Skip to Content

Computer Use & Social Media

"Employer access to employee e-mails in Canada"

Dan Michaluk has written a paper on "Employer access to employee e-mails in Canada" (May 23, 2009). Mr. Michaluk is a lawyer at Hicks Morley in Ontario.

As set out in the introduction, the paper:

  1. identifies the specific interests an employer has in accessing information stored on its computer systems,
  2. identifies the bases for claims by employees that information stored on business computer systems is "private,"
  3. describes the "no expectation of privacy" approach adopted by Canadian labour arbitrators and courts,
  4. identifies cases that might demonstrate this approach is changing, and
  5. discusses what the jurisprudence should mean to employers.

Federal privacy commissioner issues fact sheet on "Privacy and Social Networking in the Workplace"

Jurisdiction: - Canada/Federal

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, which oversees the federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) and the Privacy Act, has issued a fact sheet on "Privacy and Social Networking in the Workplace" The fact sheet contains guidance on what information should be included in a workplace policy that addresses this issue.

"Ontario Employers Covered by New Child Pornography Reporting Law"

Jurisdiction: - Ontario

Davis LLP has published a briefing note - "Ontario Employers Covered by New Child Pornography Reporting Law  on Bill 37" - which will amend the Child and Family Services Act (Ontario) and will "impose a positive obligation on any person in Ontario,
including employers and employees, to report child pornography".

Securing company confidential information

There was an article in today's Globe and Mail about company confidential information being especially at risk right now because of the high number of layoffs coupled with our increased reliance on mobile technology (USB memory sticks, Blackberries, IPods, etc.). The article speaks to the US experience, but the same issues are at play in Canada. The "three steps" companies can take to minimize the chance of data theft is of particular value.  

The use of social media and internet searches in the hiring process

Jurisdiction: - Manitoba

Donna Seale is a lawyer in Manitoba with her own consulting company, Donna M. Seale Consulting Services. She also has a blog ("Human Rights in the Workplace") and recently wrote an informative three-part series on the legal implications of using social networking sites and internet searches in the hiring process. Part One can be read here.

Ontario Privacy Commissioner offers advice on minimizing risks to employment prospects because of online profile

Jurisdiction: - Ontario

"Reference Check: Is Your Boss Watching? Privacy and Your Facebook Profile", is the title of a paper published last month by Ann Cavoukian, the Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner.

The Commissioner offers advice to indivduals on mitigating and minimizing risks to their employment prospects because of their online profiles on sites like Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Friendster. The paper can be found here.

"Walking the Tightrope – Recent Developments in Employee Surveillance"

A lawyer at Hicks Morley LLP has prepared a paper entitled, "Walking the Tightrope – Recent Developments in Employee Surveillance"(April 20, 2007).

The paper addresses long discussed employee surveillance legal issues concerning video surveillance and computer and email use, as well as new developments in "productivity surveillance" with reference to Global Positioning System (GPS) technology and keystroke monitoring technology.