Court Finds Language of Privacy Act Precludes Arbitration of Privacy Disputes

Overview

There have been a number of recent decisions in the arbitration space regarding when it is appropriate to stay litigation in favour of arbitration and where it is not. In particular, recent appellate case law (e.g., Wellman, and Heller) discusses and interprets the principle set out in Seidel v. TELUS Communications Inc., 2011 SCC 15 that arbitration clauses will generally be enforced “absent legislative language to the contrary.”

In particular, these cases address whether statutory language in consumer protection and employment legislation constitutes “legislative language to the contrary” that precludes parties from agreeing to arbitrate. However, there was no case law that considered this issue in the context of the various privacy statutes that exist across Canada – until now.

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The Privacy Commissioner, Search Engines and the Media – a Battle Over the “Right to be Forgotten”

In 2018, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (“OPC”) began a reference to the Federal Court under subsection 18.3(1) of the Federal Courts Act (the “Reference”) in the context of an OPC investigation into a complaint made by an individual against Google. The complainant alleges that Google is contravening the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (“PIPEDA”) by continuing to display links to news articles concerning the complainant when his name is searched using Google’s search engine. He requested that Google remove the articles from search results using his name (otherwise known as de-indexing).

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The Cryptopia Exchange Insolvency and the Importance of Data Assets

It will come as no surprise that the insolvency of a cryptocurrency exchange can lead to concerns about the recovery of assets (just think about the recent insolvency of the Canadian exchange, QuadrigaCX). The recent insolvency of Cryptopia Limited (“Cryptopia”), a New Zealand-based cryptocurrency exchange, is a good example of how these concerns can play out.  It demonstrates the importance of taking steps (both in advance of insolvency, and afterwards) to protect the assets of an insolvent exchange – in this case, to preserve data assets consisting of user account information held by a third party in another jurisdiction that the liquidator needed  to determine the owners/potential creditors of millions of cryptocurrency tokens held by the insolvent company.

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NextBlock Global Limited and CEO to Pay $1M for Misleading Investors

On May 13, 2019, the Ontario Securities Commission approved a settlement agreement in the matter of NextBlock Global Limited (“NextBlock”) and its Co-Founder and CEO, Alex Tapscott. The settlement agreement acknowledged that Mr. Tapscott and NextBlock violated subsection 122(1)(b) of the Securities Act by making false representations in an offering memorandum used to solicit investors.

Background

NextBlock was launched in 2017, and raised $20 million via convertible debentures – a type of debt instrument – to invest in blockchain companies. In order to solicit funds from investors, Mr. Tapscott and other NextBlock principals claimed that as many as four prominent individuals in the blockchain industry were serving as advisors to the firm.

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Smart Contract Series – Legal implications for consideration, Part 1: Definition and enforceability

I. Introduction

This article kicks off a series that will explore legal issues relating to smart contracts. No doubt, smart contracts have become a hot topic, as more use cases for them emerge in various industries (from food and agriculture, to financial services and insurance). This heightened interest has shone the spotlight on a number of legal issues that arise from the intersection of blockchain technology on which smart contracts are based, and the legal framework for contracts. These issues include enforceability, dispute resolution mechanisms and remedies, which will be addressed in this and forthcoming articles.

II. What is a smart contract?

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