Ca: Medical marijuana users launch proposed lawsuit after Health Canada privacy gaffe

I wish I had a dollar for every mailing error where someone’s Social Security number was exposed in the envelope window or embedded in the mailing address – or where one person’s statement got combined with another person’s in the same envelope.

But those kind of mailing errors are nothing compared to a mailing error by Health Canada that resulted in outing 40,000 medical marijuana users. How the heck no one noticed or caught the return mailing address as problematic is the definition of “human error.”

Not surprisingly, a lawsuit has been launched. The Canadian Press reports:

A proposed class action lawsuit has been launched after a slip-up by Health Canada outed thousands of medical marijuana users.

The suit alleges the department put the privacy and safety of 40,000 users at risk when it sent them personally addressed letters in an envelope that on its outside explicitly referred to the Medical Marijuana Access Program.

The legal action was filed Monday in Federal Court on behalf of Vancouver marijuana activist Jason Wilcox, who was among those identified in last week’s mailings.

Read more on CTV.

Since there is no un-ringing this bell, I wonder how a court would determine harm and damages for the class. Some people, who have kept their medical marijuana use confidential from family, neighbors, and co-workers may find themselves now suffering severe discrimination or social consequences. Others who have been more open about their need for medical marijuana may not suffer any real impact. So what would a court do?  And why did Health Canada suddenly switch to mailing via Canada Post when it had previously used a more discreet service that protected privacy?

 

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