On November 15, 2013, the Supreme Court held Alberta’s Personal Information Protection Act (“PIPA”) to be unconstitutional, holding that an individual’s right to freedom of expression in the labor strike context outweighs the individual’s right to control his or her information in public. The ruling is suspended for 12 months to give Alberta’s legislature time

This post was also written by Frederick Lah.

Standards for determining whether an employee has privacy rights with respect to an employer-issued communications device continue to develop. The analysis continues to be grounded in a detailed, fact-specific analysis of what the employee has been told, and permitted to do, by the employer. Recently, the Court of Appeals for Ontario found that a high school teacher had a reasonable expectation of privacy in personal information stored on his work computer based on the facts presented.

A high school teacher was issued a laptop by the school to take home and use on weekends for his exclusive personal use. In addition to keeping some personal files on the laptop — which was protected by a password determined by the teacher — the teacher allegedly possessed sexually explicit photos of a student at the high school where he was employed. When one of the school’s computer technicians noticed an unusual volume of activity on the teacher’s laptop, he investigated the teacher’s computer as part of his duties and found the photos. Upon informing the school’s principal of the photos, the school then handed the laptop over to the police who took a mirror image of the laptop’s hard drive without obtaining a warrant. The officer believed that any data, including personal data, on the school’s laptop belonged to the school. The teacher was arrested thereafter.

Continue Reading Canadian Court Finds Reasonable Expectation of Privacy on Work Computers