The breach of one's confidence by another can be a
disturbing event. You trusted the recipient to keep the
confidential information to him or herself. You then discover
that the information has been communicated more widely and not only
is your trust shattered, but you feel you have suffered damage or
loss as a result. Is there a legal remedy or option available
for you? There is. It is known as the tort of
"breach of confidence".
The law requires three elements to be proven in a breach of
that the information must have the necessary quality of
that the information must have been imparted in circumstances
importing an obligation of confidence; and,
that there must have been an unauthorized use of that
information to the detriment of the party communicating it –
The recognition of breach confidence in Ontario law is a fairly
recent development. The tort applies to both commercial and
personal breaches of confidence. Each of the three elements
required for the tort can be considered as separate steps.
Step One: The information has the necessary quality of
confidence. Information in the public realm will not usually
have this quality. To have this quality, the information will
usually need to be private and personal to you and not otherwise
Step Two: The obligation of confidence will usually arise
from a direct promise, or from circumstances that make it clear
that the information is both confidential and has been communicated
by you in circumstances such that the recipient knew or ought to
have known it was confidential In other words, the other
person should have known that the information was not to be
circulated more widely without your express consent.
Step Three: The detriment necessary to complete the claim could
be a use of the information for commercial advantage to your
expense or loss. In a personal case, the detriment could
involve psychological, emotional and physical harm which results
from the unauthorized disclosure. The remedy is in
damages. Damages are the monetary valuation of the effect
upon you. In a commercial case, damages are more easily
determined by a return of profit or a by the calculation of the
loss suffered. In a personal case which has led to physical,
emotional or psychological damages, at least in one case, the
Ontario courts have recognized and granted an award of damages for
pain and suffering as well as psychological harm.
It's not often that our little blog intersects with such titanic struggles as the U.S. presidential race – and by using the term "titanic" I certainly don't mean to suggest that anything disastrous is in the future.
J.J. v. C.C., is an interesting case in which the court held that an automotive garage owes a duty to minor children to secure the vehicles on the premises by locking the cars and safely storing the car keys...
In Irwin v. Alberta Veterinary Medical Association, 2015 ABCA 396, the Alberta Court of Appeal found that the "ABVMA" failed to afford procedural fairness to a veterinarian undergoing an incapacity assessment.
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).