Amendments to Alberta's Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA), originating in Bill 3, came into force on December 17, 2014. As discussed in our November 2014 Blakes Bulletin: Privacy Exceptions for Picketing: Alberta's Proposed Changes to PIPA, these amendments are the Alberta government's response to the 2013 decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in Alberta (Information and Privacy Commissioner) v. United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 401, in which the court struck down PIPA on the basis that it infringed trade union freedom of expression.

The newly enacted amendments to PIPA address the collection, use and disclosure of personal information by a trade union in connection with a labour dispute. No broader changes to the legislation were made at this time. However, PIPA is slated for comprehensive review starting no later than July 1, 2015.

As amended, PIPA allows for the collection, use and disclosure of personal information by a trade union, without the consent of the individual to whom the personal information pertains, where all of the following conditions are met:

  • The collection, use or disclosure of personal information is for the purpose of informing or persuading the public about a matter of significant public interest or importance relating to a labour relations dispute involving the trade union;
  • The collection, use or disclosure is reasonably necessary for that purpose; and
  • It is reasonable to collect, use or disclose the personal information without consent for that purpose, taking into consideration all relevant circumstances, including the nature and sensitivity of the information.

Trade unions relying on these changes to PIPA will still need to abide by other key components of the legislation, including the use of reasonable security arrangements to protect personal information, reasonable retention and destruction measures, and the accommodation of requests for access to and correction of personal information.