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In today’s rapidly evolving digital economy, individual privacy and the security of personal information have never been more important. High-profile breaches, heightened surveillance, increased access to data – each of these trends presents new and serious challenges for organizations and contributes to an increased demand for skilled privacy professionals.

Our Certificate in Privacy, Access, and Information Management is a cross-disciplinary program that prepares you to address the complexity of these issues. It has been designed by industry experts to help you acquire the knowledge and expertise to tackle challenges surrounding the privacy of, and access to, personal information. With a focus on privacy governance and regulatory frameworks, information systems, and emerging technologies, you will develop knowledge and skills in three key areas:

  • Privacy governance and policy
  • Information technology
  • 21st century soft skills: creativity, innovation, and critical thinking

What Will You Learn?

In this certificate program, you will learn how to:

  • leverage technology as the driving force for future policy issues
  • apply the principles of Privacy by Design – the industry gold standard for a proactive approach to privacy protection
  • communicate with experts across disciplines 
  • develop effective privacy and access frameworks that focus on technology, information systems, and current regulations 
  • apply your knowledge of best practices to addressing real-world privacy problems

Who Should Take This Certificate?

  • Recent degree graduates looking for an in-demand career specialization
  • Working professionals who want to either advance in their organization or change careers
  • Professionals who have recently been hired to work on privacy and access issues and who need training
  • Small business owners or entrepreneurs, especially in social media startups

Who Teaches the Courses?

The Certificate in Privacy, Access, and Information Management offers instruction by privacy experts with unparalleled work experience, including:

  • Dr. Ann Cavoukian, Former Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario
  • Anita Fineberg, LLB, CIPP/C, Barrister & Solicitor and President of Anita Fineberg & Associates Inc.
  • Howard Simkevitz, General Counsel and Privacy Officer at Ontario Institute for Cancer Research

Industry and Careers

A career wheel showing privacy officer, information & records management specialist, privacy analyst, data and trust officer, information privacy technologist, freedom of information coordinator, privacy and compliance manager, and access to information analyst

Privacy professionals are needed throughout the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), with the majority of job opportunities in the public sector – specifically, municipal, provincial, and federal government offices. Within Canada and internationally, employer demand for privacy professionals continues to grow in the health sector (hospitals), and throughout the private sector, including banks and other financial institutions, retailers, and technology companies of all sizes.

A career in privacy is, therefore, full of opportunities. Jobs are generally focused in three main areas: information management, privacy protection (policy, legal, and strategic), and information security. Our career wheel demonstrates a sample of the privacy-related career areas that you may consider pursuing.

What Are the Benefits to My Employer If I Take the Certificate?

We have received inquiries about the Certificate in Privacy, Access, and Information Management from individuals currently responsible for managing their organization’s privacy and access issues – they may be recent hires or assigned these responsibilities because “someone has to do it”. They recognize that the program will provide them with the necessary training to do their job.

If this situation applies to you and you are wondering if you should ask your employer to cover some or all of the costs for the certificate program, consider presenting your employer with a business case that answers the following questions:

What are the benefits to your employer?

  • The program not only offers substantive privacy training but also provides hands-on, practical skills that students can immediately use when performing their job responsibilities
  • The courses offered allow a focus on the particular industry of the employer (for example, government, health, and technology)
  • The courses provide employees with knowledge about the employer’s non-core, business support operations (for example, information management, IT infrastructure, and human resources)
  • Employees will serve as an important in-house resource for the employer
  • Trained employees with knowledge and skills in privacy, access, and information management are a critical component of the employer’s ability to manage regulatory, reputational, and legal risk

What are the benefits to the employee?

  • The program improves your development and educational goals
  • Additional training keeps you up to date with industry trends, such as new privacy and access regulations, and approaches to risk management
  • Training enables you to complete your tasks faster
  • You can pass on your new skills to your team and others in the organization
  • You can accept more responsibility and advance in the organization
  • You will have the opportunity to learn how other organizations are managing the same issues related to privacy, access, and information management

What is the return on investment (ROI) for your employer?

