Federal Court


Privacy Legislation

GENERAL

Conclusions in report of Office of Privacy Commissioner were reasonable

Applicant complained that Department of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) improperly collected personal information from her employer in connection with its Targeted Wage Subsidy Program. Office of Privacy Commissioner (“OPC”) commenced formal investigation and advised applicant of investigation and invited her to submit additional information, which she did. HRSDC also made submissions, including fact it was unsuccessful in finding any files pertaining to applicant, and time for file retention had expired. Individuals interviewed by investigator had no recollection of events. Report concluded applicant’s name, phone number and SIN were collected, and this constituted personal information under s. 3 of Privacy Act (Can.), and Department had collected information as part of its mandate, but it could not conclude whether collection was without applicant’s consent given 12 years has passed and program no longer existed. Application for judicial review of report issued. Application dismissed. OPC’s operation as ombudsman, issuance of non-binding reports and master of own procedure militated against highly formal proceedings. Applicant had ample opportunity to make submissions and did so, and there was no indication of bias or reasonable apprehension thereof. Given investigators findings and numerous unsuccessful attempts to obtain information from HRSDC, the report’s conclusions were reasonable and the reasons were justified, transparent and intelligible.

W. (E.) v. Canada (Privacy Commissioner) (Dec. 24, 2015, F.C., Alan S. Diner J., T-125-13) 263 A.C.W.S. (3d) 1062.

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