Several witnesses in Norman trial still haven’t searched personal records for evidence, court told


Several major government figures at the centre of the criminal case against Vice-Admiral Mark Norman have not searched their personal email and phones for correspondence relevant to the case, despite the instructions of court-ordered subpoenas.

Zita Astravas, who serves as the chief of staff to Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, was called to testify Thursday at a pretrial hearing in the breach-of-trust case against Norman.

She said the advice she received from lawyers at National Defence was that she was required only to surrender communications from her work-provided BlackBerry phone.

Norman’s defence team, led by Toronto lawyer Marie Henein, has been fighting in court for the disclosure of thousands of federal government documents — and have accused the federal government of conducting a selective and haphazard search for those documents.

In testimony Wednesday, Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Jonathan Vance acknowledged that he had not searched his personal email or his iPhone for anything that might relate to the case. Gen. Vance has insisted he doesn’t conduct any work-related business on his non-government devices.

Earlier this week, lawyers for federal cabinet minister Scott Brison delivered to court personal emails relevant to the case, separate from his government accounts.

Norman, the former commander of the navy, has been charged with one count of breach of trust and is accused of leaking cabinet secrets related to a $668 million contract to lease a supply ship for the navy. He was suspended as the military’s second-in-command in January, 2017.

Astravas was director of issues management in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office between November 2015 and August 2017 — the time period when the criminal investigation involving Norman first became public. She would have been the public servant tasked with briefing the prime minister on important issues and daily crises.

Astravas testified she didn’t know if her former email account had been searched in response to a subpoena issued by Norman’s lawyers.

Robert MacKinnon, the federal lawyer responsible for the record search, told the court the instruction given to all departments was that all devices must be searched. He said that instruction will be repeated.

​The pre-trial hearing has focused largely on the collection and production of communications relevant to the case. The actual trial is scheduled to begin in August, just months before the federal election.

Henein asked Astravas if she is aware of any communications within government about the timing of the case.

« Do you recall having any communications about delaying this trial or about the timing of this trial? » she asked.

« I don’t remember, » Astravas replied.

‘Fishing expedition’

On Tuesday, the defence team produced a list of words used in documentation to refer to Norman that it had obtained through Access to Information. They include Kracken, MN3, C34 and The Boss.

Vance said the military routinely uses jargon, acronyms and pseudonyms and he didn’t see anything on the list that he thought would qualify as a ‘codename’.

The list released to the defence team through the access request did not include any terms used in Sajjan’s office, which claimed a ministerial exemption from the request.

Astravas said after she received a subpoena to appear in court late Wednesday, she asked her staff to make « best efforts » to check if other pseudonyms for Norman had been used. She said they did not come up with additional terms.

Henein asked if Astravas knew of the terms « the certain naval officer, » « a certain naval fellow » or a « a naval colleague » being used, but Astravas said she could not recall.

Norman’s defence team has been engaged in legal wrangling with government lawyers over the the release of documents deemed relevant to the case.

Henein described the situation as « quite extraordinary, » with the government asserting cabinet confidence over certain documents and the defence securing subpoenas to obtain those documents.

Crown lawyer Barbara Mercier suggested the defence is trying to prolong the process to « kingdom come. »

« I have a very strong feeling that this has been a very large fishing expedition, » she said.


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Toronto officer pleads guilty to misconduct for using database for personal gain – Toronto


TORONTO – A Toronto police officer has pleaded guilty to misconduct at a tribunal hearing for using his position to obtain a woman’s information for personal gain.

Const. Vincenzo Bonazza admits to using his authority and police databases to search information about a woman who approached him in 2008 asking for help.

New video appears to show on-duty Toronto police officers partying; conduct investigation continues

Bonazza first admitted to the misconduct during a criminal trial in 2018 where the woman accused him of raping her shortly after the two met 10 years earlier.

He denied the sexual assault allegations saying the two had consensual sex.

