The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) governs the collection, use and disclosure of personal information by organizations regarding commercial activities. PIPEDA generally prohibits disclosure of personal information without the knowledge and consent of the affected individual. On November 17, 2016 the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) released a decision clarifying the application of certain exceptions to this general prohibition.

The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) was a judgment creditor of the defendants in the case and was seeking a mortgage discharge statement in order to sell the mortgaged property. RBC brought a motion to compel the Bank of Nova Scotia, the mortgagee, to produce the discharge statement.

Overturning a majority ruling of the Ontario Court of Appeal, the SCC held that the order sought by RBC constituted an “order made by a court” under subsection 7(3)(c) of PIPEDA and ordered production of the discharge statement. The SCC clarified that PIPEDA does not interfere with the court’s ability to make orders. The motion judge had the power under either the Ontario Rules of Civil Procedure or the inherent jurisdiction of the court to order disclosure.

The SCC also held that, under the circumstances, consent from the defendants was implied given that the personal information sought was not sensitive and that a reasonable person borrowing money knows that if the person defaults on a loan, the creditor will be entitled to recover the debt against the person’s assets.

For the entire decision please see: http://tinyurl.com/zx6fdor

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