January 30, 2012
Lawyers are divided on the impact on the business community of the Ontario Court of Appeal's mid-January decision in Jones v. Tsige that recognized a new common law of action for invasion of privacy.
"I don't think business has anything substantive to worry about," says Patrick Flaherty. "The court was very sensitive to the floodgates argument made by the defence and responded by putting clear limits on the tort."
As well, the court noted that the right to privacy isn't absolute and requires a balancing with the rights to freedom of expression and the press.
"What's clear from these principles is that Jones does not deal with a broad invasion of privacy that includes the negligent disclosure of personal information," says Patrick. "And because the intrusion is confined to highly sensitive information objectively capable of causing humiliation, it's unlikely that a business' misuse of marketing information would attract liability under this decision."
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