Case Study — College of Patent Agents and Trademark Agents 

As a new federally established regulator responsible for regulating patent and trademark agents in Canada, we knew protecting privacy rights of agents, staff and others would be of paramount importance. As we planned for the governance, operations and systems needed to establish and run the College we realized we needed expert help to navigate a sea of complex privacy laws, other compliance obligations, and how we ensured the collection and use of personal information aligned with Privacy Act requirements. As a new organization, this was uncharted territory for us. We sought the services of Mara Consulting to guide the College through this challenge by completing a privacy impact assessment (PIA) on our new regulatory information system and developing a privacy management program to define our approach to meeting privacy obligations and address risks that might arise. 

In completing the PIA, Mara worked closely with our vendors and staff to understand our business processes, systems and legislation (CPATA Act). They then applied the requirements of privacy laws, policies and principles in the context of CPATA, using a privacy by design’ approach. Mara’s PIA report included thoughtful strategies for addressing privacy risks and compliance obligations that recognized the balance between protecting privacy while enabling a frictionless user experience for agents and CPATA staff.

In creating our privacy management program, Mara developed a comprehensive suite of highly customized privacy policies and supporting tools to demonstrate the College’s compliance with federal obligations. This included an overarching Privacy Policy, a Privacy Statement for our website, and a Privacy Breach protocol. Each document was developed to hold the College to the highest privacy standard while considering our size and the nature of personal information under our control. To help support us understand our responsibilities and make sure foundational privacy work was translated and operationalized, Mara completed virtual privacy training for College staff, committee, and board members.

Thanks to Mara’s experience and expertise, we feel confident the College is meeting its privacy obligations and is equipped to proactively manage privacy risks and issues. Mara is a trusted partner. We will continue to work with them to evolve our processes and systems.