Case Report – BCCA dismisses background check action

On May 5th, the British Columbia Court of Appeal dismissed a $520 million action against the province and a Ministry of Children and Family Development employee for alleged improprieties in answering a background check made by a funded agency.

The Court held that the lower court should have disposed of the action under British Columbia’s summary trial rule. It held that the Ministry employee was not in sufficient proximity to the plaintiff given her conflicting statutory duty to children and family members. It also held there was no evidence of malice to support a misfeasance in public office claim and to negate a qualified privilege defence to a defamation claim.

Last May the Court ordered a British Columbia FIPPA complaint arising out of the same facts back to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of British Columbia to address whether the Ministry breached the accuracy provision of the Act. (Summary here.) It appears that the OPIC has not yet issued a finding.

Harrison v. British Columbia (Children and Family Development), 2010 BCCA 220.

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