MBCA on Privacy vs Child Protection

The Manitoba Court of Appeal recently ruled on the right of a child protection agency to request the personal information associated with a subscriber to an IP address.

Child and Family All Nations Coordinated Response Network (ANCR) was contacted by the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) in February, 2016 who were in turn, informed by Interpol that a convicted sex offender in the United Kingdom may have had contact with someone they believed to be a child in 2012. ANCR asked Shaw Communications to identify the owner of the IP address. Shaw refused without a court order.

The application was first taken up with a Master, who did not have jurisdiction to hear an application as opposed to a motion, and then it went to a judge, who dismissed it, concluding that she did not have the jurisdiction to make the order either.

This decision is significant for its analysis of the interpretation of a statute.

[18] ANCR brought its application pursuant to the QB Rules for a determination of rights based upon the interpretation of the CFS Act and regulations. Rule 14.05(2)(c)(iv) of the QB Rules allows for the determination of rights that depend on the interpretation of any document referred to in the rule, in this case, a statute. The rule does not create jurisdiction, but provides a means to determine the nature and extent, if any,
of jurisdiction that already exists.

Steel, J.A. dismissed the application based on the documentation and evidence, while noting that the child protection agency did indeed have the jurisdiction to make such a request. Also of significance are Beard, J.A.’s concurring reasons.

ANCR v. Shaw Communications Inc. , 2017 MBCA 92