The Tort Of Intrusion On Seclusion

1841 Words8 Pages
Introduction The Ontario Court of Appeal recognized the tort of intrusion on seclusion in Jones v Tsige. This decision provided the foundation for determining damages under the tort. The foundation in Jones was modified by case law. This multiple case analysis will explore how an Ontario court should calculate damages, with reference to the following cases: Alberta v Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, Hopkins v Kay, and Condon v Canada. Taken together, these cases indicate that a damage award in Ontario should reflect the offensiveness of the invasion of privacy and the harm it caused. These factors should be balanced against any steps taken by the defendant to rectify the breach. Ultimately, this assessment should be…show more content…
The interest protected by the tort is intangible. Therefore, proof that a recognized economic interest was harmed is not required. For this reason, Sharpe JA capped potential damages at $20,000. Sharpe JA is trying to leave room to differentiate between degrees of highly offensive intrusions. He concluded that a range is necessary to maintain “consistency, predictability, and fairness between one plaintiff and another”. To determine where a case fits within the range, an Ontario court should consider five factors when assessing damages: (1) The nature, incidence and occasion of the defendant’s wrongful act, (2) the effect of the wrong on the plaintiff’s health, welfare, social, business or financial position, (3) any relationship, whether domestic or otherwise, between the parties, (4) any distress, annoyance or embarrassment suffered by the plaintiff arising from the wrong, and (5) the conduct of the parties, both before and after the wrong, including any apology or offer of amends made by the defendant. Sharpe JA did not mention whether this list was exhaustive. Furthermore, aggravated and punitive damages are neither excluded nor encouraged under the tort, unless the case is exceptional. Sharpe JA found that the defendant’s deliberate and repeated actions arising from a complex domestic arrangement, and its provocation of strong feelings and animosity in the plaintiff, favoured a higher award. In contrast, the fact that the plaintiff suffered no
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