Canadian Privacy Decision Awards Damages

When you apply for a bank loan, a credit check is one of the first steps taken by the bank. TransUnion is one of the two major national credit reporting agencies in Canada and when Calgarian Mirza Nammo applied to the Royal Bank (RBC) for a business loan, the RBC ran a credit check through TransUnion.  However, TransUnion had inaccurate information on file for Mr. Nammo; his credit profile was tainted with someone else’s information. RBC turned down his application because of this “bad credit” report. Mr. Nammo eventually determined the source of the problem – that his records were confused with someone else’s information – and launched a complaint based on a violation of Canada’s privacy laws.  The case finally landed in Federal Court and in December the court agreed that TransUnion had violated paragraph 4.6 of Schedule I to Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act – the obligation to maintain accurate information about the complainant.

The decision in Mirza Nammo v. TransUnion of Canada Inc. [PDF]    T-246-10 represents the first damage award under this legislation. Mr. Nammo was awarded $5,000 plus costs arising from TransUnion’s violation of the “accuracy principle”.  The court also made clear that a correction of the inaccurate information does not absolve an organization of the original violation of the accuracy principle.

Calgary – 07:00 MST

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