I previously wrote about the case Hopkins v Kay, a class action lawsuit against a hospital and its employees. It is alleged that hospital employees wrongfully accessed about 280 patient records.
The defendants argued that they could not be sued because breaches to health records fell under the jurisdiction of the Information and Privacy Commissioner.
The Court of Appeal disagreed with the defendants and ruled that the class action could proceed. The Court’s decision ensured that the law kept pace with the change in technology.
In order for our legal system to maintain its legitimacy, the law must keep up with the times. We live in an era where privacy violations impact business. For example, when Target and Home Depot’s data was compromised, their stock prices plummeted. So it would be absurd if our law did not redress such violations.
After the Court of Appeal released its decision, the defendants appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada. On October 30, 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada released its decision, denying leave to appeal:
The applications for leave to appeal from the judgment of the Court of Appeal for Ontario, Number C58403, 2015 ONCA 112 (CanLII), dated February 18, 2015, are dismissed without costs.
It is unfortunate that the Supreme Court of Canada denied leave to appeal. The Supreme Court could have developed the tort of breach of privacy.
The law on privacy is a pressing concern and requires further clarification. It’s been said that more data has been created in the last two years than ever before. And more data means more privacy breaches. “More data, more problems.”