NEWS

Jim Prentice warned by Alberta privacy boss over legislature delay

09/24/2014 11:12 EDT | Updated 11/24/2014 05:59 EST
Alberta's privacy commissioner warned Premier Jim Prentice this morning that delaying the start of the legislative session will force her office to miss a deadline set by the Supreme Court to update privacy legislation.

Prentice has delayed the session until late November, which won't give enough time to amend Alberta's Personal Information Protection Act before the deadline set by the Supreme Court last fall. 

The Supreme Court struck down the law in a case in which a union, Local 401 of the United Food and Commercial Workers, photographed and videotaped people crossing a picket line during a casino strike. Despite notification posted at the site saying anyone who crossed would be recorded, several people complained and cited the act — and it's jurisdiction to limit the collection, use and disclosure of personal information — in their submission to the privacy commissioner.

In its unanimous decision, the court sided with the union's rights to record the public gathering and threw out the whole law.

The court gave Alberta 12 months to fix the problem, setting the deadline for Nov. 15.

Privacy Commissioner Jill Clayton sent a letter to the premier Wednesday morning saying she is concerned about the effect the delay will have for her office.

She also flagged the problems it could cause for hundreds of open files currently working their way through her office.

The files, including privacy breaches and complaint investigations, could be affected by the delay.

Clayton said that if the law is not amended by the deadline, Albertans and local businesses could stand to lose.

The act includes mandatory privacy breach reporting and notification to individuals if their personal information is stolen or compromised.

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