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Privacy and Freedom of Expression: A Difficult Balance
Just as privacy rights gain new footing by the Ontario Court of Appeal's decision to recognize the tort of “intrusion upon seclusion,” Alberta's highest court has taken an important turn by questioning the legitimacy of legislative protections against the collection, use, and disclosure of personal information in the context of a labour dispute. In United Food
and Commercial Workers, Local 401 v. Alberta (Attorney General), the Alberta Court of Appeal declared that the Alberta Personal Information Protection Act unconstitutionally restricts labour unions from recording images of individuals as they cross picket lines. Although the Court chose not to strike or read down the legislation, the panel unanimously condemned the broad application of PIPA to activities engaging any form of protected free expression. This article introduces the United Food decision and offers a brief discussion of the Court's analysis and conclusions based on existing Charter jurisprudence. Until further consideration by the Supreme Court of Canada, this appellate decision is likely to garner active discussion and debate among privacy law practitioners and scholars alike. Written by Martin P.J. Kratz, Sebastien Gittens and Ciara Toole and published in the Canadian Privacy Law Review, Volume 9, Number 9.