  • The courses are offered after work hours and/or remotely so the employer benefits are achieved without the employee taking time off work
  • The certificate program is the only program of its kind offered in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) where employees can choose courses tailored to the employer’s business needs
  • The costs of the program are often less than comparable costs for other employee training options
  • The program costs are spread across fiscal years so can be budgeted in advance, while the employer immediately receives the benefit of the employee’s increased knowledge after each course that is taken
  • New skills unrelated to the employee’s job description open new possibilities like adding to the employer’s current products and services

What Does It Take to Be a Privacy Professional?

By Anita Fineberg
LLB, CIPP/C, Barrister & Solicitor and President, Anita Fineberg & Associates Inc.
Ambassador for The Chang School's Certificate in Privacy, Access, and Information Management

With rapid technological advances making it easier to store and share vast amounts of personal information, people around the world are increasingly concerned about privacy. Responding to that concern, a growing number of specialized privacy professionals are working in various types of organizations to craft privacy policy, implement privacy initiatives, and provide high-level guidance to executives and boards.

Privacy is a career choice filled with opportunity. Globally, new legislation has been enacted – requiring dedicated teams that can ensure their organizations’ compliance. Privacy budgets are expanding, with most of the respondents to a 2016 survey conducted by the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) expecting an increase next year. And more than nine in 10 of those same respondents are confident that privacy “helps open career doors.” However, many people end up in privacy roles by accident when they’re asked to take charge “because someone has to do it.” Yet for privacy professionals to do their jobs well, they need a thorough grounding in privacy governance and policy and information technology. They also require a cluster of “21st century skills,” including the ability to be creative and innovative, think critically, engage in problem-solving, and be collaborative, flexible and adaptable, and respond quickly to new challenges.

Because privacy is a complex discipline, it’s hard to learn all of this on the job. The Certificate in Privacy, Access, and Information Management delivers a rigorous standard of training to improve privacy protection for Canadians.

The certificate program benefits both privacy professionals and employers. Individuals can leverage educational programs to stay up to date on industry trends and boost their work and personal development goals. Distance education choices make it easier to fit learning into busy lives.

There are clear benefits for employers, too. Organizations are stronger when they can:

  • hire new privacy professionals who can get “up to speed” faster because they have been equipped with practical skills they can apply on the job right away
  • provide their privacy teams with cross-disciplinary, forward-looking knowledge tailored to the needs of their specific industry
  • build an in-house resource that understands how other organizations are dealing with similar issues and that can help manage regulatory, reputational, and legal risk.

Enhancing the qualifications of privacy professionals gives businesses, educational institutions, and individuals an opportunity to address a key risk in our interconnected world. With the right training programs in place, we can mitigate threats to sensitive data and continue to leverage the benefits provided by our technology-rich environment.


Kevin Chapman“I have always been interested in technology and have worked in IT for almost 25 years – most of the time in support and analyst roles. With the frequency and impact of data breaches over the last several years, I felt that the protection of personal information would continue to take on increasing importance.

I’m currently employed in the education sector, and part of my responsibilities involve vetting contracts with service providers. I became interested in the Certificate in Privacy, Access, and Information Management because I wanted to learn best practices regarding privacy and further my knowledge of privacy legislation and obligations.

For me, the program was a good mix of in-person and online classes. The Data and Information Management for Privacy course provided an engaging classroom experience, as the instructor used great in-class exercises and guest lecturers who brought a lot of added expertise to the subject matter. In terms of online delivery, having Dr. Ann Cavoukian as the resident expert was a great drawing card. I enjoyed having her online lectures available as part of the Privacy by Design course.

As a result of completing the certificate, I have been able to take on an expanded role in my job with the TDSB regarding contract review and negotiation.”

Kevin Chapman
Licensing and Policy Specialist, TDSB

“I was looking to improve my credentials in the field of privacy and saw through a connection on LinkedIn that Ryerson was starting a new certificate program in that area. I had actually started a certificate program in access and privacy at another university, but I knew from Week One that Ryerson’s program was superior. 

