On May 13, 2003, the Federal Court of Canada in L’Ecuyer v. Aéroports de Montréal (May 13, 2003),  F.C. 573, overturned a decision of the federal Privacy Commissioner and decided that neither the Court nor the Privacy Commissioner has jurisdiction to hear employment related complaints involving the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), where the parties were bound by a collective agreement. The complainant brought a complaint against her employer for sharing a denial of a request for information (the personal information) with her union representatives and with an employee relations officer, without her consent. The Commissioner found that the complaint was well-founded against the employer with respect to the disclosures to the union representatives, but was not well-founded with respect to the employee relations officer. As permitted under PIPEDA, the complainant then sought her remedies in a hearing before the Federal Court. That Court, however, made the following findings: (1) the labour arbitration panel under the Labour Relations Code has exclusive jurisdiction to hear employment related grievances and hence neither the Federal Court nor the Privacy Commissioner can decide the case; and (2) the employer was justified in sending the personal information to the union representatives since prior correspondence between the parties indicated that the union should be copied on all future correspondence involving the complainant and the employer. The complainant was representing herself.
For a copy of the Federal Court’s decision (in French), please visit:
For the Privacy Commissioner’s decision, please visit
For a copy of PIPEDA, please visit:
For the Canadian Labour Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. L-2, please visit:
Summary by: Nicholas J. Whalen.