and Business Student Association - First Speaker Inaugural Seminar Series
LBSA Award

The Law and Business Student Association
First Speaker Inaugural Seminar Series
November 17, 2009

8th European Identify & Cloud Conference - European Identity & Cloud Award 2014
EPIC 2014 Award

European Identity & Cloud Award 2014
8th European Identify & Cloud Conference

“The reason for awarding  you in the lifetime achievement sector is, that your Privacy by Design concept is a profound milestone on our long journey to a human-centered digital age. We explicitly acknowledge the fact, that the first Privacy Commissioner to be honored with the European Identity & Cloud Lifetime Achievement Award, will not be from Europe. We simply do not have a Privacy Commissioner being comparably influential like you have been.”
Corporate Knights - Award of Distinction
Corporate Knights Award

Corporate Knights - Award of Distinction
June 4, 2014

NAID Canada
Naid Canada Award

NAID Canada - With Thanks

NAID Canada
NAID Canada

NAID Canada - With Appreciation
March 2006

Science and Information Conference 2014 - Keynote Speaker
SAI 2014 Award

Science and Information Conference 2014, London UK
Keynote Speaker

IEEE Toronto Section - 2010 Friend of the Section Award
IEEE Friend of the Toronto Section Award

IEEE Toronto Section
2010 Friend of the Section Award 
October 2, 2010

The University of Guelph - The Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws
Honourary Doctorate of Laws

The University of Guelph
The Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws