The tort of intrusion upon seclusion, being a tort claimed as a result of breach of privacy is a developing area of the law in Ontario. An example of how this tort works may be found in the case of McIntosh v. Legal Aid Ontario. The complainant commenced legal action against Legal Aid Ontario and his spouse for breach of privacy. T%he spouse obtained information that was confidential from the file held by Legal Aid Ontario and used it against her spouse in a legal proceeding and intimidated him with the knowledge. The complainant sued Legal Aid Ontario claiming his privacy rights had been violated and he won. Lao acknowledged there was a breach, issued an apology letter and paid compensation. The matter was settled out of court. The Court held that the court action against the spouse, the complainant had established that she had breached the privacy rights of the complainant “sufficient to establish liability based upon the tort of intrusion upon seclusion”. The tort of breach of privacy is not the only means to claim damages in cases where privacy has been breached. An individual may also claim breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty. However, the tort of breach of privacy deals with specific actions by another that may not result in income loss per se but is otherwise harmful and compensable. Individuals, institutions and businesses are all exposed to this developing tort. Imagine someone that works in an institution access your confidential information using the corporate computers? This would be a violation of your privacy rights and could be compensable. The threshold for invasion of privacy is quite high and the compensation is usually modest. The upper limit suggested by a case called Jones v. Tsige, suggests $20,000 is the highest award to date, but the law is developing and the amount of damages awarded depend on many factors. In Ontario, there are a few class actions ongoing based on privacy breaches and it remains to be seen what awards will be given where the defendants involve multi billion dollar corporations.
If your right to privacy has been violated, our Ottawa personal injury lawyers can help you receive compensation. Call us for a free consultation at 613-563-1131 or 613-315-4878.
Ottawa Tort Lawyers Marc Quinn, Lawyer and Mediator