Pot-eating former Toronto cop gets 9-month conditional sentence

Bonazza was acquitted of the charge after the judge found the complainant’s testimony to be inconsistent.

The tribunal’s prosecutor and Bonazza’s lawyer have made a joint submission of four days docked pay.


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Personal Injury firm to pay an estimated $4 million to settle class-action with former clients


A personal injury law firm has agreed to pay an estimated $4 million to settle claims that the firm double-dipped from the settlements of nearly 1,800 accident victims it represented.

The settlement between Neinstein & Associates LLP, a prominent personal injury law firm, and its clients was approved Wednesday by Justice Paul Perell.

Cassie Hodge, one of nearly 1,800 accident victims who joined a class-action lawsuit against Neinstein & Associates LLP. The firm has agreed to pay an estimated $4 million to settle the claims.
Cassie Hodge, one of nearly 1,800 accident victims who joined a class-action lawsuit against Neinstein & Associates LLP. The firm has agreed to pay an estimated $4 million to settle the claims.  (Andrew Lahodynskyj / Toronto Star)

Perell’s sign-off on the settlement effectively ends a class-action lawsuit that was certified in June 2017 but never made it to trial.

At the time the class-action commenced, lawyers working on contingency — “you don’t pay unless we win” — were not allowed to take a sum of money called “costs” in addition to a percentage of the settlement, according to the Solicitor’s Act governing lawyers.

In 2012, the roughly 1,800 class members alleged that Gary Neinstein and the law firm breached provincial law and their “fiduciary duties because they charged an amount for costs” in addition to the fee spelled out in their contingency fee agreement, according to Perell’s settlement approval decision. The firm denied the allegations.

Jeff Neinstein, managing partner of Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers, told the Star in an email his firm is “pleased that this issue has been resolved.”

“We appreciate the trust and confidence that our clients have continued to place in us and we remain dedicated to providing compassionate legal representation for all victims across Ontario.”

During a brief hearing in a second-floor courtroom at downtown Toronto’s Osgoode Hall, Perell additionally approved $1 million in legal fees and assorted charges incurred during the litigation for plaintiff lawyers Peter Waldmann and Andrew Stein, plus a $10,000 honorarium to accident victim Cassie Hodge, the 46-year-old mother of two at the heart of the case.

Waldmann, who represented Hodge and the other class members, said the settlement is “a compromise,” but he is pleased the accident victims are getting some remedy.

A Star investigation that began in 2016 found personal injury lawyers in Ontario had routinely taken their fees then also taken the “costs,” which a Divisional Court judge had called “double dipping.” As a result, the Star story said, many Ontario residents had been overcharged thousands of dollars and likely did not know it.

On the heels of the Star’s findings, the Law Society of Ontario decided to make changes to the way personal injury lawyers can advertise their services, bill their clients and charge and collect referral fees.

“When this issue was first raised, it became clear that there was confusion regarding the interpretation of the Solicitors Act,” Jeff Neinstein said Wednesday. “We took these concerns very seriously. We worked collaboratively to ensure that these issues were responsibly addressed. We are proud of the work that we do and continue to promote access to justice.”

In his settlement approval order, Justice Perell said negotiations between both sides were “intensive.” He said the settlement is “a good result for the class particularly having regard to the litigation risks and the long litigation road that would await them.”

As part of the settlement, a class member could get 30 per cent of what Neinstein referred to on his accounts as costs, the court said, provided she or he signed or amended a contingency fee agreement with the firm after October 1, 2004 and paid their fees before December 9, 2015.

Their cases must also have settled for at least $40,000 and their bills included at least $15,000 for an amount the firm called “party and party costs,” “partial indemnity costs” or another term using equivalent language.

Perell said that he awarded Hodge the honorarium to pay her personal expenses during the case and “to acknowledge her extraordinary contribution.”

