An arbitrator recently considered the privacy rights of job applicants in the context of a collective agreement provision which required the employer to give the union copies of job applications upon request. The employer’s practice was to provide the union with summary information relating to internal job applicants only, with names and other personal information deleted.
The union sought a declaration that the collective agreement provided it with unrestricted access to all job applications for both internal and external applicants. The employer argued that such a declaration would be contrary to the restrictions on the disclosure of personal information in the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA).
The arbitrator ruled that the collective agreement must be interpreted in compliance with the FOIPPA, and that in the absence of an applicant’s consent, the employer was not permitted to disclose the information to the union.