MEDICAL MARIJUANA PRIVACY BREACH
If you were a member of the Marihuana Medical Access Program and received the November 2013 mailing, please register on our enhanced secure registration system, even if you have previously communicated with any of the lawyers or law firms listed at this site. Providing the information requested does not make you a client of the lawyers or law firms operating this site.
Registration now will assist in prosecuting the class action and assessing what damages were suffered by the class as a whole. Please re-visit the site often for updates and to keep your registration up-to-date
For questions relating to the registration system, please call 1.866.241.9914.
Updated: March 10, 2020
- On November 19, 2013, Health Canada mailed letters to 41,514 clients of the Marihuana Medical Access Program across Canada to advise of changes to the Program commencing on April 1, 2014. The windowed envelope containing the letter explicitly identified the “Marihuana Medical Access Program” in the return address on the outside along with the name and address of the client recipient.
- On Thursday, November 21, 2013, George Da Pont, deputy minister at Health Canada issued an apology on Health Canada’s 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.”
- On March 3, 2015, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (“OPC”) released a report of findings from its investigation into Health Canada’s November 2013 mailing. In the report, the OPC concluded that complaints of a privacy breach were well founded and that Health Canada violated the federal Privacy Act by referencing the Marihuana Medical Access Program on the envelope in combination with the name of the addressee. The OPC’s investigation is concluded. Affected individuals do not need to file complaints to the OPC.
- In November 2013, the law firms of Strosberg Sasso Sutts LLP (formerly Strosberg, Sutts LLP) Charney Lawyers PC, Branch MacMaster LLP and McInnes Cooper agreed to work together and commenced 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 “Marihuana Medical Access Program”. On August 29, 2017, the law firms filed a Fifth Amended Statement of Claim in the Federal Court of Canada.
- The proposed representative plaintiffs in the class action are “John Doe” and “Suzie Jones” (who wished to use pseudonyms to protect their privacy) and Penny Kozmenski. On February 25, 2014, the Court granted an order permitting the use of pseudonyms for two of the plaintiffs, and on July 24, 2014 the Government of Canada’s appeal of this order was dismissed.
- On July 27, 2015, the Federal Court of Canada granted the plaintiffs’ motion for certification of the action as a class proceeding. The Class is defined as: “All persons who were sent a letter from Health Canada in November 2013 that had the phrase ‘Marihuana Medical Access Program’ or ‘Programme d’acces a la marihuana a des fins medicales’ visible on the front of the envelope.”
- The Government of Canada appealed the July 27, 2015 certification order. On June 24, 2016, the Federal Court of Appeal allowed the appeal in part, but upheld the certification order with respect to causes of action in negligence and breach of confidence. Some terms of the certification order remained in dispute requiring further determination by the Court on March 14, 2018. On January 9, 2019, the Government of Canada’s appeal of the March 14, 2018 order was dismissed by the Federal Court of Appeal.
- The plaintiffs expect that notice of certification of this class action will soon be disseminated with directions for any Class Member who may wish to opt-out of the class action.
- If the class action is successful, Class Members may be entitled to compensation for the breach of their privacy, damages for emotional distress/inconvenience, and/or compensation for out of pocket expenses.
- 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.
- Anyone who has questions or encounters difficulty with the registration system may contact us toll-free at 1.866.241.9914.
- Please revisit the site often for updates and to keep your registration up-to-date. We will continue to update this website as developments occur.
- If you would like to know more about how a class action works, please click here.
|January 9, 2019||The Federal Court of Appeal dismissed the Government of Canada’s appeal of the March 14, 2018 order.|
|March 14, 2018||The Federal Court of Canada settled the form of the certification order.|
|June 24, 2016||The Federal Court of Appeal upheld the July 27, 2015 certification order in respect of the plaintiffs’ causes of action for negligence and breach of confidence.|
|July 27, 2015||The Federal Court of Canada granted the plaintiffs’ motion for certification of the action as a class proceeding.|
November 27, 2013
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July 28, 2015
Federal Court certifies privacy class action by Medical Marijuana patients against Health CanadaView
July 29, 2015