Hodge’s battle against Neinstein began in 2010 after the law firm settled her car accident case for $150,000, sending her a final account that included charges for “legal fees” of $30,326 and “costs” of $30,000. She was also charged for $48,924 of “disbursements,” charges incurred by the lawyer in the course of litigation, which included $4,008 for photocopies, $2,791 for “laser copies,” and $1,372 for “interest recovery,” according to an earlier appeal court ruling that upheld the certification of the class.

Hodge alleges she was left with a fraction of her settlement.

Hodge had retained the Neinstein firm after a 2002 accident that left her with a concussion, whiplash, a retinal tear, soft tissue injures and chronic pain.

“Justice is served,” Hodge said outside the courtroom after the hearing. “Now people are aware of what was happening at law firms, and they know that they do have recourse.”

Michele Henry is a Toronto-based investigative reporter. Follow her on Twitter: @michelehenry

Kenyon Wallace is a Toronto-based investigative reporter. Follow him on Twitter: @KenyonWallace or reach him via email:


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Make It Personal: A Global-Chic Kitchen for Camila Alves


For mom, model, blogger, and entrepreneur Camila Alves, the kitchen is more than a space to cook. It’s a haven for entertaining friends and hosting family, a place to feed her children, and a full-on test kitchen when developing new recipes for her blog, Women of Today.

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Ashley Burns Photography

While she’s currently got a large island designed for cooking, chopping, prepping, lounging, and laughing, she wants more from her dream kitchen—a personal touch to reflect her global sense of style. Interior designer Alexa Hampton is, thankfully, no stranger to the art of elevated, eclectic design. She teamed up with Michelin three-starred chef Christopher Kostow to design a space that married fashion and function. Using the Samsung Chef Collection, appliances that have been carefully crafted to complement any home, she could outfit Camila’s kitchen in styles that incorporate chef-inspired features for home cooks—and without sacrificing design.

Floor Plan Alves

“The goal was to make it family friendly and fun, but chic, too,” says Hampton, who said Camila was very involved with the design of her kitchen. “She envisioned beams in the ceiling, bright colors and terracotta floors, Moroccan pile, and the stove in the island.”Alexa integrated a variety of materials, including wood, marble, and butcher blocks. As a world traveler, Camila is fond of picking up vintage pieces along the way. Alexa seamlessly folded these pieces into the design for an added personal touch.

To satisfy Camila’s color craving, she imagined bright green cabinets to contrast with the earthiness of the terracotta. “Color can be difficult, because there’s a lot going on,” says Alexa, “but kitchens today allow for that sort of creativity. She made certain the space was designed with plenty of natural light and six barstools to accommodate all the hungry onlookers who might keep Camila company in the kitchen.

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Concept and Rendering by Alexa Hampton and the office of Mark Hampton LLC

Furniture aside, Camila had some requests on the appliances, too. For one, she wanted refrigerators with saloon doors. With all the cooking that goes on in her kitchen, Alexa designed the space so that two could be situated next to one another. With the Samsung Chef Collection 4-Door Flex Built-In Refrigerator, Camila can use the FlexZone™ feature, which switches from freezer to refrigerator depending on your needs. Between her children, her family, her blog, and the occasional party, cold, flexible storage is an absolute necessity.

Camila’s culinary lifestyle also calls for two wall ovens. The Samsung Chef Collection Double Wall Oven not only lets Camila utilize each oven with its own set of controls, but also uses Samsung technology to make every meal as stress-free as possible. It’s even got Wi-Fi, so she can control her oven from her phone, from anywhere in the house.

With smart appliances that help her balance life’s daily culinary demands and a gorgeous layout that marries style and function, Alexa delivers on a dream kitchen that seamlessly integrates the latest innovations with all the space and style Camila dreams of.


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Quiet heroes inspire change through a personal tragedy


If we didn’t use the word “extraordinary” at every turn, it would be a perfect word to describe the actions of both Anita Cenerini and Audrey Parker.

