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.
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.
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 17, 2007
I was interviewed today for Global National's most recent report on privacy problems at the Canada Revenue Agency (our IRS, for my American readers). Since earlier reports on misdirected tax information, many more people have come out to report they have also been the unwitting recipients of information about other taxpayers. See: Taxman moves to protect privacy and also note the many comments in which others relate receiving others' personal information.
I think you can get the video of the feature here: http://video.canada.com/VideoContent.aspx?13750&vc=1&popup=1, but it seems hit and miss to me.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
The Canada Revenue Agency generally takes taxpayer privacy very seriously. It's rare to hear about any leak or misuse of personal information from the federal tax department. Lately, however, the CRA, or at least some of its employees, have come under suspicion as confidential records of high-profile taxpayers have appeared online.
The Candian Press reports on a leak of information about MP and former hockey star Ken Dryden:
Tax office staff warned of disciplinary action as CRA probes Dryden tax leak
TORONTO (CP) - Canada Revenue Agency workers are being warned of disciplinary action, including dismissal, following a published report that federal employees had leaked the confidential tax information of Liberal MP Ken Dryden.
"It is unsettling to consider that not all employees may be working with the degree of professionalism and integrity that the CRA expects," writes Larry Hillier, assistant commissioner for the Ontario region, in an internal e-mail to CRA employees obtained by The Canadian Press.
"As with all allegations of wrongdoing, an immediate investigation is being launched to determine if a breach of our standards has occurred," the memo reads. "If warranted, disciplinary action will be taken, up to and including termination of employment."
The tax information of Dryden and several other sports personalities, including former Toronto Maple Leaf Borje Salming, is available on the Internet courtesy of debt collectors who have been illegally leaking the information.
National Revenue Minister Carol Skelton has asked the CRA to launch an immediate investigation in the wake of the original CP report, which was published Saturday.
CRA workers are violating the Income Tax Act, the Privacy Act, and possibly criminal law by feeding information to former employee Alan Baggett, who in turn posts the disclosures to an Internet chat group.
The Dryden story, posted in May 2005, says the former Montreal Canadiens goalie and Leafs general manager once had a "small personal tax debt, which he no doubt paid." A former employee who worked on Dryden's file confirmed the debt to CP.
Neither Dryden nor Salming replied to requests for comment on the postings. The postings did not indicate Dryden's current tax situation.
CRA employees who are found guilty of disclosing tax information, a violation of the Income Tax Act, face fines of up to $5,000 or jail time of up to 12 months - a fact Hillier points out in his memo.
"When one employee breaches confidentiality, as is currently alleged, each and every one of us is impacted," Hillier writes, noting his "high level of confidence in the employees of the Ontario Region."
"You can be assured that all necessary steps are being taken to thoroughly investigate this matter."
Depending on the circumstances, the disclosure of confidential information could also constitute a criminal offence. Under the Criminal Code of Canada, breach of trust by a public officer is punishable by a maximum prison sentence of five years.
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