Privacy, Trusts and Cross-Border Transfers of Personal Information

A recent paper entitled “Privacy, Trusts and Cross-Border Transfers of Personal Information: The Quebec Perspective in the Canadian Context” co-authored with my colleague Pierre-Christian Hoffman has been published in Dalhousie Law Journal, Vol. 37, No. 1, November 2014, and is also available on SSRN.

In this paper, we argue that data protection laws (PIPEDA and substantially similar laws from British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec) apply to prevent the disclosure of certain information relating to trusts, which are increasingly being used as business and investment vehicles.

Given the broad scope of the concept of “personal information” found under both provincial and federal personal information protection statutes, arguments can be made that information relating to trust beneficiaries or trustees, where such beneficiaries or trustees are natural persons, enjoy some level of protection. Even where a trust contains an express choice of law clause providing that the laws of another province or country apply, Quebec conflict of laws rules may point to the application of Quebec’s own personal information protection legislation. Hence, in order to avoid liability, we argue that trustees should use caution before disclosing trust-related information where part of the trust’s business operations is outsourced to foreign jurisdictions, or where a foreign authority may request the disclosure of such information.

This content has been updated on November 15, 2014 at 18 h 23 min.