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Archive For Entries On Access to Information

Hopkins v Kay: Health Law Information Remains Protected by the Common Law

In Hopkins v Kay, 2015 ONCA 112 the Ontario Court of Appeal (“ONCA”) ensured that parties who suffer misuse of their private health information can claim common law damages against the wrongdoer. The court found that statutory damages under the Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004, SO 2004, c 3, Sch A [PHIPA], did not create […]

Naming Names in the FRO: Ontario (MCSS) v John Doe

The Family Responsibility Office (“FRO”) is a division of the Ministry of Community and Social Services that is responsible for collecting, distributing, and enforcing child and spousal support payments. It has broad enforcement powers for those who fall behind on their support. These include garnishing bank accounts, suspending driver’s licences and passports, and issuing writs […]

Does Government Spying Make Us Safer? Liberty v Secretary of State

A Decision of the United Kingdom’s Investigatory Powers Tribunal (“the Tribunal”) in Liberty v Secretary of State, [2015] UKIPTrib 13 77-H [Liberty], endorsed the importance of transparency in the surveillance practices of British security agencies such as the Security Service (“MI5”), the Secret Intelligence Service (“MI6”), and the Government Communications Headquarters (“GCHQ”). The decision emphasized […]

The Retirement of Justice Louis LeBel and the Secretive Process that Led to the Appointment of Suzanne Côté

The government has slammed the door on parliamentary and public involvement regarding the replacement of retiring Justice Louis LeBel. On November 30, 2014, Justice LeBel turned 75, the mandatory retirement age for Supreme Court judges. Most justices often depart some months before their birthdays, but LeBel decided to take his tenure right to the end. […]

Confidentiality and the Ontario Sex Offender Registry: CSCS v IPC

In Ontario (Community Safety and Correctional Services) v Ontario (Information and Privacy Commissioner), 2014 SCC 31 [CSCS v IPC], the Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) was asked to interpret the interaction between the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, RSO 1990, c F31 [FIPPA] and Christopher’s Law (Sex Offender Registry), 2000, SO 2000, […]

State Surveillance Powers Made Available to Plaintiffs in a Class Action: Imperial Oil v Jacques

In a decision released on October 17, 2014, Imperial Oil v Jacques, 2014 SCC 66 [Imperial Oil v Jacques], a majority of the Supreme Court Court (“SCC”) upheld a Quebec motion court’s ruling that allowed plaintiffs in a class action to access relevant government surveillance materials during civil discovery proceedings. The class action arose after an investigation of […]

Access to Information and Advice: Interpreting the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act

In John Doe v Ontario (Finance), 2014 SCC 36 [John Doe], the Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) provided a comprehensive explanation of a key provision of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, RSO 1990, c F.31 [FIPPA]. FIPPA is a mechanism that enables individuals to request disclosure of information from government officials (information on making a request can be found here). Within the […]

The Reasonable Expectation of Privacy in the Information Age: R v Spencer

On June 13, 2014, Cromwell J., in R v Spencer, 2014 SCC 43, gave a ruling on whether or not Matthew David Spencer had a reasonable expectation of privacy with respect to his subscriber information. Contrary to the decision of the trial judge, Cromwell J. concluded that since “[t]he disclosure of the subscriber information will […]

SCC Continues to Navigate the Tension Between Labour Relations and Privacy: Bernard v Canada

Last November, the Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) decided that Alberta’s Personal Information Protection Act, SA 2003 c P-6.5, which, inter alia, had the effect of preventing unions from filming individuals crossing a picket line, was an unjustifiable violation of the constitutional right to freedom of expression (for more, see the commentary by Avnish Nanda and […]

Rob Ford’s Trial by Media and the Innocents Caught in the Undertow

These days, the pen (or, perhaps, the keyboard) is truly mightier than the sword. Pens shape public perception, and that power endures beyond borders and beyond lifetimes in our digital age of information. But as the adage goes, with great power comes great responsibility. The international media frenzy surrounding the Rob Ford saga has intensified […]