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RSNL1990 CHAPTER P-22

PRIVACY ACT

Amended:

1995 cL-16.1 s30(3); 1996 c31

CHAPTER P-22

AN ACT RESPECTING THE PROTECTION OF PERSONAL PRIVACY

Analysis



Short title

        1. This Act may be cited as the Privacy Act.

1981 c6 s1

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Definition

        2. In this Act "individual" means a natural person.

1981 c6 s2

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Violation of privacy

        3. (1) It is a tort, actionable without proof of damage, for a person, wilfully and without a claim of right, to violate the privacy of an individual.

             (2)  The nature and degree of privacy to which an individual is entitled in a situation or in relation to a matter is that which is reasonable in the circumstances, regard being given to the lawful interests of others; and in determining whether the act or conduct of a person constitutes a violation of the privacy of an individual, regard shall be given to the nature, incidence, and occasion of the act or conduct and to the relationship, whether domestic or other, between the parties.

1981 c6 s3

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Examples

        4. Proof that there has been

             (a)  surveillance, auditory or visual, whether or not accomplished by trespass, of an individual, by any means including eavesdropping, watching, spying, harassing or following;

             (b)  listening to or recording of a conversation in which an individual participates, or listening to or recording of messages to or from that individual passing by means of telecommunications, otherwise than as a lawful party to them;

             (c)  use of the name or likeness or voice of an individual for the purposes of advertising or promoting the sale of, or other trading in, property or services, or for other purposes of advantage to the user where, in the course of the use, the individual is identified or identifiable and the user intended to exploit the name or likeness or voice of that individual; or

             (d)  use of letters, diaries or other personal documents of an individual,

without the consent, expressed or implied, of the individual or some other person who has the lawful authority to give the consent is, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, proof of a violation of the privacy of the individual first mentioned.

1981 c6 s4

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Defences

        5. (1) An act or conduct is not a violation of privacy where

             (a)  it is consented to by some person entitled to consent;

             (b)  the act or conduct was incidental to the exercise of a lawful right of defence of person or property;

             (c)  the act or conduct was authorized or required under a law in force in the province or by a court or a process of a court; or

             (d)  the act or conduct was that of

                      (i)  a peace officer acting in the course of his or her duty for the prevention, discovery or investigation of crime or of the discovery or apprehension of the perpetrators of a crime, or

                     (ii)  a public officer engaged in an investigation in the course of his or her duty under a law of the province,

and was neither disproportionate to the gravity of the crime or matter subject to the investigation nor committed in the course of a trespass.

             (2)  A publication of a matter is not a violation of privacy where

             (a)  the matter published was of public interest or was fair comment on a matter of public interest; or

             (b)  the publication was, under the rules of law relating to defamation, privileged,

but this subsection does not extend to another act or conduct where the matter published was obtained where the other act or conduct was itself a violation of privacy.

             (3)  In this section

             (a)  "court" includes a person authorized by law to administer an oath or affirmation for the taking of evidence acting for the purposes for which the person is authorized to take evidence; and

             (b)  "crime" includes an offence against a law of the province.

1981 c6 s5

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Remedies

        6. (1) In an action for violation of privacy, the court may do the following:

             (a)  award damages;

             (b)  grant an injunction;

             (c)  order the defendant to account to the plaintiff, for profits that have accrued or that may later accrue to the defendant because of the violation;

             (d)  order the defendant to deliver to the plaintiff articles or documents that have come into the defendant's possession because of the violation; or

             (e)  grant other relief to the plaintiff that appears necessary under the circumstances.

             (2)  In awarding damages in an action for violation of privacy of an individual, the court may disregard an order made under paragraph (1)(c) in respect of the violation of privacy.

1981 c6 s6

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Additional remedies

        7. (1) The right of action for violation of privacy under this Act and the remedies under this Act are in addition to, and not in derogation of, another right of action or other remedy available otherwise than under this Act.

             (2)  This section shall not be construed as requiring damages awarded in an action for violation of privacy to be disregarded in assessing damages in other proceedings arising out of the same act, conduct or publication constituting the violation of privacy.

1981 c6 s7

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Court

        8. An action for violation of privacy shall be heard and determined by the Trial Division.

1981 c6 s8

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Paramountcy

        9. (1) This Act applies where there is a violation of the privacy of an individual.

             (2)  Where there is a conflict between this Act and another Act, whether general or special, this Act prevails.

1981 c6 s9

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Rep. by 1995 cL-16.1 s30(3)

     10. [Rep. by 1995 cL-16.1 s30(3)]

1995 cL-16.1 s30(3)

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Death

     11. A right of action for violation of privacy is extinguished by the death of the individual whose privacy is alleged to have been violated.

1981 c6 s11

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Crown bound

     12. This Act binds the Crown.

1981 c6 s12

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Action barred

     13. No action lies against the minister or his or her designate under this Act as a result of the disclosure of information regarding the criminal history of a person which, in the opinion of the minister or his or her designate, it is in the public interest to disclose.

1996 c31 s2