Do We Throw Our Privacy Rights Out With the Trash? The Alberta Court of Appeal’s Decision in R. v. Patrick


  • William MacKinnon



Grocery lists, birth control information, bank records, and intimate letters to friends past: all are personal items that find their way into the garbage bins of Canadians on a daily basis.1 Canadians have come to expect that once a garbage bag is thrown in a bin behind a home, it makes a direct uninterrupted trip to a landfill, a place where its contents will remain private through the decomposition process. Few realize that, quite frequently, the police, as state agents charged with the responsibility of solving criminal cases, sift through the discarded items of Canadians in the hunt for valuable information. This police behaviour raises two important constitutional questions...




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