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.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Settled Case summary #27: Clinic discloses client information when trying to collect a debt 

The Privacy Commissioner of Canada has released a summary of a recently settled case, in which a dental clinic disclosed the fact that a patient's account was in arrears to another patient who had referred the first:

Settled Case summary #27: Clinic discloses client information when trying to collect a debt (May 16, 2006)


An individual complained that her dental clinic disclosed information about her overdue account to the person who had referred her to the clinic.


The complainant noted that she had been in hospital and in respite care for several months, and thus did not receive the invoices sent by the dental clinic. When the invoices remained unpaid, the clinic telephoned the client who had made the referral in order to determine the complainant’s whereabouts. The clinic confirmed that it had not only asked the client how it could reach the complainant, but it had also disclosed that her bill was overdue, the amount owing, and that it would be sent to collections unless paid.

The clinic acknowledged that the disclosures went against its privacy policy, and that it should only have requested contact information. In the course of investigating the complaint, the clinic and the complainant agreed to a monetary settlement which also included a letter of apology to the complainant.

The OPC and the complainant agreed that in light of the settlement the matter should be considered settled.

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