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Lawson Lundell Successfully Represents Group of BC Union Pension Plans In Long Standing Dispute

13.7.18

Lawson Lundell LLP successfully represented a group of BC union pension plans in a long standing dispute over the disclosure of sensitive information. The team, including Marko Vesely, and Michelle S. Jones, acted as lead counsel to the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry of the United States and Canada, Local 170.

The dispute lasted over six years, with the pensions plans objecting to several access to information requests received by the Financial Institutions Commission (FICOM), from the Independent Contractors and Business Association (ICBA).

The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) was asked to review the dispute, and on April 10, 2017, released a decision under Order F17-16, 2017 BCIPC 17 requiring FICOM to disclose the information requested by the ICBA.

Lawson Lundell successfully petitioned that there was ample evidence that had been presented to prove that there was reasonable expectation of harm to the pension plans and that they were being held to too high a standard in terms of evidence required by the OIPC.

On July 3, 2018, the Supreme Court of British Columbia released its judicial review on United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry of the United States and Canada, Local 170 v. British Columbia (Information and Privacy Commissioner), 2018 BCSC 1080. The Court held that the OIPC’s decision on Order F17-16, 2017 BCIPC 17 was unreasonable and that the pension plans had provided sufficient evidence to satisfy the “reasonable expectation of probable harm” standard that was provided by the Supreme Court of Canada. The Court remitted the matter back to the OIPC to assign another adjudicator to consider the issue again in a way that is consistent with the Court’s reasons.

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