Banks prohibited by PIPEDA from disclosing mortgage discharge statement

In an interesting decision released today, the Ontario Court of Appeal held in Citi Cards Canada Inc. v. Pleasance, 2011 ONCA 3, that PIPEDA prohibits banks from disclosing mortgage discharge statements to a third party.

Citi had a credit card debt against Pleasance and sought to enforce judgment through a sheriff’s sale of Pleasance’s home.  But the sheriff would not act without mortgage discharge statements, which the banks refused to provide on the basis that disclosure would be in breach of privacy rights under PIPEDA.  The Court called this a “knotty and interesting question”, but upheld the lower court decision prohibiting disclosure.  The Court held that mortgage discharge statements contain “personal information” which is not publicly available, that Citi’s interests (as a third party) are not factored in the balancing of interests under PIPEDA, and that Citi could have pursued alternate remedies through a judgment debtor exam or order in aid of execution.

A link to the decision is here.