Privacy Breach Class Action Update. Privacy Commissioner says Health Canada violated privacy laws (french)
24 juin 2015
Shortly after the breach occurred, three lawsuits were filed:
- McInnes Cooper of NS filed a lawsuit on behalf of “John Doe”, a resident of Nova Scotia, in the Federal Court
- Branch McMaster of BC filed a lawsuits on behalf of an individual who chose to identify himself in the Federal Court; and
- Sutts Strosberg of Ontario filed a lawsuit on behalf of “Suzie Jones”, a resident of Ontario, in the Ontario Superior Court.
All three cases were filed with the intent they would be certified as class actions on behalf of all similarly affected participants in the Marihuana Medical Access Program (MMAP). Consolidation. When multiple lawsuits related to the same matter are filed, efficiency and justice require them to be consolidated to avoid duplication. The three law firms have agreed to work together to take best advantage of their respective expertise for the efficient management of the case. McInnes Cooper’s “John Doe” and “Suzie Jones” cases have been consolidated into one case in the Federal Court. Proposed Plaintiffs’ Identities. “John Doe” and “Suzie Jones” are pseudonyms for the proposed representative plaintiffs so their identities would not become known. In most cases, parties to a legal action must name themselves, and this information appears on the public record. However, the case against Health Canada is based on the disclosure of program members’ identities in association with the MMAP; requiring participants in these lawsuits to name themselves would further harm their privacy. Court Order to Protect Plaintiffs’ Identities. McInnes Cooper filed a motion for a court order protecting the identities of “John Doe” and “Suzie Jones”. On February 20, 2014, the Federal Court heard this motion. On February 25, 2014 the Court gave its decision. The Court agreed that denying the plaintiffs’ anonymity would disclose the very information they seek to protect, and exacerbate the damage and/or risk of harm already caused by Health Canada’s mailing that identified them as a participant in the MMAP. Click here to read more about the Federal Court’s decision. Appeal of Order Protecting Plaintiffs’ Identity. Health Canada is appealing the Court’s order. The Court is expected to hear the appeal in mid-May. Next Steps. After the appeal, we expect the next stage will be an application to the Federal Court to have the case certified as a class action. Keeping Plaintiffs Informed. As this matter progresses, we will be posting updates on a website which has been created to keep members informed: www.marijuanaclassaction.com Visiting the website is the best way to keep up to date on this lawsuit. We can send information about major milestones by mail for those without regular internet access. You should be aware that lawsuits like this one can take considerable time to progress, though we will be pressing very hard to have it resolved as quickly as we can. Questionnaire. The www.marijuanaclassaction.com website contains a detailed questionnaire. You should complete this questionnaire even if you have already completed the questionnaire on the McInnes Cooper website. Although you may not have easy access to a computer, you can attempt to complete this questionnaire in any event, perhaps with the assistance of a trusted friend or family member. We are unable to complete the questionnaire on your behalf as it is a confidential document that will provide you with an ID number and will require a personal question for you to answer that only you will know.
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