Alberta’s privacy law unconstitutional

Supreme Court ruled law violated union's right to freedom of expression
By Liz Foster
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 12/16/2013

Following a Supreme Court of Canada ruling, the Alberta government is working to strike a balance between the right to privacy and the right to freedom of expression.

The Supreme Court found Alberta’s Personal Information Privacy Act (PIPA) violated a union’s right to free expression. A nine-member panel unanimously ruled the privacy legislation was unconstitutional, saying it violated the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 401’s right to free speech by blocking its ability to photograph and film workers crossing a picket line.

The picket line was part of a 305-day strike at the Palace Casino in the West Edmonton Mall in 2006. Local 401 and management hired a security firm to film and photograph the picket line and posted signs warning images of workers crossing the picket line could be posted online.