I first enrolled in the Privacy by Design online course, which really took advantage of the online platform with professionally shot videos, interactive quizzes, and links to the latest content. The final course project allowed me to do some practical, substantive work. Now that I have a job as a privacy analyst in the health sector, I am looking forward to taking the Health Information Access and Privacy course.”

Derek Eng
Privacy Analyst, ConnectingOntario

“As a CPA/CMA, we are encouraged to be lifelong learners and to keep our skill set current. I was really interested in taking Privacy by Design because I wanted to learn from Ann Cavoukian. Professionally, I started in a compliance role and I knew this course would provide knowledge of best practices when it comes to privacy impact assessments, which has become a central part of my job.

Although I was initially interested in the course because of the opportunity to learn from Dr. Cavoukian, my favourite part of the course ended up being the peer-to-peer learning. I loved online learning and the access to videos in each module; what brought it all to life though was the sharing of articles and personal experiences between my classmates who were from all over the world.

The course did help me to hone my skills as I hoped it would. I use knowledge from the Privacy by Design course in my work and I apply techniques I learned from the instructors to positively impact the bank.”

Kaila Orr
Privacy Specialist, Scotiabank

Frequently Asked Questions

How will prerequisites affect the order in which I take courses in the certificate?

The following table shows the current prerequisite(s) for each course. However, some of these prerequisites may be waived for continuing education students. Please see the note at the bottom of the table.

Course Prerequisite(s)
Required (four)
CLAW 401 - Information Access and Privacy Protection CLAW 122*
CZIT 427 - Data and Info. Mgmt for Privacy None
CZLW 327 - Privacy by Design None
CZLW 527 - Applying Privacy and Access

This capstone course can only be taken after students have successfully completed their first five courses in the Privacy, Access, and Information Management certificate (CLAW410, CZIT427, CALW327, 2 Electives). Students must request department consent by emailing for permission to enroll in this course.

Electives (choose two)
CDPR 100 - Public Relations Principles None
CHIM 305 - Introduction to Health Informatics None
CITM 301 - IT Infrastructure CITM 207*
CITM 820 - Information Systems Security and Privacy CITM 301*
CLAW 122 - Business Law None
CLAW 402 - Health Information Access and Privacy CLAW 122*
CMHR 405 - Organizational Behaviour None
CMHR 650 - Management of Change CMHR 405 or CHRH 601
CPPA 403 - e-Government CPPA 102 or CPOG 100* or CPPA 422

*Note: The prerequisites for CLAW 401, CLAW 402, CITM 301, and CPPA 403 may be waived for continuing education certificate students with permission of the Academic Coordinator for the course.

Please contact the Program Coordinator, Melissa Johnson, at for information about waiving prerequisites.

*CZLW 527: This course is currently offered in the Winter semester only. 

Which electives should I take?

We recommend that you start with the following required courses: CZLW 327, CLAW 401, and CZIT 427. You will then have a good idea of which two electives best match your professional goals.

Please note any prerequisites and whether or not the prerequisite can be waived. For example, if you want to take CITM 820, you would request a waiver for CITM 207 (the prerequisite for CITM 301) and then your electives to complete the certificate would be CITM 301, the required prerequisite, and CITM 820.

What is the difference between CLAW 401 and CLAW 402?

CLAW 401 is a required course in the certificate program; it is focused on giving you a general understanding of policy in this area. CLAW 402 is an elective course; it focuses on the health system.

If you are planning to work in the health system, you could take both courses, or you may substitute CLAW 402 for CLAW 401. For a course substitution form, contact Melissa Johnson, Program Coordinator, at

Certificate Requirements

  • 4 required courses
  • 2 electives
  • Cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 1.67+

Admission Criteria    


  • Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent
    • With 6 Grade 12 U or M credits (including English)
    • With a minimum average of 60 percent


  • Mature student status

Professional Development

Professional Development Award: Introduction to Privacy, Access, and Information Management requires completion of CLAW 401, CZIT 427, and CZLW 327.

Awards and Financial Aid


Contact Us

Questions about the Certificate in Privacy, Access, and Information Management?

Contact our Program Coordinator, Melissa Johnson.

Phone:  416-979-5000, ext. 5183

Additional Details