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.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Geist on the Heinz decision 

Michael Geist's latest Law Bytes article in the Toronto Star addresses the recent Heinz decision from the Supreme Court of Canada (see: The Canadian Privacy Law Blog: New Supreme Court of Canada decision considers privacy aspects of Access to Information Act review procedure). Here's an extract: - Supreme court tips its hand on privacy:

"A divided court ultimately sided with the company by ruling that privacy considerations were too important to be left out. The majority of the judges feared that once the personal information was disclosed, the only recourse would be to launch a complaint with the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. That option was viewed as insufficient, with the court candidly concluding that 'the Privacy Commissioner and the Information Commissioner are of little help because, with no power to make binding orders, they have no teeth.'

Indeed, the court had little confidence in the complaints mechanism, which it viewed as inadequate because 'the Privacy Commissioner has no authority to issue decisions binding on the government institution or the party contesting the disclosure. Nor does the Commissioner have an injunctive power which would allow it to stay the disclosure of information pending the outcome of an investigation.'

In other words, the current framework simply does not provide adequate privacy protection.

Given the importance of privacy -- the majority characterized the Privacy Act as 'quasi-constitutional' because of the role privacy plays in the preservation of a free and democratic society -- the court was unwilling to allow for a potential privacy breach with little prospect for subsequent protection."


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