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Zero-Copy Integration approved by Standards Council of Canada

Updated: Jan 27, 2023

On Tuesday, December 15, 2022, the Standards Council of Canada ratified Zero-Copy Integration, a pioneering framework that calls for the de-coupling of data from applications in order to help organizations accelerate the delivery of new digital solutions while increasing control of their data

For the past 2 years, the Data Collaboration Alliance has participated in the Technical Committee for Zero-Copy Integration at the Digital Governance Council, Canada’s primary national forum that brings together forward-thinking CIOs and executive technology leaders to mobilize on common digital priorities.

Zero-Copy Integration defines a set of principles for building new applications more efficiently and collaboratively while simultaneously ensuring that data stakeholders, including end users, retain meaningful control of the information for which they are the rightful owner.

The need to introduce enhanced data cotrol has become particularly vital with the advancement of Canada's B C-27 which proposes a new Consumer Privacy Protection Act which will introduce fines of up to $25 million or 5% of gross global revenue (whichever is greater) for the misuse of consumer data.

In an earlier press release announcing the start of the public consultations for the standard, Chris McLellan, Director of Operations at the Data Collaboration Alliance, was quoted as follows: 

“Zero-Copy Integration represents a foundational—and welcome—shift in digital solution design that signals the beginning of the end for the database silo. In IT environments where generating unrestricted copies of sensitive data between apps hosted around the globe is considered routine, this framework offers a major course correction. It simultaneously reduces the risks associated with data compliance and the mounting costs of data integration while greatly enhancing data-centric innovation."

Impact on innovators

Zero-Copy Integration is intended for CEOs, CTOs, CIOs, CDOs, application developers, data architects and other leaders who are seeking ways to accelerate their digital innovation projects while simultaneously reducing data complexity and risk.

The framework identifies the following core principles as the key to replacing chaos and copies with control and collaboration:

🧠 Decouple data from applications via a data network (eliminates new data silos)

⚡ Enable access-based collaboration (eliminates copy-based data integration)

🤗 Federate data governance via data products (aka data mesh)

🔐 Set universal access controls at metadata-layer (avoid app-specific controls)

💡 Prioritize active metadata over complex code

🧱 Prioritize modular digital solutions over monolithic design

Impact on end users

By eliminating copies to increase control, transparency, and collaboration, the adoption of Zero-Copy Integration has the potential to significantly boost trust and engagement for millions of employees, consumers, and citizens, including children:

🙂 Meaningful control of access, portability, custodianship, correction, and deletion

⚡ More responsive and personalized digital experiences (apps, automations, dashboards)

🤯 Simplified access to enable collaboration on operational data (democratized IT)


Next steps

The standard is set to be published for public access in February, 2023 on the Digital Governance Council website.

Steps to introduce the standard at the international level have also been initiated.


Contact Julia Hancock, Senior Project Manager, Digital Governance Council.


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