note that the following information is based on WCB, and Privacy legislation in Saskatchewan. While these Acts
do change from one province to the next, the foundation for these is essentially the same. I do however recommend that you
consult the applicable legislation for your province.
a copy of your WCB file. If you encounter any problems in this regard, contact your provincial Privacy Commissioner as he/she
can furnish you with an “Access to Information Request Form”. Remember, this is your personal information and
by law, you are to have complete and total access to it. You do not need a reason for requesting this information.
Once you’ve obtained your WCB file, determine what documentation
contains your personal health and/or financial information (note: this information must be specific, as opposed to any generalizations).
Next, determine whether this information was provided/copied to your employer, or any other party you did not grant access
to your information.
of documentation to look for are:
Written correspondences or decisions from your Case Manager, Vocational Rehabilitation
Specialist, or similar WCB official
or decisions from the Members of the Board, Assistant to the Board, Appeals Committee, or similar committee
File memorandums regarding telephone discussions between WCB and your employer, or any
other party you did not grant access to your information
Examples of personal health information are:
Physical test findings such as MRI, X-Ray, Stress, etc.
Psychological test findings, including those of a WCB Psychologist
Physician or Specialist findings, including those of any WCB physicians
Physiotherapy test or treatment findings
Examples of personal financial information are:
GST, Notice of Assessment, or T4 information (previous employer
information regarding previous employment
reports containing any of the above information
If indeed you locate specific health and/or financial
information that was shared with your employer, or any other party you did not grant access to your information, file a formal
“Breach of Privacy” complaint with the Privacy Commissioner’s office (click here for a list of these).
All complaints to the Privacy Commissioner must be filed in writing. When
doing this I highly recommend that you attach copies of all file documentation supporting your complaint, and that you highlight
key information. Including this information will save the Commissioner the trouble of requesting it through WCB, and waiting
weeks to receive it.
It’s important to note that like most government agencies,
the Privacy Commissioner’s office is under-staffed, and backlogged as a result. In Saskatchewan individuals can expect
to wait several months for the Commissioner to complete his investigation, and file his report. It’s important to note
that while the Commissioner’s report will ultimately be your “key evidence” in any legal proceedings, you
do not necessarily need it in hand to proceed to next step.
If the evidence supporting your complaint is indeed specific
and conclusive, I recommend you prepare another copy of this information, and that you seek legal representation.
a lawyer or law firm, be sure to apprise them of your efforts withthe Privacy Commissioner. More importantly, make sure they’re aware of the SaskatchewanPrivacy Commissioner’s March 28, 2007 report, as this set the precedence for such complaints, and subsequent legal proceedings.
the first questions a lawyer will have will be in regards to what, if any damages were incurred as a result of WCB’s
privacy breach. While this is entirely your determination to make, examples of damage could relate to:
Defamation of character
Dismissal from your place of employment
Demotion at your place of employment
An example of damages could be along the same lines as my own; not
only did WCB deny work injury benefits altogether, the detailed medical information it disclosed to my employer deterred him
from allowing me anywhere near his worksite. Furthermore the erroneous employment/financial information WCB disclosed to him,
undermined my qualifications, as well as my character.
In instances where a claimant cannot necessarily show damages, please know that these types of privacy
violations are "tort actionable without proof of loss". At this point in time I’m unable to advise as to what
sort of awards have been handed down by the courts in this respect. Subsequently I recommend that you seek out similar court
actions/cases, and proceed with your own complaint in the same manner. An excellent resourse for such information
can be found here.
If you have any questions regarding the preceeding information,
please feel free to contact me. Again, best of luck in any future endeavours you may have with WCB.