Skip to Content

Computer Use & Social Media

"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.

"Privacy Laws and Virtue Testing in the Workplace"

Jurisdiction: - Saskatchewan

R. Gary Dickson, Q.C. and Sandra Barreth, both of the Office of the Saskatchewan Information and Privacy Commissioner, have written a paper entitled, "Privacy Laws and Virtue Testing in the Workplace".

The paper was prepared for The Canadian Bar Association (Saskatchewan Branch) Mid-Winter Meeting held on February 3, 2006 in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.

The paper provides a very useful overview of the privacy legislation in place in Saskatchewan, and also covers the following topics:  read more »

BC Labour Relations Board Upholds Dismissal for Viewing Pornography

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - Education

In University of British Columbia and CUPE Local 2950 (2005), 138 L.A.C. (4) 358; aff'd BCLRB No.B288/2005, the grievor was dismissed by UBC on the basis that he had used the university computer equipment for the purpose of viewing and exchanging sexually explicit material, inclcuing conversations with an under age individual, such conduct being contrary to UBC's technology policy.

The policy stated that illegal use of the computer system included the distribution of pornography materials to minors and child pornography it did not expressly prohibit the viewing the adult pornography.

On this point the arbitrator concluded that the fact that viewing adult pornography was not identified specifically as an example of an acceptable and unacceptable use cannot be read as endorsing access to adult pornography as an acceptable use.

In addition the departmental directive had been issued that had warned staff to use he computers for unprofessional purposes with the most obvious example the viewing of inappropriately materials such as pornography.  read more »

"Workplace Monitoring and Surveillance"

Christopher McHardy, Tina Giesbrecht and Peter Brady - lawyers at McCarthy Tetrault - have prepared a paper on"Workplace Monitoring and Surveillance" (March 11, 2005).

The paper's introduction states:

In the last decade, new technologies in the workplace have changed the way we do work and the way we manage employees. Beyond the production and cost benefits, these technologies have both increased employer risks relating to employee misconduct and improved employer tools to manage and address such misconduct.The increased risks and improved tools have resulted in increased use of surveillance and monitoring and an increase in the tension between management rights and employee privacy. The introduction of privacy legislation in Canada has further increased this tension. This paper looks at the way in which new privacy legislation is influencing the way courts and arbitrators are balancing the right of employers to know and manage versus privacy rights employees may have in the workplace.

"Computer & Email Workplace Surveillance in Canada: The Shift From Reasonable Expectation of Privacy to Reasonable Surveillance"

Professor Michael Geist, at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law, has written a 58-page paper on "Computer & Email Workplace Surveillance in Canada: The Shift From Reasonable Expectation of Privacy to Reasonable Surveillance" (March 2002). The paper was prepared for the Canadian Judicial Council.

Dismissed grievor's defence that he was addicted to internet pornography rejected, as chose not to get help

Jurisdiction: - Ontario
Sector: - Transportation

Public Service Alliance of Canada v. Greater Toronto Airports Authority (Ontario Grievance Arbitration, D. Murray, November 12, 2001)

Causal link between mental condition and viewing pornography; suspension substituted for termination

Jurisdiction: - Ontario

Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 101 v. City of London (Ontario Grievance Arbitration, W. Marcotte, October 5, 2001)

"Ensuring Corporate Security In An Age of High Worker Mobilty: What You Need to Know"

Sector: - High Tech

Anneli LeGault, a lawyer at Fraser Milner Casgrain in Ontario, has written a paper on, "Ensuring Corporate Security in an Age of High Worker Mobilty: What You Need to Know".

The paper was prepared for the Canadian Institute Conference - Employment in the Information Age, which was held on January 29-30, 2001. It covers the following topics:

  • Managing Proprietary Information
  • Internet Use; Monitoring Employees
  • The Prevalence of Surveillance 
  • Is There a Right of Privacy? 
  • Dismissal of Non-Union Staff 
  • Discipline in the Unionized Context 
  • Contents of an Internet Usage Policy
  • E-Mail Policies