Labour Studies Index

Updated: 2022-05-16

The Other Side of the Balance: Employer Interests, Work Systems and R. v. Cole Privacy, Law and the Contemporary Workplace: New Challenges and Directions

Document type Article
Author Michaluk, Dan
Journal Canadian Labour and Employment Law Journal
Volume 18
Date 2014-2015
Pages 459-466


In October 2012, the Supreme Court of Canada issued a decision much-anticipated by Canadian employers. In R. v. Cole,' it affirmed an Ontario Court of Appeal holding that a schoolteacher had a reasonable expectation of privacy in a work-issued laptop. Some hailed the ruling as a landmark. But does Cole signal a significant shift in workplace rights and obligations? This short essay - written from the perspective of counsel to employers - explains why the answer to this question is "no." Cole recognizes a significant new pri- vacy interest, but also establishes a strong foundation for continued employer access to information stored on work systems.