Cenerini, 56, of Winnipeg, lost her soldier son to suicide in 2004. Parker, 57, from Halifax, lost her life to metastatic breast cancer in a widely publicized medically assisted death last week.

Anita Cenerini and Audrey Parker, in acting bravely and publicly, have changed the national conversation around a pivotal and painful social issue, writes Judith Timson.
Anita Cenerini and Audrey Parker, in acting bravely and publicly, have changed the national conversation around a pivotal and painful social issue, writes Judith Timson.  (The Canadian Press file photos)

It’s doubtful either woman would have made it into our public consciousness if it weren’t for these personal tragedies that befell them.

Yet it wasn’t simply their tragedies that made them newsworthy. It’s how, as ordinary citizens, they reacted to them.

Each of them, in acting bravely and publicly, have changed the national conversation around a pivotal and painful social issue. How many of us can claim that kind of impact?

For one year, Cenerini will represent all mothers who have lost a son or daughter to military service. What makes her honour significant is that she will be the first mother of a soldier who died by suicide to hold the title.

Her son, Private Thomas Welch trained as an infantryman, served in Afghanistan in 2003, and less than three months after returning to Canada, hanged himself at the army base at Petawawa, Ontario. Thomas was 22 when he died.

Cenerini, after researching symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) fought for years to have her son’s death reclassified as a military death. It finally was reclassified in 2017. An investigation in the Globe and Mail revealed he was the first soldier to die by suicide after serving in Afghanistan.

Private Thomas Welch was an infantryman and member of the 3rd Battalion based in Petawawa, Ont., who committed suicide less than three months after returning from Afghanistan. His mother, Anita Cenerini, will place a wreath at the National War Memorial in Ottawa on Remembrance Day, November 11.
Private Thomas Welch was an infantryman and member of the 3rd Battalion based in Petawawa, Ont., who committed suicide less than three months after returning from Afghanistan. His mother, Anita Cenerini, will place a wreath at the National War Memorial in Ottawa on Remembrance Day, November 11.  (THE CANADIAN PRESS/The Royal Canadian Legion Dominion Command)

Cenerini made public painful details of the changes in her son’s mood and demeanour after his tour of duty. Once quiet and cheerful on the job, Welch became agitated, angry and withdrawn after his stint in Afghanistan. He was never diagnosed or treated.

After being named Silver Cross Mother, Cenerini issued a statement: “The emotional, psychological and spiritual injuries our soldiers endure in service to their country may be injuries we have difficulty understanding or accepting … but we can no longer allow fear and ignorance to deny these soldiers the honour they deserve in their deaths, and the dignity and respect for the families left to mourn.”

You can bet she will use her year long position to reinforce that point. Bravo to the Legion for giving her the opportunity to do so.

In Halifax, on the same day Cenerini was announced as a Silver Cross Mother, Audrey Parker, 57, was getting ready to die.

She had been diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer in 2016, which had now spread to her bones and she had already been approved for a medically assisted death.

There was just one problem. Parker would have liked to hang on at least until Christmas but she was worried that because the cancer had begun to invade the lining of her brain, she might not at a future point be able to give the legally required late stage consent.

And so she went public with her decision to end her life before she was quite ready to do so, hoping it would spur the policy-makers to change the requirement for late stage consent in her category.

Like many others who saw her being interviewed, I was struck by how cheerful and even glowing Parker looked. It unnerved me. This woman can’t be ready to die, I thought.

Yet die she did, surrounded by loved ones and leaving a poignant Facebook post saying “I died a beautiful death.”

She also made the point that if it weren’t for a rigorous legal stipulation that she, who had a right to live and die as she wished, had to give that final late stage consent right before a lethal injection (in place no doubt to protect the vulnerable) she’d still be with us, no doubt wearing her cluster of bracelets and paying fastidious attention to all the details that made her who she was.

