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March 29 2016

Federal court affirms compliance with PIPEDA for employers

The Federal Court recently underscored the importance of compliance with the requirements of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) in a decision that applies only to federal works and undertakings subject to the Act.

In Cote v. Day & Ross, 2015 FC 1283, Justice Harrington affirmed that: employers governed by PIPEDA must respond to requests by employees for their personal information file within 30 days, reasons must be provided when refusing to provide full and complete information in response to a request, a personal information file may also include third-party information about an employee, and that the trend of awarding nominal damages for breach is ongoing.

Companies should continue to be alert to their obligations under PIPEDA, and the decision in Cote emphasizes the importance of reviewing employee privacy policies and practices to ensure that access requests are addressed in a responsive and timely manner.