P.E.I. medical marijuana users involved in privacy complaints

After a privacy breach that affected thousands of people enrolled in the medical marijuana program, including some from P.E.I., a Halifax law firm wants to launch a class-action lawsuit against the federal government.

Undisclosed number of P.E.I. residents filed complaints against federal government for mailout mixup

Officials with the Privacy Commissioner of Canada won't disclose how many of the 339 people who filed complaints against the federal government are from P.E.I. (CBC)

After a privacy breach that affected thousands of people enrolled in the medical marijuana program, including some from P.E.I., a Halifax law firm wants to launch a class-action lawsuit against the federal government.              

Canada's privacy commissioner ruled earlier this week that Health Canada violated privacy rules in 2013 when it mailed out information to more than 40,000 people enrolled in the medical marijuana program.

The mailouts, which explained changes that were coming to the program, revealed the recipients were receiving medical marijuana.              

Health Canada says it was an administrative error and it's put measures in place to make sure it doesn't happen again.              

But that's not good enough for privacy lawyer David Fraser, with McInnes Cooper in Halifax. He says the mixup put recipients at an increased risk of burglary, social stigma and, in some cases, could cost people their jobs.

"It exposed people's sensitive personal health information in a way that was completely unnecessary and, at least in my view, they did so very carelessly," said Fraser.

"The use of medical marijuana is still stigmatized in some places and in some communities."

A judge will decide if the class-action lawsuit can go ahead at the start of the summer.              

Of the 339 people who have filed complaints against the government, the privacy commissioner says some are Islanders, but won't disclose how many.

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