Media Advisory: Ontario must fix its uniquely defective privacy protection laws

Media Advisory: The Ontario Civil Liberties Association (OCLA) asked each of the leaders of the four main political parties of Ontario to commit to fixing the egregiously flawed access to information and protection of privacy laws of Ontario.

To this date, the government and the leaders have refused to answer.

The OCLA letters of request are posted here: http://ocla.ca/letters-to-on-party-leaders-employees-personal-information/

The issue is not complicated. Public institution employers cannot be shielded from privacy protection obligations in a free and democratic society, and employees must be allowed access to their own personal information, following universal norms among all free nations.

Ontario has gone astray in this vital area of human decency.

No other province or jurisdiction in Canada excludes employee records from the protection of its access and privacy law.   

For example, a government employer can capture and use the most intimate childhood, relational and personality information of an employee, without ever obtaining authorization or consent or ever informing the employee. 

There is a present case in Ontario in which precisely such an abuse has occurred at a public institution. The case has given rise to a lengthy ongoing constitutional challenge of the impugned statutory provision.

But the ultimate solution is for Ontario lawmakers to avoid such problems by simply fixing undemocratic laws, irrespective of the outcomes of constitutional challenges. The applicant in the constitutional challenge has asked the Attorney General Yasir Naqvi to do this, but has received no response.

Furthermore, there is a history of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for Ontario formally requesting that lawmakers fix the law by removing the offending provisions in two Ontario information laws. The said history is reviewed and documented in the court-filed record of the constitutional challenge. The OCLA has posted the said court-filed record on its web site here: http://ocla.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/ALL-PUB-ONDC-17-DC-2279-All-arguments-unconstitutionality-of-FIPPA.pdf

The Ontario Civil Liberties Association (OCLA) advocates for civil and human rights, including the rights of all persons in dealings with public and private institutions and corporations.  The OCLA will continue to attempt to get provincial politicians to learn about and fix the Ontario access to information and privacy protection statutes.

Contact:

Joseph Hickey
Executive Director
Ontario Civil Liberties Association (OCLA) http://ocla.ca
joseph.hickey@ocla.ca

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