Class Action

 

Medical Marihuana

Privacy Breach Class Action

On or about November 18, 2013, Health Canada mailed letters to approximately 40,000 medical marijuana users across Canada alerting them to major changes in Medical Marihuana Access Program commencing on April 1, 2014. The envelope containing the letter referred explicitly to the "Medical Marihuana Access Program" with the name of the participant on the outside.

On Thursday, November 21, 2013, George Da Pont, deputy minister at Health Canada issued an apology on the Health Canada website describing the mailing as an administrative error. The apology stated: "I have been advised that as the result of an administrative error the envelopes were labelled to indicate that they were sent by the Program. This is not standard Health Canada practice." The apology went on to state: "We are in discussion with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada."

Charney Lawyers, in collaboration with the law firms of Sutts, Strosberg LLP, Branch MacMaster LLP and McInnes Cooper have agreed to work together on the prosecution of a proposed class action against the Government of Canada on behalf of all persons who were sent a letter from Health Canada in an envelope that referred explicitly to the "Medical Marihuana Access Program". On December 11, 2013, the law firms filed an amended statement of claim in the Federal Court of Canada.

If the case is successful, participants in the Medical Marihuana Access Program who received the November 2013 letter from Health Canada in an envelope that referenced the "Medical Marijuana Access Program" may be entitled to compensation for the breach of their privacy, damages for emotional distress/inconvenience, and/or compensation for out of pocket expenses.

UPDATE - June 11-12, 2015: Argument on Certification in the Medical Marijuana Access Program Class Action proceeded in Federal Court. n Ted Charney appeared as co-counsel for the Plaintiffs. The decision is under reserve. Read reports on the hearing in the Halifax Chronicle Herald here and here.

UPDATE - July 27, 2015 - The Federal Court certified a class action against the Federal Government on behalf of 41,000 participants in the Medical Marihuana Access Program. Ted Charney was co-counsel for the plaintiffs.

The highlights of the decision include:

  • The Court certified the privacy tort of Intrusion Upon Seclusion and a new privacy tort called Publicity Given to Private Life, described as "truly novel in Canada:.

  • The Court observed that privacy rights is a new area of law which is developing rapidly in Canada.

  • Certification is not the appropriate forum to decide the application of novel privacy rights.

  • Citizens are entitled to make use of class actions to achieve access to justice and force the government to change privacy protocols not only in one department but across its entire operations.

At paragraphs 56 & 58, the Judge said the following:

[56] Access to justice is enhanced by the resolution of common questions before turning to individual circumstances. In many cases, the amount of damages might be nominal or modest, sufficiently so that individuals might not take on government on their own despite whatever rights they may have... 

[58] Behavoural modification must be considered from the perspective of the federal government as a whole, not just one department, and on the process of communication as a whole not just one alleged slip-up.

It must also be considered from the perspective of the public - its awareness and enforcement of privacy interests.

Click here for the decision Click here for an article from the Canadian Press. Click here for a Press Release.

UPDATE - December 14, 2015 - The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has released its Annual Report to Parliament for 2014-2015 on Protecting Personal Information and Public Trust. The Report includes a summary of the Medical Marijuana Access Program Class Action, which can be found here.

UPDATE - June 24, 2016- Ted Charney, along with Ward Branch and David Fraser, appeared before the Federal Court of Appeal to resist the defendant’s appeal from the certification order of the Federal Court. The Federal Court of Appeal affirmed that plaintiffs’ claims in negligence and breach of confidence were properly certified at first instance. Read the Reasons for Judgment here.

 

Participation

Anyone who received the letter should register on our enhanced secure registration system, even if they have previously communicated with any of the lawyers or law firms listed at this site. Registration on the system will assist counsel in prosecuting the class action and assessing what damages were suffered by the class as a whole.

Please click here to complete the questionnaire

There is no financial obligation to register. Once you register we will notify you of all important developments via email. See Class Action Fees.

Charney Lawyers is experienced in litigating class actions.

 

IMPORTANT NOTE:

The site is not designed to answer questions about your individual situation or entitlement. Do not rely upon the information provided on this website as legal advice in respect of your individual situation nor use it as substitute for individual legal advice.

The information collected about potential class members will assist counsel in prosecuting the class action and assessing what damages were suffered by the class as a whole. Providing the information requested does not make you the client of Charney Lawyers. The court will ultimately decide who will be included as a class member.

This website will be updated from time to time to provide potential class members with information as it becomes available.

 

 

Case Law

Jones v. Tsing The Ontario Court of Appeal recognized a cause of action for "intrusion upon seclusion" in Ontario. 

 

 

         JUDICIAL ENDORSEMENTS

 

 

"I have no difficulty approving this settlement.  I find it fair and reasonable and very much in the best interests of the class members.  I note that class counsel had several meetings with class members and were able to satisfy themselves that the proposed settlement would cover most if not all of the losses sustained.  That is, to say the least, an excellent result.”

 

                   Kennedy et al. v. Toronto Hydro et al.

        (Ted Charney and Andrew Eckart were co-class counsel in the Class Action)

 

"Charney... is unquestionably qualified to act as counsel.�

          Ison T Auto Sales v. Zurich Insurance

Ontario Court of Appeal, November 25, 2011

(Ted Charney acted for Ison T Auto Sales i.e. Toronto Honda on the appeal)

 

 

�The Whiting Group Counsel Team consists of 11 law firms from 7 provinces across Canada and includes some of the most experienced class action firms in Canada with a broad range of experience in class actions with particular expertise in product liability class actions and personal injury. Four of these law firms are in Ontario where the action will be based and includes counsel who are very experienced in class action litigation and have the resources and experience to advance this claim in Ontario or on a national scale. This fact favours the Whiting Group.�

Whiting et al v. Menu Foods Income Fund [2007]

(The Charney Group of Lawyers was a member of the Whiting Group and appeared as counsel on the motion to decide carriage)

 

 

�The Settlement Agreement in the case at bar has undergone the court's scrutiny, and it appears to me that in entering into the Settlement Agreement and in seeking certification on consent for settlement purposes, the plaintiffs and the defendants, with the assistance of their legal counsel, have provided the social good of access to justice and adequate compensation in accordance with Canadian law for perhaps thousands of citizens who may have been harmed by the Listeriosis outbreak...�

Bilodeau v. Maple Leaf Foods Inc. [2009]

(The Charney Group of Lawyers represented Ms. Bilodeau for this class action)

 

 

�Although I am not formally required to approve it, I believe it is relevant that, when the risks and expenses of continuing the litigation are considered, the settlement appears to fall well within a zone of reasonableness.�

Yordanes v The Bank of Nova Scotia, December 2006 

(The Charney Group of Lawyers were counsel for Yordanes)