Today’s Court of Appeal for Ontario judgment in Citi Cards Canada Inc. v. Pleasance, 2011 ONCA 3 (Ont. C.A.) is an important victory for judgment debtors and upholds debtor privacy rights under Ontario’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, S.C. 2000, c. 5, (“PIPEDA”). The appeal dealt with the issue of whether a judgment creditor is entitled to obtain a mortgage statement, unrelated to the judgment debt, from a third-party creditor of the debtor so that the judgment creditor is able to pursue a legal remedy to enforce its judgment.
The appellant, Citi Cards, held a credit card-related judgment in the amount of $11,039.77 against the respondent, Pleasance , which it sought to enforce via a sheriff’s sale of the Pleasance home. The Sheriff refused to enforce the writ of execution unless provided with mortgage discharge statements from the mortgagees of the property, The Canada Trust Company and The Toronto-Dominion Bank; neither of whom were willing to disclose without prior written consent of the mortgagors.
The application judge dismissed Citi Cards’ application for an order requiring the mortgagees to produce the statements on the basis that they contained “personal information” of the judgment debtor, which was prohibited under section 7 of PIPEDA. Price, J. further ruled that Citi Cards had an alternative remedy under Rule 60.18(6) of the Rules of Civil Procedure to examine the debtor’s wife, who was also joint owner of the home. The application was adjourned to allow her to be be served with notice of the proceeding, since her privacy interests were potentially affected as well. (more…)