David T.S. Fraser writes:
The Ontario Small Claims Court, in Halley v McCann, 2016 CanLII 58945 (ON SCSM), has recently awarded a plaintiff $9,000 in damages for breach of privacy. The case arose because the defendant disclosed the fact that the plaintiff had admitted herself to a mental health facility. The defendant is also the half-sister of the plaintiff. It was alleged that the defendant had told three people outside the facility about the plaintiff’s stay there. No other information was disclosed.
What may not be totally clear from that first paragraph is that the defendant was an employee of the mental health facility, which is how she learned of the plaintiff’s stay there. So this wasn’t just a case of a family member finding out something and sharing it with others. This was a case of an employee disclosing confidential information about a patient. Maybe her motivation to disclose had to do with the familial relationship and some animosity towards the plaintiff and maybe the familial issues made the impact on the plaintiff greater, but the main thing I would focus on is that the defendant only knew of the stay because of her work at the facility.
Read more about the case and opinion on Canadian Privacy Law Blog.
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