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Please 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.

 

 

Step #1

 

Obtain 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.

 

Examples of documentation to look for are:

 

  • Written correspondences or decisions from your Case Manager, Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist, or similar WCB official
  • Written correspondences 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:

 

  • CPP, GST, Notice of Assessment, or T4 information (previous employer
  • Payroll information regarding previous employment
  • Audit reports containing any of the above information
 
Step #2

 

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.

 

 

Step #3

 

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.

 

When approaching a lawyer or law firm, be sure to apprise them of your efforts with the Privacy Commissioner. More importantly, make sure they’re aware of the Saskatchewan Privacy Commissioner’s March 28, 2007 report, as this set the precedence for such complaints, and subsequent legal proceedings.

 

One of 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.

 

 

All My Websites:

 

“WCB: Your Right To Sue” – Click here

 

“Saskatchewan WCB Breach Of Privacy” – Click here 

 

“The Saskatchewan Party: Broken Promises & Cover-ups” – Click here 

 

"Appealing the Saskatchewan Workers Compensation Board" – Click here   

 

 

 

 

 

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