Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ontario Appeal court on employee expectation of privacy on a work-provided laptop

Dan Michaluk, over at, writes about an interesting case from the Ontario Court of Appeal that has an interesting (and now leading) case on an employee's expectation of privacy on a work-provided laptop computer. Here's a portion of the post, which can be found here: Ontario Work Computer Search Case – Privacy Concerns Real but Employers Still may Govern — Slaw.

Justice Karakatsanis wrote for the Court of Appeal. She assumed that the Charter applied to the board and found the teacher had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the contents of his laptop based on the following factors:
  • he had exclusive possession of the laptop;
  • he had permission to use it for personal use;
  • he had permission to take it home on evenings, weekends and summer vacation;
  • there was no evidence the board actively monitored teachers’ use of laptops;
  • the board had no clear and unambiguous policy to monitor, search or police the teacher’s use of his laptop.

The case is here: R. v. Cole, 2011 ONCA 218.

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