Sobeys Refuses to Respond to Customer's Requests for Access to Personal Information and Does Not Participate in Subsequent OPC Investigation

PIPEDA Case Summary #2014-016

June 25, 2014


A woman alleged that she slipped on a puddle of water inside the supermarket in September 2011, fell and suffered an injury, after which she filed a report of the incident on a form provided by the supermarket.

In late November 2011, she sent a letter to the supermarket's head office, describing concerns about the incident and requesting a copy of the incident report as she had not been given a copy at the time she completed the report.

While the complainant and company eventually reached a settlement agreement over the original incident, she continued emailing the company requesting access to her personal information.

The supermarket replied in late August 2013, advising the complainant that her most recent request had been forwarded to "the appropriate individuals." These individuals were not identified and the complainant received no further contact from the supermarket, nor did she receive access to her personal information.

During our investigation, we contacted Sobeys on several occasions. However, much to our disappointment, Sobeys neither responded, nor provided representations, nor participated in the investigative process. We concluded that Sobeys had contravened PIPEDA by failing to provide the woman with access to her requested personal information.

Subsequent to our investigation, we brought an application to the Federal Court for a hearing on the matter. Eventually, Sobeys provided the information the woman sought, to our satisfaction, and thus the matter was resolved. The court proceeding was discontinued on January 8, 2015.

Lessons Learned

  • Organizations need to ensure that requests for access to personal information are properly routed internally and are responded to within the timelines provided under PIPEDA.
  • Our Office may issue findings even in cases where a respondent organization does not respond to our Office's requests for representations.
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