The Ontario Superior Court has held that there is no common law tort of invasion of
privacy in Ontario (Jones v. Tsige, 2011
ONSC 1475) . In coming to its decision, the Court emphasized the
existence of statutory schemes that govern privacy issues.
The plaintiff claimed that the defendant, her co-worker at a
bank, had committed the tort of invasion of privacy by accessing
the plaintiff's private banking records without
The case law on this issue was mixed as some Ontario court
decisions had accepted the existence of this type of tort and
others had not.
The Court reviewed the case law and took into consideration that
most Canadian jurisdictions have statutory schemes that govern and
regulate privacy issues and disputes. Referring to these statutory
schemes, the Court stated, "In Ontario, it cannot be said that
there is a legal vacuum that permits wrongs to go unrighted
– requiring judicial intervention."
In coming to its decision, the Court relied heavily on the
existence of the Personal Information Protection and
Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) and its
application to the banking sector. According to the Court, the
plaintiff would not have been without a remedy for a wrong and she
could have pursued an action through PIPEDA.
The Court went on to add that "this is not an area of law
that requires "judge-made" rights and obligations.
Statutory schemes that govern privacy issues are, for the most
part, carefully nuanced and designed to balance practical concerns
and needs in an industry –specific fashion."
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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In less than nine months, on July 1, 2017, persons affected by a contravention of Canada's anti-spam legislation will be able to invoke a private right of action to sue for compensation and potentially substantial statutory damages.
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