I loved her self written obituary, talking about her childhood, her education, her love of dancing (she was an “underage disco queen”) and chronicling her years as a businesswoman and fundraiser who never dreamed that with her dire medical diagnosis she would turn into an advocate for changes in the laws around medical assistance in dying.

Dying With Dignity Canada will submit “Audrey’s Law” to the federal government, asking for an amendment that will abolish late stage consent for those like Parker already approved for a medically assisted death.

This Friday Audrey Parker will be celebrated at a memorial service in Halifax. Before she died, she invited everyone to come, and even better, petition their member of parliament for changes to the law.

Two days later, Silver Cross Mother Anita Cenerini will lay her wreath in Ottawa and be honoured at a luncheon.

In an era in which politicians suck up so much oxygen loudly proclaiming to be doing what they’re doing — good, bad or unspeakable — on behalf of “ordinary people”, it’s worth saluting these two women. For their quiet heroism, and their grace and persistence in using their personal tragedies as an opportunity to change lives.

Not so ordinary after all.

Judith Timson is a Toronto-based writer and a freelance contributing columnist for the Star. Follow her on Twitter: @judithtimson


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Gap in privacy law leaves elections open to ‘misuse’ of personal information: privacy commissioner


The next federal election will face « important risks » unless Parliament makes political parties subject to privacy law, Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien warned Thursday.

« Canadian political parties’ lack of oversight is unfortunately becoming an exception compared to other countries, and it leaves Canadian elections open to the misuse of personal information and manipulation, » Therrien told members of a parliamentary committee studying the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal.

« The bottom line is that without proper data regulation, there are important risks to a fair electoral process and this applies to the next federal election in Canada. »

Therrien said the time for allowing businesses and political parties to self-regulate is over.

« The government can delay no longer. »

Conservative Trevor Bailey, Liberal Michael Fenrick and New Democrat Jesse Calvert testify before the Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics committee on Oct. 30, 2018. (Elizabeth Thompson)

Therrien said he recently returned from a privacy conference in Europe, where Apple CEO Tim Cook warned that the personal information of individuals was being « weaponized » against them.

« Individual privacy is not a right we simply trade off for innovation, efficiency or commercial gain, » he said. « No one has freely consented to having their personal information weaponized against them.

« Similarly, we cannot allow Canadian democracy to be disrupted, nor can we permit our institutions to be undermined in a race to digitize everything and everyone, simply because technology makes this possible. »​

Therrien’s testimony came as the Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics Committee continued its probe into a massive breach of personal information involving Cambridge Analytica and Facebook.

In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal — which saw the personal data of millions of Facebook users used to help microtarget potential voters in the U.S. and the U.K — the ethics committee has been digging into what Canadian political parties have been doing with the personal information they gather.

Therrien said his office has been working with the office of British Columbia’s information and privacy commissioner to investigate allegations made about Facebook and Aggregate IQ, a B.C.-based company.

Aggregate IQ has been accused of creating a data mining platform for Cambridge Analytica used by a campaign to promote British independence from the European Union, and for the presidential campaigns of Ted Cruz and then Donald Trump. AIQ has denied working for Cambridge Analytica.

Therrien said he is planning to release the first phase of their findings by the end of this year, with a follow-up report scheduled for the spring.

Apple CEO Tim Cook warned last week that personal information is being « weaponized. » (Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press)

With less than a year to go before the next election, political parties still are not subject to any rules governing the personal information they gather on Canadians. Over the years, the Liberals, Conservatives and New Democrats have amassed databases crammed with details about Canadian voters — everything from names and addresses to political opinions.

The Privacy Act governs information held by government bodies. The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) applies to companies. Political parties have been exempt from both laws.

On Tuesday, the New Democratic Party became the only one of Canada’s three largest parties to support making political parties subject to a privacy law like PIPEDA — something the Green Party had already endorsed.

The Conservative Party said it would comply with whatever laws are adopted by Parliament, while the Liberal Party argued that subjecting political parties to privacy laws would hamper their ability to attract volunteers and engage Canadians.

