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Class	
  Ac(on	
  Intrusions:	
  Helping	
  to	
  develop	
  
privacy	
  rights,	
  or	
  an	
  overkill	
  in	
  liabilit...
The	
  Commission	
  of	
  Inquiry	
  into	
  
the	
  Confiden(ality	
  of	
  Health	
  
Records	
  in	
  Ontario	
  
■  Pu...
Mechanism	
  of	
  Enforcement	
  
under	
  PHIPA	
  
■  Complaint	
  of	
  suspected	
  breach	
  made	
  to	
  Commissio...
An	
  Expecta(on	
  of	
  Privacy	
  -­‐	
  Purpose	
  
of	
  PHIPA	
  
	
  
“Individuals	
  are	
  very	
  concerned	
  a...
PHIPA	
  
■ The	
  PHIPA	
  has	
  been	
  touted	
  	
  as	
  “a	
  gold	
  standard	
  for	
  
protecting	
  privacy”.	
...
Jones	
  v.	
  Tsige,	
  2012	
  ONCA	
  32	
  
	
  An	
  Overview	
  
▪  Issue	
  on	
  appeal:	
  Whether	
  the	
  comm...
Jones	
  v.	
  Tsige,	
  cont’d	
  
▪  Court	
  created	
  common	
  law	
  tort	
  for	
  
invasion	
  of	
  privacy	
  →...
Tort	
  of	
  Intrusion	
  upon	
  Seclusion	
  
Three-­‐part	
  test:	
  
	
  
1.  The	
  actions	
  of	
  the	
  Defenda...
Tort	
  of	
  Intrusion	
  upon	
  Seclusion,	
  
	
   	
   	
   	
   	
  cont’d	
  
Application	
  to	
  broad	
  range	
...
Tort	
  of	
  Intrusion	
  upon	
  Seclusion,	
  	
  
cont’d 	
   	
  	
  
Damages:	
  
	
  
■  Not	
  required	
  to	
  d...
General	
  Reac(ons	
  from	
  the	
  Bar	
  
Applica(on	
  of	
  Jones	
  v.	
  Tsige	
  
Case	
  Law	
  
	
  
▪  48	
  cases	
  have	
  looked	
  to	
  this	
  decisi...
Class	
  Ac(ons:	
  A	
  Review	
  
▪  Relatively	
  recent	
  in	
  Canada.	
  
	
  
▪  Prior:	
  Rule	
  75	
  of	
  Rul...
Class	
  Ac(ons	
  in	
  Common	
  Law	
  
▪  3	
  main	
  objectives	
  under	
  Ontario’s	
  Class	
  
Proceedings	
  Ac...
Class	
  Ac(ons,	
  cont’d	
  
Advantages	
  to	
  class	
  actions	
  as	
  identiYied	
  by	
  Justice	
  
McLachlin	
  ...
Helping	
  Hand	
  or	
  Iron	
  Fist?	
  
■  $20,000	
  per	
  case	
  is	
  insigniYicant	
  alone	
  as	
  a	
  head	
 ...
Class	
  Ac(ons,	
  Post-­‐Jones	
  v.	
  Tsige	
  
▪  Hopkins	
  v.	
  Kay,	
  2015	
  ONCA	
  112	
  
▪  Hynes	
  v.	
  ...
Issues	
  in	
  Hopkins	
  v.	
  Kay	
  	
  
■  Whether	
  the	
  PHIPA	
  creates	
  an	
  exhaustive	
  code,	
  and	
  ...
Implica(ons	
  of	
  Hopkins	
  v.	
  Kay	
  	
  
■  Illustrates	
  the	
  increased	
  potential	
  liability	
  and	
  r...
Grant	
  v.	
  Winnipeg	
  Regional	
  Health	
  
Authority	
  et	
  al.,	
  2015	
  MBCA	
  44	
  	
  
Overview:
■  Chart...
Disciplinary	
  Ac(on	
  
	
  “Nurses	
  are	
  responsible	
  for	
  their	
  actions	
  
and	
  the	
  consequences	
  o...
Disciplinary	
  Ac(on,	
  cont’d	
  
■  Standard	
  punishment	
  for	
  misconduct	
  
(3-­‐month	
  suspension	
  of	
  ...
Conclusions	
  
■  Can	
  the	
  alternatives	
  be	
  strengthened?	
  
	
  
■  Overhaul	
  of	
  failing	
  privacy	
  a...
Conclusions,	
  cont’d	
  
▪  Class	
  actions	
  can	
  allow	
  greater	
  to	
  justice	
  for	
  
those	
  that	
  wou...
Thank	
  You	
  For	
  Listening!	
  
Contact	
  
	
  
▪  Twitter	
  -­‐	
  @OmarHaRedeye	
  
	
  
▪  LinkedIn	
  -­‐	
  c...
Class Action Intrusions: Helping to develop privacy rights, or an overkill in liability?
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Class Action Intrusions: Helping to develop privacy rights, or an overkill in liability?

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Presentation at the Western Law Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Conference on May 21, 2015, "Law: Helping Hand or Iron Fist?”

