Summaries of leading Privacy Act Federal Court cases

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Since the Privacy Act was first enacted in 1983, courts have been called upon to interpret its meaning. The resulting case law has helped clarify key concepts in the legislation, and added to the Office of the Privacy of Canada’s (OPC) understanding of its purpose, scope and application.

Federal Court case summaries can be found in the Government of Canada’s annual Info Source Access to Information Act and Privacy Act bulletins , which contain summaries of Federal Court case decisions and statistics going back to 1998.

However, on this web page, the OPC has highlighted what it considers to be some of the leading cases under the Privacy Act and under the closely related Access to Information Act (ATIA). The latter shares some key terms and wording with the Privacy Act and so some of the cases interpreting the ATIA have a direct bearing on the Privacy Act.

The case summaries listed on this page are meant to provide an accessible overview of the leading cases and the key principles that can be drawn from those cases. The principles listed at the end of the summaries are meant to provide practical tips and should not be considered legal advice.

Start exploring leading Privacy Act Federal Court cases on this page.

Federal Court decision

Cemerlic v. Canada (Solicitor General), 2003 FCT 133

Some of the leading cases decided under the Privacy Act and under the closely related Access to Information Act (ATIA).

Federal Court decision

Gordon v. Canada (Health), 2008 FC 258

Some of the leading cases decided under the Privacy Act and under the closely related Access to Information Act (ATIA).

Federal Court decision

Murdoch v. Canada (RCMP), 2005 FC 420

Some of the leading cases decided under the Privacy Act and under the closely related Access to Information Act (ATIA).

Federal Court decision

Pinaymootang First Nation v. Canada (Minister of Health), 2009 Federal Court (unreported decision dated January 20, 2009)

Some of the leading cases decided under the Privacy Act and under the closely related Access to Information Act (ATIA).

Federal Court decision

Van Den Bergh v. Canada (National Research Council), 2003 FC 1116

Some of the leading cases decided under the Privacy Act and under the closely related Access to Information Act (ATIA).

Federal Court decision

Sutherland v. Canada (Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs), [1994] 3 F.C. 527

Some of the leading cases decided under the Privacy Act and under the closely related Access to Information Act (ATIA).

Federal Court decision

Oleinik v. Canada (Privacy Commissioner), 2011 FC 1266, affirmed by 2012 FCA 229 (“Oleinik #1”) and 2013 FC 44 (“Oleinik #2”)

Some of the leading cases decided under the Privacy Act and under the closely related Access to Information Act (ATIA).

Federal Court decision

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation v. Canada (Information Commissioner), 2011 FCA 326

Some of the leading cases decided under the Privacy Act and under the closely related Access to Information Act (ATIA).

Federal Court decision

Blank v. Canada (Minister of Justice), 2006 SCC 39

Some of the leading cases decided under the Privacy Act and under the closely related Access to Information Act (ATIA).

Federal Court decision

Bernard v. Canada (Attorney General), 2014 SCC 13

Some of the leading cases decided under the Privacy Act and under the closely related Access to Information Act (ATIA).

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