Therrien questioned the Liberal Party’s assertion, pointing out that political parties in B.C and the European Union are subject to privacy laws and nobody has complained that it stops them from campaigning.

« It is absolutely imperative for privacy laws to be applied to Canadian political parties. »

Elizabeth Thompson can be reached at


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StatCan scooped up 15 years of personal financial data from Canadian credit bureau – National


As Statistics Canada plans to build a massive new personal information bank with the real-time financial transaction data of hundreds of thousands of Canadians, Global News has learned the agency has scooped up 15 years’ worth of credit rating information from a major international credit bureau which could include millions of Canadians.

The data harvest was done without the consent or knowledge of those Canadians whose credit history was passed on Statistics Canada.

Statistics Canada, which has broad powers to compel any organization to turn over data that organization collects, directed the credit bureau TransUnion of Canada Inc., based in Burlington, Ont., to provide social insurance numbers, names, addresses, dates-of-birth and detailed credit information, including balances owed, balances overdue, and more than 30 other fields or categories of data.

The requests occurred in October 2017 and more recently in January 2018.

WATCH: StatCan’s push to scoop payment data on 500,000 Canadians deserves scrutiny

Statistics Canada could not immediately say how many records were retrieved from TransUnion. TransUnion confirmed the data transfer but would not say how many records were transferred, but implied it was not its entire Canadian consumer data set.

“We are providing Statistics Canada with select administrative data on consumers to help them efficiently collect information for social and economic purposes,” TransUnion spokesperson David Blumberg said in an e-mailed statement. Blumberg declined to say how many Canadians have a credit score maintained by TransUnion.

“Statistics Canada’s access … has no impact on any individual’s credit score,” Blumberg said. “Statistics Canada is not reviewing the credit history of individual Canadians or performing credit checks on individual Canadians.”

TransUnion and Equifax Canada of Toronto are the two Canadian consumer credit bureaus. Equifax, which has data on about 27 million Canadian consumers, said it has neither been contacted by Statistics Canada nor has it provided StatCan with any data it controls.

By law, Statistics Canada is not obligated to inform individual Canadians whose personal information it obtains from credit bureaus nor is it required to obtain the consent of Canadians, a practice Canada’s privacy commissioner has urged the federal agency to change.

Trudeau defends Statistics Canada move to collect banking info of 500,000 Canadians

Statistics Canada’s harvest of the personal information from credit bureaus has been discussed among the community of Canada’s privacy experts and advocates but the practice has had no Parliamentary scrutiny or little public discussion.

Canada’s privacy commissioner, Daniel Therrien, noted in his recent annual report to Parliament that Statistics Canada is increasingly using its statutory powers to obtain detailed data about Canadians from their mobile phone companies, utility providers and credit bureaus.

“We were concerned and felt many Canadians might be surprised to learn the government is collecting their information in this way and for this purpose,” privacy commissioner spokesman Corey Larocque told Global News last week. “We have emphasized the need for public transparency to the Agency.”

Peter Hope-Tindall, a Toronto-based privacy expert, discovered Statistics Canada had retrieved his credit report from TransUnion. He was told by the agency that it had not asked for his credit information specifically but had obtained all records on any Canadian consumer held by TransUnion.

In a letter to Hope-Tindall, Statistics Canada said, “by using administrative data sources such as TransUnion, Statistics Canada is able to improve data quality, meet new and ongoing information needs, reduce data collection costs and save time for Canadians who respond to our surveys.”

Statistics Canada said the credit information it obtained is aggregated and used for statistical purposes only. It also said all personal identifiers are stripped from its database.

READ MORE: Stats Canada requesting banking information of 500,000 Canadians without their knowledge

And yet, when Hope-Tindall filed a request under Canada’s Privacy Act to have Statistics Canada divulge any information it had about him, Statistics Canada was able to provide him with all the personal identifiers he was told had been stripped out of its database.

