Thursday, January 30, 2014

Alberta's Bare Minimum Response to UFCW by Greg

I've commented before on the apparent consequences of the Supreme Court's ruling in Alberta (Information and Privacy Commissioner) v. United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 401, 2013 SCC 62 ("UFCW") - theorizing that the constitutional issues raised by the invalidity of privacy legislation where it interfered with picketing might raise a wider range of concerns.

But for now, it looks like Alberta is limiting its response to patching the specific constitutional weakness identified in UFCW (emphasis added):

"It is the government's intention to pass the amendments early in the fall 2014 session to comply with the court's ruling," Gerald Kastendieck, a spokesman for Service Alberta, said Wednesday.

He said the amendments would focus on unions and picketing. There won't be a general review of the 10-year-old legislation this year.

Now, it's doubtful that any other challenge to the amended PIPA would make its way through the court system before the scheduled general review process. But Alberta's choice not to respond to UFCW with a meaningful review of the proper scope and content of privacy legislation means another jurisdiction with a similar statute on its books may need to take the lead instead. And if other jurisdictions follow Alberta's choice to kick the can down the road, it may be necessary for Canada's appellate courts to weigh in again to ensure that Charter rights aren't unduly affected by privacy legislation.

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