Skip to Main Content

Unions are entitled to employees’ contact information

February 07, 2014

Peter Engelmann has convinced the Supreme Court of Canada that privacy interests cannot trump a union’s representational rights.

The Supreme Court of Canada has held that privacy concerns do not trump a union’s right to information about the employees in a bargaining unit necessary for the union to carry out its representational duties.

A federal government employee claimed that her employer would be violating her privacy rights if it provided the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) with her home contact information. She also claimed that it would violated her rights under s. 2(d) and s. 8 of the Canadian Charter of Rights of Freedoms. The employee was a “Rand formula” employee, meaning that she was required to pay union dues and was entitled representation and to the benefits of the collective agreement negotiated by PIPSC, even though she had opted not to become a union member. For its part, PIPSC had a statutory duty to represent all of the employees in the bargaining unit, including this employee.

The Supreme Court of Canada held that PIPSC was entitled to the information, and that disclosure of the information by the employer did not violate the Privacy Act or the Charter. You can read a summary of the Court’s decision here.


Peter Engelmann, Colleen Bauman

Practice Areas

Appeals & Judicial Review, Labour Law