Law firms are moving to file a lawsuit against the Northwest Territories government, holding the government liable for the various health privacy breaches that have occurred over the last decade.
Three law firms – Cooper Regal, Guardian Law, and James H. Brown & Associates – joined forces after discovering they were pursuing similar claims, and the group plans to file a statement of claim with the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories this week. According to Steven Cooper, one of the lawyers involved with the movement, the NWT does not have class action legislation, so they plan to use a representative action.
Cooper also told CBC News that the lawsuit could apply to tens of thousands of people and will resemble a class action. The representative action will cover several breaches, including the theft of a laptop which contained the health data of 80% of NWT residents, as well as an incident in which hundreds of confidential health files were found abandoned within a banker’s box at the Fort Simpson dump.
The lawyer remarked that a $10,000 fine is not enough to deter the government.
“The government of the Northwest Territories, as the keeper of the sacred information, is only going to take notice when punitive damages are in the millions, because it’s going to hurt them. They have to be hurt. They have to feel the economic pain,” Cooper remarked.