The Canadian Privacy Law Blog: Developments in privacy law and writings of a Canadian privacy lawyer, containing information related to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (aka PIPEDA) and other Canadian and international laws.

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The author of this blog, David T.S. Fraser, is a Canadian privacy lawyer who practices with the firm of McInnes Cooper. He is the author of the Physicians' Privacy Manual. He has a national and international practice advising corporations and individuals on matters related to Canadian privacy laws.

For full contact information and a brief bio, please see David's profile.

Please note that I am only able to provide legal advice to clients. I am not able to provide free legal advice. Any unsolicited information sent to David Fraser cannot be considered to be solicitor-client privileged.

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The views expressed herein are solely the author's and should not be attributed to his employer or clients. Any postings on legal issues are provided as a public service, and do not constitute solicitation or provision of legal advice. The author makes no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained herein or linked to. Nothing herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of competent counsel.

This web site is presented for informational purposes only. These materials do not constitute legal advice and do not create a solicitor-client relationship between you and David T.S. Fraser. If you are seeking specific advice related to Canadian privacy law or PIPEDA, contact the author, David T.S. Fraser.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Insurance access trumps privacy: court 

I have not read the judge's decision in this case, but I am not surprised by the conclusion. Apparently, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, a judge of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia has concluded that a defendant in a personal injury lawsuit has a right to review the complete medical records of the plaintiff for the last five years to review for pre-existing injuries.

This appears consistent with previous judgements, such as the decision of the Ontario courts in Ferenczy v. MCI Medical Clinic (see: PIPEDA and Canadian Privacy Law: PIPEDA and Video Surveillance: Guidance from the Ontario Courts).

CBC Newfoundland and Labrador - Insurance access trumps privacy: court:

"ST. JOHN'S - The Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador has ruled an insurance company's right to access personal information may override an individual's right to privacy.

Mount Pearl resident Roseanne O'Dea applied to the court to restrict an insurance company from obtaining her medical records.

O'Dea had been in a collision with a taxi in 2003.

The Insurance Corporation of Newfoundland, which is representing the taxi company, said it wanted to review her medical and pharmacy records for the past decade before it proceeded with any compensation.

O'Dea refused, calling the request an unacceptable breach of her privacy.

Justice Robert Hall ruled there are occasions when an insurance company's access to records should be limited.

However, Hall ruled that O'Dea's privacy must give way to the right of the company to access all potentially relevant information.

Hall said pre-existing medical conditions could be relevant to O'Dea's claim.

Don Forgeron, Atlantic vice-president of the Insurance Bureau of Canada, welcomed Thursday's ruling.

In the past, he said, courts have determined rights of access on a case-by-case basis.

'In the course of settling a claim, there needs to be appropriate medical information put forward to assess the extent of the injuries,' Forgeron said.

'We would look to the courts, as they have done in the past, to apply the appropriate tests to determine whether or not the information being requested is relevant to the proceedings.'"

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