Federal Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer said Tuesday there are “legitimate privacy concerns” with StatCan’s collection of personal banking information.

“It caught many, many Canadians by surprise,” Scheer said while speaking at the Toronto Real Estate Board’s annual meeting. “We have a government entity that is not just going to get a snapshots of the population, but specific transactional data about where you’ve been spending your money, what you’ve been putting on your credit card. I believe that is unacceptable.”

On Monday in the House of Commons, the federal Conservatives called on the Trudeau government to intervene at Statistics Canada to put a halt to the planned creation of a new real-time database that would contain the detailed financial transaction data for 500,000 randomly-selected Canadians. Statistics Canada plans to compel Canada’s nine largest financial institutions to begin handing over that information early in the new year.

As with the credit bureau project, none of those randomly-selected Canadians will have the opportunity to consent to having details about every purchase made with a debit or credit card, every ATM withdrawal, loan payments and other transaction transferred to Statistics Canada. Nor will any of them be informed that their data is being transferred to the agency.

“It just never occurred to me that [Statistics Canada] would go directly to our banks and seek our sensitive financial data without at the very least any notification to me let alone getting my consent,” said Ann Cavoukian, a former Ontario privacy commissioner, in an interview Monday. “So that lack of transparency, I think, is very problematic.”

The Canadian Bankers’ Association, which represents the country’s largest financial institutions, has indicated that it has concerns about the project and expected more discussion before Statistics Canada proceeded with the project.

On its Twitter account Tuesday, one of Canada’s largest banks, The Royal Bank of Canada, tried to assure a customer nervous about the project by saying, “we’ll only use [collected data] for the purposes listed in our client agreements. Before using info for a purpose not listed, we first obtain consent. No customer transaction data or other personal info has been transferred to Stats Canada.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in response to questions by Conservative MP Candice Bergen, defended the Statistics Canada project.

TransUnion of Canada is a subsidiary of TransUnion Inc. Chicago, which maintains a database of the credit scores of 1 billion consumers in more than 30 countries including Canada.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Privacy commissioner investigating personal data collection at cannabis stores


P.E.I.’s information and privacy commissioner has launched an investigation to see if the new government run cannabis stores are collecting personal data from customers — and how they’re using any information collected. 

Commissioner Karen Rose said she decided to investigate after being informed by a member of the public that the stores are using electronic ID scanners. 

Why is that practice not taking place at the liquor stores or with people purchasing tobacco?— Kara MacRae

« Our investigation will include any and all personal information which is being collected by the cannabis outlets, » Rose said in an email to CBC News Friday. « We are also investigating how that personal information, if any, will be used, and whether, and how, it will be disclosed. »

Rose said she’ll also look in the security measures that are in place to protect customers’ personal information. 

Data found stored in device

In an email to CBC Friday, Cannabis Management Corporation (CMC) said an IT specialist examined the scanner after concerns were raised and found some data was being kept for 24 hours inside the device.

Customer privacy is a priority, said Zach Currie, director of the province’s cannabis operations. He said that no data is collected about anybody who visits or purchases anything at the new retail stores. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

« This data was immediately wiped and settings have been changed so nothing can be kept in the future, » the email said.

« The privacy commissioner has been in contact with the Cannabis Management Corporation and CMC will be fully briefing her on this matter. »

However, later on Friday CMC announced it would be pulling the scanners from the stores. 

‘Standalone device’

Zach Currie, the director of cannabis operations for CMC, said the scanners were merely a tool to flag fake IDs and not intended to collected personal information from customers.  

Privacy commissioner Karen Rose says she decided to investigate P.E.I.’s cannabis stores after hearing they’re using electronic ID scanners. (Krystalle Ramlakhan/CBC)

« Our core pillar of our customer service piece is ensuring customer confidentiality, so we don’t retain any data, » said  Currie. 

