Ontario Court of Appeal Clarifies Privacy Obligations for Utilities

| Amir Eftekharpour

Senior associate Molly Reynolds, associate Caitlin Morin, and articling student Amir Eftekharpour have co-authored “Ontario Court of Appeal Clarifies Privacy Obligations for Utilities” for the Energy Regulation Quarterly.

The article discusses the Ontario Court of Appeal’s decision in R v Orlandis-Habsburgo (Orlandis), in which the Court held a utility sharing residents’ energy consumption data with police—which led to a search and criminal charges—violated the residents’ reasonable expectation of privacy.

An excerpt from the article is below:

While Orlandis arose in a criminal context, the Court’s decision will have two major implications for utilities. First, Orlandis contributes to a trend of increasing judicial recognition of the privacy concerns that arise from the collection, use, and disclosure of energy consumption data. While consumption data is seemingly of low sensitivity, courts have begun to recognize that sensitive inferences can be made from the otherwise potentially non-sensitive information. Second, Orlandis establishes new and additional obligations for private sector and public sector organizations that disclose energy consumption data to police or other third parties.

The group has also published a bulletin on the topic, which can be read here.

You can learn more about Torys’ privacy work by heading to the practice page

To discuss these issues, please contact the author(s).

This publication is a general discussion of certain legal and related developments and should not be relied upon as legal advice. If you require legal advice, we would be pleased to discuss the issues in this publication with you, in the context of your particular circumstances.

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