The Alberta Court of Appeal found that, to the extent the
Alberta Personal Information Protection Act prohibited the
United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 401 from collecting,
using or disclosing images of individuals at or near a picket line
during the course of a lawful strike, those PIPA
provisions impermissibly infringed on the Union's freedom of
expression as protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and
Freedoms (the "Charter").
On June 11, 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada heard argument on an
appeal from the decision of the Alberta Court of Appeal (UFCW SCC Case Summary 34890).
A number of organizations were granted leave to intervene and
provide submissions to the Court in United Food: the
Privacy Commissioner of Canada, the Canadian Civil Liberties
Association, the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, the
Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, the Coalition of
British Columbia Business and Merit Canada, the Information and
Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia and the Alberta
Federation of Labour.
The United Food case was heard along with Bernard v.
Attorney General of Canada, a case involving a Canada Revenue
Agency ("CRA") employee who declined to join the Union
(Public Service of Canada) and who sought to prevent the CRA from
disclosing her home contact information to the Union. Ms. Bernard
brought a judicial review application in relation to an order of
the Public Service Labour Relations Board which authorized the
disclosure of her home contact information to the Union without her
consent, subject to certain safeguards. The PSLRB subsequently
found that disclosure of Ms. Bernard's information was
authorized by the federal Privacy Act because the Union's
intended use of the information was consistent for the purpose for
which the information was obtained by her employer, the CRA. The
Board refused to consider Ms. Bernard's Charter
argument that the disclosure of the information violated her
freedom not to associate. The Federal Court of Appeal dismissed Ms.
Bernard's application for judicial review on the basis that the
Board's decision was reasonable (Elizabeth Bernard v. Attorney General of
Canada et al).
It will be very interesting to see how the Supreme Court of Canada
approaches the interesting privacy and Charter issues
raised in these cases.
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