« Those ID scanners are not connected to any sort of internet. They are not connected to our Wi-Fi. They are essentially a standalone device that our folks use. »

Currie said the scanner is an industry standard used in other jurisdictions to validate a wide variety of national and international identification cards.

He says staff have been instructed to scan every person’s ID entering the store, even people who appear to be much older than 19 — the legal age for purchasing cannabis. 

Cannabis stores ‘overdoing it’

Currie acknowledges the scanning practice has prompted several questions and concerns from Islanders, including Kara MacRae, who emailed P.E.I.’s finance minister. 

Valid photo identification cards must be verified by a staff member at every P.E.I. Cannabis location to ensure that no one under the age of 19 enters the store. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

« I question the scanning. What is being done with the information they’re collecting off the ID? Where’s it going? Who has access to it? Is it protected under privacy laws? And why is that practice not taking place at the liquor stores or with people purchasing tobacco? » MacRae said.

Currie said given how new the legal cannabis industry is, and the concerns around young people getting their hands on pot, the province may be « overdoing it in some circumstances to ensure we’re thought of as a retailer very focused on social responsibility. »

He said the practice of using scanners and IDing everyone will be reviewed, and may be changed « in the months ahead. »

The privacy commissioner hasn’t said how long her investigation will take. 

More P.E.I. news

With files from Steve Bruce


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Montreal police must be ‘fit for duty’ but will be allowed to smoke marijuana on personal time – Montreal


Montreal police officers will be allowed to smoke cannabis outside of working hours so long as they are “fit for duty” once legalization comes into effect on Oct. 17.

“If for example, one of your colleagues notices that they’re unfit for duty, you know because they seem impaired, they seem dizzy, there’s something wrong,” Insp. André Durocher said.

“That’s how we’re going to go about it.”

READ MORE: Montreal to follow provincial guidelines when it comes to smoking pot in public spaces

The announcement, which was made on Wednesday as the city unveiled its marijuana action plan, is a stark contrast to other policies taken by police forces across Canada.

In Toronto, police officers will be banned from consuming recreational marijuana within 28 days of reporting for duty. The RCMP has adopted a similar tone, barring Mounties from using cannabis one month before any shift.

The rule is stricter in Edmonton, where police officers will not be allowed to consume, smoke or use cannabis at all when it becomes legal next week.

In Montreal, however, a zero-tolerance policy is not part of the city’s approach. Durocher said the “fit for duty” principle is what the police force currently enforces when it comes to the use of any substances — whether that is cannabis, alcohol or medication.

“It’s the same for anything else,” he said.

READ MORE: Legault says he’ll raise Quebec’s marijuana age to 21

Durocher said the city’s marijuana plan was created “according to our culture, our organization and what we think is best,” and that it is the best way to ensure the “safety of our officers and of our population.”

The move comes exactly one week before recreational cannabis becomes legal across the country. Canadians over the age of 18 or 19, depending on the province, will be allowed to buy and possess marijuana.

In Quebec, however, the newly-elected Coalition Avenir Québec government has pledged to raise the age from 18 to 21. The move would mean the province would have the highest age requirement for cannabis across the country.

— With files from Gloria Henriquez, Amanda Connolly and The Canadian Press

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Google Plus to close after bug leaks personal information


SAN FRANCISCO—Google is shutting down its underwhelming Plus social network for regular users, following its disclosure of a flaw discovered in March that exposed personal information of up to 500,000 people.

The announcement came in a Monday blog post , which was also Google’s first public description of the privacy bug.

The Wall Street Journal, citing anonymous individuals, reports that Google deliberately avoided disclosing the problem at the time, in part to avoid drawing regulatory scrutiny.

The Google Plus flaw could have allowed 438 external apps to scoop up user names, email addresses, occupations, gender and age without authorization.

The company says it didn’t find any evidence that any of the affected personal information was misused. It says that’s one reason it delayed disclosing the problem.


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