On April 1, 2020 a webinar was held by the Privacy and Access to Information Law Section. The program was moderated by Rajen Akalu, Founder of Akalu Law and Assistant Professor at Ontario Tech University.
The panel brought together senior representatives from the federal and provincial government as well as a lawyer in private practice. The first speaker, Gregory Smolynec, Deputy Commissioner, Policy and Promotion at the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC), offered specific guidance from the OPC relating to the current COVID-19 pandemic.1
Mr. Smolynec emphasized that privacy should not be a barrier for the exchange of information relevant to combatting the COVID-19 pandemic. Of particular note, he remarked that an organization would be permitted to disclose personal information to a government institution without consent if the organization has reasonable grounds to believe that the information relates to a contravention of law that has been, is being, or is about to be committed.2 This would include if an organization believes that an individual is in contravention of an invoked quarantine order.