Privacy Commissioner’s Interpretation of “Artistic” and “Journalistic” Work Upheld

British Columbia’s Personal Information and Privacy Act (“PIPA”) is one of several pieces of provincial legislation that protects the privacy rights of BC citizens. PIPA regulates how private sector organizations can collect, use and disclose information, and how citizens can access their personal information from such organizations. Notably however, PIPA does not apply in certain circumstances, including when the collection, use or disclosure of personal information is “for journalistic, artistic or literary purposes and for no other purpose”.

Recently, Madam Justice Adair of the BC Supreme Court upheld the decision of a Privacy Commissioner investigator who found that a complaint regarding the filming of a documentary series at the Canadian-US border constituted “artistic” or “journalistic” work and therefore PIPA did not apply. This case is one of the very few cases that have involved the interpretation and application of the “artistic” or “journalistic” exception under privacy legislation.

Catherine Boies Parker and David Wu were counsel of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of BC.  We have broad experience in administrative law matters, and has significant expertise in the area of privacy law.

The full decision can be found here: Taylor v. BC (Information and Privacy Commissioner).