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 22, 2006

Finding: Bank can't use employee's personal banking information 

The Privacy Commissioner recently released her finding following a complaint brought by a bank employee about the bank directly withdrawing funds from the employee’s bank account. (Commissioner's Findings - PIPEDA Case Summary #327: Bank retrieves overpayment of wages from employee's account (February 2, 2006))

In this case, the Complainant had been receiving benefits under the bank’s disability policy. She had been receiving payments for several weeks when it was determined that she was not eligible for the benefits. The bank determined that it was necessary to stop the next payment but it was too late as the amounts had already been deposited in the employee’s account. The bank then placed a hold on the funds and subsequently withdrew them directly from the employee’s account.

The individual complained to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner and reference was made, either by the Complainant or by the bank, to Section 254.1(2)(d) of the Canada Labour Code which allows an employer to make deductions from wages for “overpayment of wages by the employer.” It was the bank’s argument that it was entitled to take the funds from the account based on this particular provision.

The Privacy Commissioner of Canada considered the complaint and the provisions of the Canada Labour Code, including that the bank might have been entitled to deduct such amounts from wages before they are paid it and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act do not allow the bank to unilaterally retrieve a sum of money from her account. The Commissioner concluded “the bank had misused the Complainant’s personal information when it took advantage of its dual role as her employer and bank and retrieved money from her account, without her knowledge or consent, thereby breaching Principle 4.3”.

The Complaint was found to be “well founded and resolved” and the bank has committed to change its procedure for recovering funds due from the accounts of bank employees.

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