Canadian Supreme Court: No Warrantless Police Searches of Employees' Computers

Employees have diminished expectation of privacy on workplace computer, but employers nevertheless cannot hand over information to police without a warrant


Employees have a privacy right over personal use of workplace computers and should not be subject to warrantless police searches, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled Friday.

In a 6-1 judgment that has implications across the country, the high court said an individual's expectation of privacy may well be lessened or diminished if the computer belongs to an employer or if strict workplace policies bar personal use. However the majority ruling written by Justice Morris Fish said police must still obtain a warrant to seize contents.