The Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) has declared the Alberta Personal Information Protection Act to be unconstitutional in a decision released November 15, 2013.
In Alberta (Information and Privacy Commissioner) v. United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 401, 2013 SCC 6, the court explored the picketing and the role that privacy legislation played in video surveillance during labour unrest. The SCC upheld the Alberta Court of Appeal’s decision that the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) union was entitled to record and distribute images and recordings of individuals crossing a picket line pursuant to section 2b of the Canadian Charter of Rights & Freedoms. The top court held that this entitlement was enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights & Freedoms which superseded a person’s privacy rights under the Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA). The SCC went on to find that the PIPA was overly broad and the infringement of UFCW’s freedom of expression was not saved by section 1 of the Charter.
While the decision only dealt with privacy legislation in Alberta, it is likely that the decision will impact provinces that have similar legislation such as British Columbia & Manitoba.