A while back, there was an important privacy case about the use of video surveillance in the workplace. It’s mostly known as the Eastman case, and it was about a group of employees who complained to the OPC when their employer, CP Rail, put up a series of video cameras in the train yards. It’s a relatively famous case because it was the first time the court endorsed what is now known as the four-part test for reasonableness. If you want to know what those four parts are, just read the case or email me.
I’m mentioning this case now, not because of I want to speak about the four-part test, but because the case has always intrigued me for another reason. When the matter was before the OPC and they were investigating things, CP Rail didn’t really take it seriously. You can tell by the OPC decision. In the end, the OPC concluded that the use of video cameras by CP wasn’t appropriate and that it violated PIPEDA.
They recommended (don’t even get me started on the fact that they can only recommend solutions) that the cameras be taken down. CP refused and left it at that. Of course, that meant that in order to have any remedy at all, the employee (Eastman) had to pursue the matter himself by taking CP to court.
It was at court that CP took the case more seriously and provided some excellent evidence to support their decision to install the cameras. And, by golly, it worked! Lesson learned? Take privacy seriously only when you really have to?...
I’m mentioning this because there’s a news story below that is eerily familiar. Read on for the details, but let’s just say that I hope the Court doesn’t really allow someone who ignores privacy rights (very important ones at that!) a second kick at the can just because they didn’t take the matter seriously the first time around.
And look. I barely made a case here for real enforcement powers this time. Just so I don't sound like a broken record.
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