Supreme Court of Canada Grants Leave to Hear Appeal of Alberta Court of Appeal Decision

June 17, 2010

The Supreme Court of Canada has granted the Information and Privacy Commissioner leave to appeal the decision of the Court of Appeal in Alberta Teachers’ Association v. Alberta (Information and Privacy Commissioner).

The case involves complaints filed by a group of individuals that personal information had been disclosed in contravention of the Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA). The Adjudicator ruled in favour of the individuals, but Court of Queen’s Bench quashed the decision on the basis the Commissioner had lost jurisdiction because he did not complete the inquiry within the time set out in PIPA. The Court of Appeal upheld the Court of Queen’s Bench decision.

The Supreme Court of Canada will consider the consequences that ought to flow when a tribunal breaches a statutory time limit, and whether it is appropriate for a court, on judicial review, to review a matter that has not been decided by the tribunal.

The Supreme Court decision to hear the case is particularly important for Albertans’ privacy remedies afforded them under PIPA.