Social media forums such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and
Instagram have provided businesses with the opportunity to expand
the way they advertise and market their products. For instance, a
study found that in 2012, 34% of Canadian enterprises were using
social media as a method to promote and direct traffic to their
website.1 Social media has greatly increased the reach
of marketing campaigns, often for a much more affordable cost.
However, despite the obvious advantages obtained through the use of
social media, there are serious risks created when a business opts
to engage in social media.
Social networking sites and services are becoming an
increasingly popular way for cyber criminals to obtain personal or
business information to hack into private or work computer systems.
Therefore, if a business uses social media for marketing purposes,
it is imperative that the company takes adequate steps to safeguard
their presence on social media. An example of such measures would
be to only allow a certain subgroup of employees (who have been
properly trained on appropriate online conduct) to be responsible
for posting the content. Another example would be ensuring that
employees are aware that they are not to post content in the
organization's name unless the designated employee has approved
Not only should a company be concerned with the private or
personal information that can be shared by employees online, making
the business vulnerable, but a business should also be aware of the
further liability that can be created when employees engage with
customers. Recently in Jane Doe 464533 v ND,2
the Ontario Superior Court of Justice expanded the common law's
protection of privacy rights by recognizing a new tort of
"public disclosure of private facts". In Jane
Doe, the Plaintiff sent the Defendant a sexually explicit
video of herself, based on the agreement that it was for his eyes
only. However, immediately upon receiving the video, the Defendant
posted the video online. Justice Stinson held that based on the
circumstances of the case, the most appropriate tort was
"public disclosure of embarrassing private facts about the
Plaintiff". He outlined the following elements that must be
met to establish this new tort. They are as follows:
The Defendant gave publicity to a matter concerning the private
life of the Plaintiff;
The matter publicized, or the action of publication itself,
would be highly offensive to a reasonable person; and,
The matter publicized, or the
act of publication itself, is not of legitimate concern to the
Justice Stinson determined that the Plaintiff had met all three
elements of the test and was therefore entitled to damages under
this new tort. Although this case involved a breach of privacy in a
personal context, it still poses a concern for businesses which
choose to engage in social media. For instance, if an employee
partakes in inappropriate online behaviour while acting in their
capacity as an agent for the company, the company may be exposed to
liability, as the employee's actions can be seen to be actions
taken on behalf of the employer. The area of privacy law continues
to be a source of litigation and as was seen in Jane Doe,
the scope of what is protected will likely only expand, especially
with the overly broad elements set out in this case. As a result,
it is logical to assume that the increased use of social media in
the workplace will likely result in an enlarged exposure to privacy
liability for both the employee and employer.
With these significant concerns, companies should have an
internet usage policy in place to provide clear guidelines of what
is acceptable behavior. Specifically, the policy should include
what information can be posted on the internet and who is
authorized to share this information. The policy should also
discourage employees' personal use of social media while at
work, or while in the capacity of being an agent for the company.
Finally, the policy should define what constitutes sensitive
information so that employees are aware of what cannot be
Under B.C.'s former and current Limitation Act, the limitation period for a Plaintiff's claim can be extended on the basis of a Defendant having acknowledged in writing some liability for the cause of action.
Automobile drivers, like fine wine, tend to get better with age. Older drivers can draw on a wealth of experience from their years on the road to assist them when faced by a variety of dangerous conditions.
The insurance industry will be interested in Ledcor Construction Ltd v. Northbridge Indemnity Insurance Co because of principles the Supreme Court of Canada applied to the "faulty workmanship" exclusion in a Builders' Risk policy.
For the first time in BC, a Court has decided that an insured is entitled to special costs, rather than the lower tariff costs, solely because they were successful in a coverage action against their insurer.
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