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Class Action Intrusions: Helping to develop privacy rights, or an overkill in liability?

  1. 1. Class  Ac(on  Intrusions:  Helping  to  develop   privacy  rights,  or  an  overkill  in  liability?   Presented  by  Omar  Ha-­‐Redeye   AAS,  BHA  (Hons.),  PGCert,  J.D.,  L.L.M.  (c),  CNMT,  RT(N)(AART)      
  2. 2. The  Commission  of  Inquiry  into   the  Confiden(ality  of  Health   Records  in  Ontario   ■  Published  in  1980,  following  an  inquiry  into   health  information  and  privacy  concerns.   ■  Led  to  the  creation  of  PHIPA    in  Ontario  in   2004.   ■  Intended  to  be  a  comprehensive  legislative   scheme  to  address  health  privacy.    
  3. 3. Mechanism  of  Enforcement   under  PHIPA   ■  Complaint  of  suspected  breach  made  to  Commissioner  (s.  56(1)).     ■  Investigation  into  complaint  by  the  Commissioner.   ■  Discretion  given  to  Commissioner  to  move  forward  with  the   complaint  (s.  56(4)).   ■  Compliance  with  Commissioner’s  investigation  is  compulsory.       ■  Recommendations  by  the  Commissioner  are  binding  (s.  60).    
  4. 4. An  Expecta(on  of  Privacy  -­‐  Purpose   of  PHIPA     “Individuals  are  very  concerned  about  how  their  personal  health  information  is   collected,  used  and  disclosed.  They  expect  their  healthcare  providers  to  protect   this  information  and  not  to  use  or  disclose  it,  intentionally  or  inadvertently,  for   purposes  not  related  to  their  care  and  treatment.”     ◼  Legislative  focus  is  on  creating  appropriate  balance  for  the  use  of  this   information  for  health  services,  research,  or  other  social  value.   ◼  Less  emphasis  on  access  for  inappropriate  reasons,  including  curiosity   and  personal  interest.    
  5. 5. PHIPA   ■ The  PHIPA  has  been  touted    as  “a  gold  standard  for   protecting  privacy”.       ■ Yet,  has  numerous  deYiciencies:   ■ Inadequate  system  of  redress  for  victims  of  intrusion.   ■ Enormous  discretion  of  Commissioner,  and  judicial   remedies  only  on  adverse  Yinding.     ■ Redress  only  granted  if  “actual  harm”  proven.   ■ Damages  limited  to  $10,000.        
  6. 6. Jones  v.  Tsige,  2012  ONCA  32    An  Overview   ▪  Issue  on  appeal:  Whether  the  common  law   should  recognize  tort  for  invasion  of  privacy.       ▪  Court  reviewed  PIPEDA,  PHIPA,  FIPPA,   MFIPPA,  and  the  Consumer  Reporting  Act  to   Yind:   ▪  Canadian  Statutory  laws  insufYicient.   ▪  Inadequate  damages  to  privacy   breaches.   ▪  Focus  on  employer,  not  necessarily   actions  of  wrongdoer  employee.  
  7. 7. Jones  v.  Tsige,  cont’d   ▪  Court  created  common  law  tort  for   invasion  of  privacy  →  Intrusion  upon   Seclusion.     ▪  Three-­‐part  test  established  in  order   to  succeed  in  making  a  claim.  
  8. 8. Tort  of  Intrusion  upon  Seclusion   Three-­‐part  test:     1.  The  actions  of  the  Defendant  must  be   intentional  or  reckless.   2.  The  Defendant  must  have,  without  prior   authorization  or  justiYication,  to  invade  the   private  affairs  of  the  Plaintiff.   3.  The  reasonable  person  would  perceive  the   invasion  as  egregious,  humiliating  and  causing   anguish.  
  9. 9. Tort  of  Intrusion  upon  Seclusion,            cont’d   Application  to  broad  range  of   societal  interests:     ▪  Financial  or  health  records.   ▪  Sexual  practices  and  orientation.   ▪  Employment.   ▪  Diary  or  private  correspondence  that   could  be  reasonably  considered  highly   offensive.  
  10. 10. Tort  of  Intrusion  upon  Seclusion,     cont’d       Damages:     ■  Not  required  to  demonstrate  actual  harm.   ■  Maximum  award  generally  limited  to   $20,000.    
  11. 11. General  Reac(ons  from  the  Bar  
  12. 12. Applica(on  of  Jones  v.  Tsige   Case  Law     ▪  48  cases  have  looked  to  this  decision   ■  [Followed  (4),  distinguished  (2),  explained   (5),  mentioned  (26),  cited  (11)]  
  13. 13. Class  Ac(ons:  A  Review   ▪  Relatively  recent  in  Canada.     ▪  Prior:  Rule  75  of  Rules  of  Civil  Procedure,    RRO  1990,  Reg.  194.     ▪  DeYicient  mechanism  for  complex,   large-­‐scale  cases;  lack  of  judicial   oversight  
  14. 14. Class  Ac(ons  in  Common  Law   ▪  3  main  objectives  under  Ontario’s  Class   Proceedings  Act,  1992,  SO  1992,                c.  6:   ▪  To  improve  access  to  justice;   ▪  To  enable  more  efYicient  and  effective  judicial   management  of  complex  cases  of  mass  injury;   and;   ▪  To  coerce  behavioural  modiYication  through   public  accountability.  
  15. 15. Class  Ac(ons,  cont’d   Advantages  to  class  actions  as  identiYied  by  Justice   McLachlin  :     1.  Enhances  judicial  economy  by  preventing   unnecessary  duplication  of  fact-­‐Yinding  and  legal   analysis.   2.  Shared  expenses  allow  greater  access  to  justice.   3.  Ensures  justice  will  be  served  for  the  wrongful  act   committed.        Chief  Justice  McLachlin  (In  Hollick  v.  Toronto  (City),  2001  SCC  68,  [2001]  3  S.C.R.  158                at  para.  15)  
  16. 16. Helping  Hand  or  Iron  Fist?   ■  $20,000  per  case  is  insigniYicant  alone  as  a  head  of   damages,  and  not  sustainable  for  most  tort  actions  by   itself.     ■  But  class  proceedings  make  the  aggregation  of   these  damages  quite  signiYicant.     ■  Is  this  overkill?    Or  will  the  threat  of  liability  help   foster  better  privacy  controls?    
  17. 17. Class  Ac(ons,  Post-­‐Jones  v.  Tsige   ▪  Hopkins  v.  Kay,  2015  ONCA  112   ▪  Hynes  v.  Western  Regional  Integrated  Health   Authority,  2014  NLTD  137  (stage  1  only)   ▪  Subsequent  case  (still  uncertiYied)  with   14,450  patients  at  Rouge  Valley  Health   System   ▪  allegation  of  employees  selling  patient   information  to  private  companies.  
  18. 18. Issues  in  Hopkins  v.  Kay     ■  Whether  the  PHIPA  creates  an  exhaustive  code,  and   if  so:     ■  Whether  the  respondent  is,  or  should  be,   prevented  from  bringing  a  common  law  claim  for   intrusion  upon  seclusion  in  the  Superior  Court.     ■  Whether  patients  whose  privacy  has  been  breached   can  sue  the  hospital  directly.            Hopkins  v.  Kay,  2015  ONCA  112    
  19. 19. Implica(ons  of  Hopkins  v.  Kay     ■  Illustrates  the  increased  potential  liability  and  risk   incurred  by  health  institutions  and  workers.   ■  Victims  no  longer  reliant  on  the  Commissioner  to   seek  a  civil  suit.   ■  Actual  damages  no  longer  have  to  be  proved,  the   intrusion  alone  is  sufYicient  for  the  case.       ■  The  tort  of  intrusion  upon  seclusion  does  not  apply   to  claims  otherwise  covered  by  PHIPA.            Hopkins  v.  Kay,  2015  ONCA  112    
  20. 20. Grant  v.  Winnipeg  Regional  Health   Authority  et  al.,  2015  MBCA  44     Overview: ■  Charter violations and negligent disclosure of information. ■  Family sought damages after family member’s death. ■  On appeal, Justice Monnin: too early to dismiss the possibility to make a claim as the result of a privacy breach of a family member. Possible implications: ■  Potential privacy interest in genetic information (diseases, traits). ■  May open door to a much larger plaintiff base than observed in Hopkins.
  21. 21. Disciplinary  Ac(on    “Nurses  are  responsible  for  their  actions   and  the  consequences  of  those  actions.   They’re  also  accountable  for  conducting   themselves  in  ways  that  promote  respect   for  the  profession.”          -­‐Professional  Standards,  College  of  Nurses              of  Ontario  
  22. 22. Disciplinary  Ac(on,  cont’d   ■  Standard  punishment  for  misconduct   (3-­‐month  suspension  of  licence).     ■  Potential  of  actions  reoccuring.     ■  Does  not  order  disclosure  of  offence   when  seeking  new  employment.  
  23. 23. Conclusions   ■  Can  the  alternatives  be  strengthened?     ■  Overhaul  of  failing  privacy  and   health  legislation   §  e-­‐PHIPA  (Bill  78)   ■  Reassess  disciplinary  measures  for     privacy  breaches  
  24. 24. Conclusions,  cont’d   ▪  Class  actions  can  allow  greater  to  justice  for   those  that  would  otherwise  be  unable  to  bring   claim.   ■  Review  of  policies,  education  and  training  by  health   facilities.   ▪  Use  tort  of  intrusion  upon  seclusion  in  class   actions  should  encourage  stronger  protection   of  personal  health  information  by  health   facilities.  
  25. 25. Thank  You  For  Listening!   Contact     ▪  Twitter  -­‐  @OmarHaRedeye     ▪  LinkedIn  -­‐  ca.linkedin.com/in/torontolawyer     ▪  Email  -­‐  Omar@FleetStreetLaw.com     ▪  Facebook  -­‐  www.facebook.com/TO.Lawyer  

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