Jennifer Stoddart studied Quebec social history and received a Master of Arts in history from the Université du Québec à Montréal. In 1980 she received a licence in civil law from McGill University; she was admitted to the bar in 1981. Stoddart was awarded an honourary doctorate in 2013 by the University of Ottawa and again in 2015 by McGill University. In June 2011, the Quebec Bar awarded Jennifer Stoddart the distinctions of Avocat émérite and Mérite Christine-Tourigny. Stoddart was appointed Officer of the Order of Canada in December 2015, “for her international leadership in privacy rights and for her exemplary public service as the privacy commissioner of Canada.”
On December 1 2003, Stoddart was appointed Canada’s Privacy Commissioner by the Governor in Council for a seven-year term; and reappointed in 2010 for a three-year term. Jennifer Stoddart was the sixth Privacy Commissioner of Canada. In her role as commissioner she gave an annual report to Parliament about privacy trends and results of investigations, including privacy audits of government departments. Her 2013 report drew attention to privacy problems with the Canada Revenue Agency. She represented Canada at the annual International Conference on Privacy and Personal Data Protection. In 2008, she drew international headlines when she announced an investigation into the privacy policies of Facebook, which resulted in the social media site instituting privacy protections for its users.
Stoddart continues to explore her interests in personal data protection at the Centre of Genomics and Policy as an invited scholar. With Professor Knoppers, she is involved in the “Draft Agenda: Advisory Expert Group for the Development of an OECD Draft Recommendation on Health Data Governance” and she co-Chairs its Advisory Expert Group.