The exponential growth of privacy law

Featured as a Canadian privacy expert

IF THERE’S ANY doubt that the complexities of privacy law make it the many-headed Hydra facing Canadian business these days, consider this fact: privacy law considerations have become so ubiquitous that they have even caught the attention of oenophiles desirous of keeping their drinking habits to themselves.

It turns out that the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) has a policy that requires wine clubs to submit a purchase list for their order along with the names, addresses and telephone numbers of club members, together with the details of individual orders. When the Toronto-based Vin de Garde Wine Club refused to include the personal information, the LCBO refused to fulfill its order. The club launched a privacy complaint to the Information and Privacy Commissioner (IPC) of Ontario, who provides independent reviews of government decisions regarding privacy under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

“Now I practise exclusively in the area, and in my view, it has become so specialized that lawyers who don’t practise privacy law full-time probably don’t know enough about it to advise clients properly, especially because the breadth and complexity of the issues just keep growing“

“The Commissioner ruled that the LCBO’s collection process was in breach of the legislation’s privacy provisions, ordered the Board to cease collecting the information and to destroy all existing records,” says Alexandra Mayeski of Mayeski Law Personal Corporation, whose advocacy and litigation practice from offices in Picton and Toronto includes a focus on privacy and wine industry law.

The LCBO filed for judicial review. Ian Blue of Toronto’s Gardiner Roberts LLP, who is co-counsel for the Wine Club with Arnold Schwisberg of Markham, advises that, as of press time, a hearing on the matter was set for September 12, 2013. The oenophiles of the world will be watching. > So will the Canadian business community, a group that probably doesn’t have the same benign feelings as wine lovers might about the growth of privacy law in this country. Indeed, privacy law has become so ubiquitous – some would say intrusive – that chief privacy officers (CPO) have become a mainstay of corporate management teams in many sectors. Canadian Tire, for example, has CPOs in several business units.
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This content has been updated on August 23, 2014 at 14 h 14 min.