Posted Thursday May 14, 2020


York University's new program addresses information privacy labour shortage intensified by pandemic

In the accelerated Certificate in Information Privacy, students will gain fundamental knowledge in information principles, operational methods and emerging technologies that define privacy practice today.

This September, the York University School of Continuing Studies is launching their new Certificate in Information Privacy to address the critical skills gap in this vital field, which, during the COVID-19 pandemic, has become more pronounced.

To combat the spread of the virus, organizations have had to collect, use and disclose sensitive data, such as public health information. While there was already a significant shortage of information privacy professionals prior to the COVID-19 crisis, now more than ever, organizations need to employ personnel who can assess, implement and audit privacy policies to ensure personal data is collected and used ethically and legally.

"The COVID-19 crisis has shone a spotlight on the significant role data can play in initiatives which advance the public good, and on the critical importance of building trust in those initiatives through the protection of privacy," explains Vance Lockton, Manager Digital Governance at Waterfront Toronto, Consultant to the Canadian Anonymization Network (CANON) and Certificate in Information Privacy Advisory Council Member. "The York School of Continuing Studies' Certificate in Information Privacy will help learners understand how to meet both of those goals - responsibly leveraging data in a privacy-protective manner."

If governments ask businesses to track individuals' cellphones, monitor travel history, collect payment data, and other personal information, in order to determine the success of social distancing measures and curb the spread of the virus – can that be done in a way that maintains client confidence and employee privacy? What new policies and procedures will organizations implement now that sensitive customer information is in the homes of employees who are working remotely? These are the kinds of questions the Certificate in Information Privacy will be able to answer with competence and confidence.

"Our programs at the York University School of Continuing Studies are all aligned with jobs that were in high demand before the pandemic and will continue to be in demand after," explains Tracey Taylor-O'Reilly, Assistant Vice-President, Continuing Studies. "Although Canadians are facing high unemployment due to COVID-19, the demand for skilled workers in fields such as Information Privacy isn't going away."

In the accelerated Certificate in Information Privacy, students will gain fundamental knowledge in information principles, operational methods and emerging technologies that define privacy practice today. The program will also allow professionals in fields such as marketing, human resources, and information technology to upskill and to stay smart on privacy best practices. This skill set will allow graduates to aid an organization in navigating their privacy obligations during this uncertain, ever-changing time.

The Certificate in Information Privacy is created in consultation with top information privacy subject matter experts and thought leaders, so students will graduate with a skill set that aligns with employers' expectations and needs. The program's part-time, online, accelerated delivery allows students to graduate faster and begin their search for a job in this field in only six months. Students will also engage in work-integrated learning opportunities, using industry-standard tools and methods, such as a Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA).

Alongside the Certificate in Information Privacy, the School will also be launching three other programs in emerging, in-demand fields this fall. They include a Certificate in People Analytics, a Certificate in Blockchain Development and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Back-End and Blockchain Development.

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