An adjudicator had initially ordered the union to stop
collecting and using the recordings in response to privacy
complaints. The adjudicator's order was overturned in a
Queen's Bench decision that was subsequently affirmed on
appeal. The Court of Appeal held that the significant stifling of
expression that resulted from the order was not justified to
protect the very low expectations of privacy at issue in the
circumstances. It granted the union a constitutional exemption from
the application of the Personal Information Protection
The Supreme Court went further and struck down the legislation
in its entirety. The Supreme Court held that the harmful impact of
the legislation on freedom of expression in the labour context was
disproportionate to the government's objective of providing
individuals with control over personal information that they
exposed by crossing a picket line. The infringement was not
justified under s.1 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The Alberta government was given a year's grace period to come
up with constitutionally compliant legislation.
In a September 22, 2014 letter to the Alberta
Premier, the Information and Privacy Commissioner expressed concern
about the impending expiry of the deadline, in light of the
prorogation of the legislature on September 18 with no new session
to begin until November 17.
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Unfortunately, reasonable accommodation for employees in the workplace continues to be the source of significant litigation and even today we continue to see outrageous examples of employers behaving badly.
We are now beginning to see reported cases involving charges and subsequent fines laid against employers for failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to protect a worker from workplace violence.
On October 13, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada denied leave to appeal an Ontario Court of Appeal decision which ordered an employer to pay a former employee 37 months of salary and benefits following termination.
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