On November 15, 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada issued its decision in Alberta (Information and Privacy Commissioner) v. United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 401 (United Foods), ruling that Alberta’s Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) was unconstitutional and declaring it invalid. As noted in a previous post, the Court suspended the declaration of invalidity until November 15, 2014 in order to provide the legislature with sufficient time to decide how to best make the law constitutional.
As of the date of this post, the Alberta government has not tabled any amendment to PIPA. In response to growing concerns that PIPA may lapse, including those raised by Alberta’s Privacy Commissioner in a letter to Alberta’s Premier, the Alberta government has formally filed a motion with the Court to extend the November 15, 2014 deadline.
If PIPA does lapse, certain Alberta-specific privacy laws will no longer be available to the Province’s citizens and businesses, such as mandatory breach reporting and notification to affected individuals, local enforcement without court involvement, and protection for the access and privacy rights of employees of provincially-regulated private sector businesses.
Whether or not the Court grants the motion to extend the deadline, our advice to individuals and entities conducting business in Alberta is to ensure that they continue to comply with PIPA and to maintain their existing privacy and security practices.