Privacy Law

Michael Crystal is currently involved in a class action suit against a major Ontario hospital, where hospital staff allegedly inappropriately accessed patients’ medical records. The privacy of personal records, our social media content and even images of ourselves are in need of protection. Our firm is committed to protecting your privacy interests.

To ensure the highest quality service, we have added George Radwanski, a former Privacy Commissioner of Canada, to our group of consultants so that we may best defend your privacy interests. Together we look forward to representing you.

Class Action Lawsuit

UPDATES

Michael Crystal testified, on June 4, 2014 before the Senate Standing Committee on Transportation and Communications about Bill S-4, an amendment to the Personal Information and Electronic Documents Act.  Mr. Crystal strongly believes in the proper safekeeping of personal information by government institutions and other organizations. Michael Crystal’s concerns with Section 10.1(6) of the proposed PIPEDA are adopted and relevant amendments to Bill-S4 are made by The committee on June 10, 2014.  See the June 10, 2014 transcripts here.

  • See a copy of the June 4, 2014 transcripts here.
  • See CPAC’s Digital Archive on S-4 here

Senate committee rejects changes to digital privacy bill

Senate considers amending Digital Privacy Act

Anti-cyberbullying bill could harm privacy rights, warns mother of Amanda Todd

THE ACTS

Personal Health Information Protection 

A primary objective of the law is to protect personal health information held by health information custodians.

Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy

Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA)

Information and Privacy Commissioner, Ontario

Privacy Commissioner, Canada

CASE LAW

Jones v. Tsige, 2012 ONCA 32

Intrusion Upon Seclusion Legal Definition:

A privacy tort; intentionally intruding upon the seclusion or private affairs or concerns of another if the intrusion would be highly offensive to a reasonable person.

Writing for a unanimous majority in Jones v Tsige, Justice Sharpe of the Ontario Court of Appeal considered and accepted that the tort existed in Canadian law also, adding:

“Generally speaking, to make out cause of action for intrusion upon seclusion, a plaintiff must show (i) an unauthorized intrusion; (ii) that the intrusion was highly offensive to the reasonable person; (iii) the matter intruded upon was private; and (iv) the intrusion caused anguish and suffering.

“The first element indicates that the tort focuses on the act of intrusion, as opposed to dissemination or publication of information. The focus of the court in determining whether this element is satisfied is on the type of interest involved and not the place where the invasion occurs”

“With regard to the second element, factors to be considered in determining whether a particular action is highly offensive include the degree of intrusion, the context, conduct and circumstances of the intrusion, the tortfeasor’s motives and objectives and the expectations of those whose privacy is invaded.”

“In determining the third element, the plaintiff must establish that the expectation of seclusion or solitude was objectively reasonable. The courts have adopted the two-prong test used in the application of the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution . The first step is demonstrating an actual subjective expectation of privacy, and the second step asks if that expectation is objectively reasonable.”

“The fourth element has received considerably less attention as anguish and suffering are generally presumed once the first three elements have been established….”

“The key features of this cause of action are, first, that the defendant’s conduct must be intentional, within which I would include reckless; second that the defendant must have invaded, without lawful justification, the plaintiff’s private affairs or concerns; and third, that a reasonable person would regard the invasion as highly offensive causing distress, humiliation or anguish….”

“The Internet and digital technology have brought an enormous change in the way we communicate and in our capacity to capture, store and retrieve information. As the facts of this case indicate, routinely kept electronic databases render our most personal financial information vulnerable. Sensitive information as to our health is similarly available, as are records of the books we have borrowed or bought, the movies we have rented or downloaded, where we have shopped, where we have travelled and the nature of our communications by cellphone, e-mail or text message.”

“Proof of actual loss is not an element of the cause of action for intrusion upon seclusion.”

ARTICLES AND REPORTS

Report slams medical privacy

Do we have a ‘right-to-be-forgotten?’ Europe’s Google ruling pits privacy advocates against free-speech protectors