Success Before the BC Supreme Court in a Landmark Decision With Respect to BC’s Personal Information Protection Act and its Application to Canada’s Federal Political Parties.

May 21, 2024
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Young Park, Bill Hearn, Ron Davis and Alexander Evangelista (working with their co-counsel, Jason Herbert of DLA Piper in Vancouver), acted as counsel for the Complainants in a landmark decision by Justice G. C. Weatherill  of the BC Supreme Court in Liberal Party of Canada v The Complainants, 2024 BCSC 814, ruling that BC’s Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) applies to Canada’s federal political parties. This is the first time that a Canadian superior court has considered, and now affirmed, the constitutional validity of applying a provincial privacy law to the personal information practices of Canada’s federal political parties.

Justice Weatherill’s ruling upholds the March 1, 2022 decision of David Loukidelis, KC, acting as Delegate of the BC Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner. Like Mr. Loukidelis, Justice Weatherill rejected the claims of the federal Liberal, Conservative and NDP parties that their privacy practices are governed solely by the Canada Elections Act (CEA), to the exclusion of provincial legislation, and that PIPA is constitutionally inapplicable to them under the doctrines of paramountcy and interjurisdictional immunity.

“The ability of an individual to control their personal information is intimately connected to their individual autonomy, dignity and privacy. These fundamental values lie at the heart of democracy,” Justice Weatherill wrote.

We congratulate the Centre for Digital Rights and our clients on this important victory for the privacy rights of voters in BC and the most recent judicial affirmation of the essential role that legislation, like PIPA, that protects individuals’ control over their personal information, plays in protecting the innate dignity and autonomy of individuals and the integrity of democracy in Canada.