Tuesday, March 15, 2005

New PIPEDA finding: Collection of health information by employer

The first summary finding of 2005 has been released by the Canadian Privacy Commissioner. In it, the Commissioner concludes that the complainant's employer did not violate PIPEDA by seeking medical information about the employee who occupies a "safety sensitive" position. The complainant also alleged that the employer collected information directly from his/her physician without consent, a complaint that was well-founded.

Commissioner's Findings - PIPEDA Case Summary #287: Request for medical information deemed reasonable, but consent procedures not properly followed - January 5, 2005 - Privacy Commissioner of Canada:

"...An employee of a transportation company made two allegations against his employer: (1) that his employer was requiring him to provide more medical information than necessary and would not allow him to return to his position until he supplied the information; and (2) that the company obtained medical information about him from his doctor without his consent...."

I am informed by a colleague who made an inquiry of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner that finding summaries are going to be published less frequently than in the past. This is unfortunate. Desipte their serious shortcomings, these findings provide the only insight into the Commissoner's thought process and also make good case studies to teach companies how to deal with PIPEDA.

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