Monday, November 03, 2014

SCC grants Alberta privacy law a reprieve, legislature gets another six months to fix unconstitutional privacy law

Last week the Supreme Court of Canada, following a motion brought by the government of Alberta, extended the life of the Personal Information Protection Act by six months. Readers may recall that the "nuclear option" was exercised in the Information and Privacy Commissioner, et al. v. United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 401, et al. case. The Court found that a portion of that Act was unconstitutional but, at the request of the Information and Privacy Commissioner and Government of Alberta, the entire statute was declared to be unconstitutional but with the declaration of invalidity suspended for twelve months. The idea was that the Alberta government would be able to get its ducks in a row and fix it in that time. We'll, that's not how it panned out and the clock was ticking down to November 14, 2014.

Cap in hand, the Alberta Government filed a motion in the Court to extend the suspension period by six further months and, on October 30, 2014, the Chief Justice of the Court granted the motion:

Decision on miscellaneous motion, CJ, UPON APPLICATION by the appellant, the Attorney General of Alberta, for an order extending the suspension of the declaration of invalidity of the Personal Information Protection Act, S.A. 2003 c. P-6.5, as granted in this appeal on November 15, 2013, for a period of six months;

AND THE MATERIAL FILED having been read;


The motion is granted without costs. The suspension of the declaration of invalidity is extended for a period of six months from the original deadline set by this Court in the judgment dated November 15, 2013.

Granted, without costs

What is particularly shocking is that -- I am told -- the trade union involved in the case opposed the motion for the extension. If the legislation "fell", all members of the trade union and all employees in the provincially regulated sector would have been without privacy protection. That strikes me as absurd.

No comments: