BCSC says PIPA does not have quasi-constitutional status

The British Columbia Supreme Court issued an oral judgment last January that appears to just recently have been published. The Court found that the clear right to membership information given to members of a co-op under the British Columbia Cooperative Association Act does not conflict with  prohibitions in the British Columbia PIPA and is not superseded by  prohibitions in British Columbia PIPA. Justice Gaul commented:

While the respondent is correct in noting that the Supreme Court of Canada in Lavigne considered the “quasi‑constitutional” nature of privacy legislation, the court did so with specific reference to the Privacy Act RSC, 1985, c. P-21. This federal legislation focuses on the privacy obligations of governmental organizations as opposed to private organizations. That is an important distinction when it comes to the case before me because the PIPA is a legislative enactment designed to govern the privacy obligations of private organizations. I am unpersuaded that the PIPA has any “quasi-constitutional” roots or purpose that would give it the special status the respondent argues it has.

The Court issued a declaration that any member of the respondent co-op in good standing may obtain a copy of its membership list.

Pearson v Peninsula Consumer Services Cooperative, 2012 BCSC 1725 (CanLII).

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