A Right to be Forgotten Online: A Response to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner Draft Position

By: Emily Laidlaw

PDF Version: A Right to be Forgotten Online: A Response to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner Draft Position

Document Commented On: Draft OPC Position on Online Reputation

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC) published its draft position on online reputation last week stating that the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, SC 2000, c-5 (PIPEDA) provides a right to de-index search results (remove a link to a webpage from search results based on a keyword search) and a right to source takedown (removal of a webpage from the host site). De-indexing and source takedown are specific ways that a person might deploy a right to be forgotten, an issue hotly debated for several years, but especially since the Court of Justice of the European Union decided Google Spain SL, Google Inc v Agencia Espanola de Proeccion de Datos (AEPD), Marios Costeja Gonzalez, (2014) Case C-131/12 (known as Google Spain). Scholars have already responded to the OPC, such as here, here and here. I offer a different commentary, reflecting my first critical thoughts on three key issues arising from the report: (a) the public interest test suggested by the OPC to balance freedom of expression and privacy; (b) the role of private technology companies; and (c) the blurring of the line between data protection and defamation regimes. While I will discuss source takedown briefly (and for a more thorough analysis of intermediary liability and defamation law, see my work with Dr. Hilary Young here), the focus in this post will largely be on search results.  Continue reading

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Posted in Internet Law, Privacy | Leave a comment

Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench Introduces the Accelerated Habeas Corpus Review Procedure

By: Amy Matychuk

PDF Version: Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench Introduces the Accelerated Habeas Corpus Review Procedure

Case Commented On: Latham v Her Majesty the Queen, 2018 ABQB 69 (CanLII)

In an attempt to address the proliferation of habeas corpus applications from inmates in Alberta institutions, the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench (Edmonton) has introduced a new procedure to prevent vexatious habeas corpus applications from wasting court resources. Habeas corpus is a constitutional remedy for an unlawful loss of liberty (see s 10(c) of the Charter, which provides for the right “to have the validity of … detention determined by way of habeas corpus and to be released if the detention is not lawful.”) Since 2014, Alberta inmates have attempted to use habeas corpus to air an increasing number of grievances about their conditions of detention. Because the only remedy available on a habeas corpus application is release from detention, it applies narrowly to deprivations of liberty within an institution (such as transfers from lower to higher security) and is useless as a means of addressing complaints about prison conditions. Nevertheless, Alberta inmates appear either to have misunderstood this limitation or to have ignored it, and the Court of Queen’s Bench has introduced a procedure designed to keep the most senseless of these applications from reaching the hearing stage and thus wasting judicial time.

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So Help Me God: ALRI Recommends Changes to Make the Alberta Evidence Act More Inclusive

By: Laura Buckingham

PDF Version: So Help Me God: ALRI Recommends Changes to Make the Alberta Evidence Act More Inclusive

Report Commented On: Alberta Law Reform Institute, Competence and Communication in the Alberta Evidence Act, Final Report 111

It might not be surprising that the first version of the Alberta Evidence Act, adopted in 1910, required judges to investigate the religious beliefs of certain witnesses. What is surprising is that more than a century later, these requirements are still in force in Alberta. Under Alberta law, children, adults with cognitive impairment, and anyone who wishes to make an affirmation instead of swearing an oath may be questioned about their religious beliefs before they are allowed to give evidence. Continue reading

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Court Dismisses Allegations that Long-Term Care Residents Subsidize Their Health Care Costs

By: Lorian Hardcastle

PDF Version: Court Dismisses Allegations that Long-Term Care Residents Subsidize Their Health Care Costs

Cases Commented On: Alberta v Elder Advocates of Alberta Society, 2011 SCC 24 (CanLII) and Elder Advocates of Alberta Society v Alberta, 2018 ABQB 37 (CanLII)

Under provincial health insurance laws and the Canada Health Act, RSC 1985, c C-6, governments fund medically necessary hospital and physician care. There is also a patchwork of public programs (with varying eligibility criteria and co-payments) to subsidize services such as dental care, pharmaceuticals, home care, and long-term care. While the Alberta government pays for health services provided in long-term care facilities, residents pay accommodation charges. These charges, which cover such costs as housing, housekeeping, and meals, are borne by residents on the theory that they would incur such expenses if they were living in their homes in the community. The current accommodation charge ranges from $53.80 per day for a shared room to $65.50 per day for a private room.

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The Morality of #metoo

By: Alice Woolley

PDF Version: The Morality of #metoo

The forced resignation of Patrick Brown as leader of the Ontario Conservatives raises concerns of fairness and due process – for him and for the women accusing him. Christie Blatchford has castigated the party and other public officials for abandoning the “presumption of innocence”, and has highlighted the wrong of ruining a man’s reputation based on anonymous allegations. Others agree. Conversely, the Prime Minister reportedly said that women who made allegations of misconduct “must be believed” and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has said “I believe victims when they come forward”. Continue reading

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