Law Firms Work Together in Proposed Federal Class Action relating to Medical Marihuana Privacy Breach
HALIFAX, Nov. 26, 2013
HALIFAX, Nov. 26, 2013 /CNW/ - Canadian law firms McInnes Cooper and Branch MacMaster LLP have combined
their respective class action teams to represent a proposed national
class action against the Government of Canada. Separate claims were
filed independently yesterday in Federal Court. The consolidated claim
will seek damages arising from a breach of privacy that occurred when,
earlier this month, Health Canada sent letters to approximately 40,000
patients via Canada Post, in envelopes that clearly indicated the named
patient participated in the "Marihuana Medical Access Program".
Health Canada's disclosure of the patients' private medical information
has raised serious employment and security concerns, and caused the
patients to suffer considerable stress and anxiety.
"As a result of Health Canada's error, we have already spoken with a
number of people whose lives have been affected by this breach," said
David Fraser, a leading Canadian privacy lawyer, and McInnes Cooper's
lead lawyer on this case.
"This privacy breach is unlike most. It not only compromises the
confidentiality of participants' personal and health information, but
it also compromises participants' physical safety and security," said
Kate Saunders of Branch MacMaster LLP.
McInnes Cooper and Branch MacMaster most recently worked together on the
historic Manuge veterans' pension class action against the Federal
Government, which benefited approximately 8,000 disabled veterans.
About the Marihuana Medical Access Program ("MMAP")
In July 2001, the Federal Government enacted the Marihuana Medical
Access Regulations. The Regulations, among other things, empower the
Minister of Health to issue authorizations and licenses to individuals
with certain symptoms associated with particular medical conditions,
permitting those individuals to possess and, in some cases, produce
marihuana for medical purposes. The Minister of Health is responsible
for administering the Regulations and does so through Canada Health's
Marihuana Medical Access Program (MMAP).
Prior to November 2013, all correspondence from Health Canada to holders
of medical marihuana authorizations and licenses in relation to MMAP
was conveyed by a private courier in envelopes that did not include the
word "marihuana". However, in November 2013, the Federal Government
conveyed letters to participants in the Medical Marihuana Access
Program with "Marihuana Medical Access Program" stamped on the outside
of the envelope.
About the Members of the Class
Anyone who received or expects to receive, a letter from Health Canada
with "Marihuana Medical Access Program" printed on the outside of the
envelope is automatically a member of this class. These individuals
are encouraged to go to www.branchmacmaster.com/medical-marihuana/ OR www.mcinnescooper.com/privacyclassaction for further information regarding this proposed class action.
Individuals also may send a confidential email to firstname.lastname@example.org OR email@example.com to be added to a list of class members wishing to receive electronic
updates from counsel with respect to this action. McInnes Cooper also
has a telephone line dedicated to proposed class members: 1 (902) 454-8929.