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Canadian soldier claiming $60,000 in damages from Armed Forces

211RadOp

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Canadian soldier claiming $60,000 in damages from armed forces after they spread his medical information: lawsuit

No investigations provided Boucher with the identity of all those who had disclosed intimate details about his crisis, or provided him with any compensation

Christopher Nardi Christopher Nardi 

Published on: November 26, 2020 | Last Updated: November 26, 2020 3:13 PM EST

OTTAWA – A Canadian soldier is suing the armed forces for $60,000 in damages after enduring “harassment”, “emotional pain and suffering” when colleagues and superiors allegedly spread confidential information about a “medical crisis” he suffered last year.

When Master Warrant Officer Gregory Boucher suffered a medical emergency at his home on Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Borden on Nov. 16, 2019 and was hospitalized for several days, he and his wife expected the event to stay private.

What the member of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) for nearly thirty years did not expect was that “many persons at his workplace were aware not only that he had been hospitalized, but also of the medical reason for his hospitalization and specific confidential details surrounding his medical crisis,” reads a lawsuit filed to the Federal Court earlier this month.

<snip>

... Boucher filed two complaints to the Department of National Defence (DND).

The first was sent to DND’s director of privacy, whose investigation  concluded last June that there had been “unauthorized disclosure” of Boucher’s confidential information, and that his privacy rights had been breached, the lawsuit says.

The second was a harassment complaint filed with the CAF and other high-ranking brass at DND. According to Boucher’s lawsuit, this investigation concluded that he had been harassed because of the “disclosure of confidential medical information.”

To make matters worse, court documents say the investigations determined that Boucher’s medical information was disclosed to his colleagues without his knowledge nor consent “as many as four” times.

More at link

https://www.thewhig.com/news/politics/canadian-soldier-claiming-60000-in-damages-from-armed-forces-after-they-spread-his-medical-information-lawsuit/wcm/1cba582f-744d-4d6e-b679-eb62be2a11f8
 

Jarnhamar

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What the member of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) for nearly thirty years did not expect was that “many persons at his workplace were aware not only that he had been hospitalized, but also of the medical reason for his hospitalization and specific confidential details surrounding his medical crisis,” reads a lawsuit filed to the Federal Court earlier this month.

An MWO of nearly 30 years in the CAF is surprised at how fast rumors and smoke-pit talk spreads?

Not acceptable mind you.
 

PMedMoe

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Jarnhamar said:
An MWO of nearly 30 years in the CAF is surprised at how fast rumors and smoke-pit talk spreads?

Not acceptable mind you.

Rumours are one thing, unauthorized disclosure of confidential information is quite another.
 

Remius

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Jarnhamar said:
An MWO of nearly 30 years in the CAF is surprised at how fast rumors and smoke-pit talk spreads?

Not acceptable mind you.

Seems a bit more than rumours here.  Rumours are one thing.  Actual private info being disseminated is another. 

 

Jarnhamar

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Remius said:
Seems a bit more than rumours here.  Rumours are one thing.  Actual private info being disseminated is another.

That's true, reading it again it sounds more like medical staff discussed his condition.
 

MilEME09

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Jarnhamar said:
That's true, reading it again it sounds more like medical staff discussed his condition.

Medical staff, the CoC, to many people discussed confidential information. Two investigations have said is privacy was violated, and resulted in harassment.

While the article doesn't say, it suggests no one was held accountable for it. If no one was after two investigations, I hope his lawsuit leads to atleast a relook at training for CFHS personal when it comes to disclosure to a CoC.
 

Blackadder1916

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Jarnhamar said:
That's true, reading it again it sounds more like medical staff discussed his condition.

Reading it once (and once was enough), it doesn't "necessarily" sound like the medical staff strayed outside the bounds of medical confidentiality  They might have (probably the same percentage of a**holes in the medical world as the rest of the CF), but there were other parties who were also privy to some aspects of this member's "medical" history.  To begin with, the first responders were "military firefighters and police officers".

According to the article, breeches of his privacy ". . .  occurred during meetings involving the Company Sergeant Majors of his unit, during at least one telephone conversation between some of his superiors and also during a variety of conversations between his superiors and colleagues".  There is no specific mention of involvement by medical staff in those actions, but, as I already indicated, that doesn't mean there wasn't.

Things have undoubtedly changed in the years since I hung up the green suit and medical confidentiality (though it was important back then) has rightly restricted the information that may be given to a member's CoC, though even back then it was, in practice very, very limited.  From the few details in the article, one of the objections that the member seems to have is that his unit was informed that he had been hospitalized.  While the procedures that I remember (CFAO 34-40 - HOSPITAL ADMISSIONS AND DISCHARGES - REPORTING . . . long ago cancelled) may no longer be in effect, it's likely that they have been replaced by an instruction that still requires the unit to be informed when one of their pers has been hospitalized - it's that accounting for bodies thing.

The one individual named as a party in this suit is the RSM, along with the Attorney General of Canada (for the CAF) and a so far unidentified "John Doe".  What most fail to recognize is that if someone, during the course of their duties, legitimately receives personal information of a medical nature (such as the hospitalization details of a member of their unit) then they are still bound to hold that information confidential and only use it for the purpose that it was collected/transmitted, even if they are not in a medical position.  They don't get to discuss it during CSM meetings, they shouldn't ask for greater detail (even if they think it will help them form a more complete picture of the situation) and they don't get to talk about it with spouses (even under the misguided notion of shared sympathy for a colleague).

One item not mentioned in the article is the firm of the plaintiff's lawyer.  She is from the Michel Drapeau Law Office (MLDO).  Mention of Colonel-Maitre®* Drapeau usually elicits a few choice words on these means.


*  I noticed Colonel (ret'd) Drapeau now uses this title (with the registered trademark symbol) on his website.  Yes, he has trademarked himself.

 

Navy_Pete

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Blackadder1916 said:
One item not mentioned in the article is the firm of the plaintiff's lawyer.  She is from the Michel Drapeau Law Office (MLDO).  Mention of Colonel-Maitre®* Drapeau usually elicits a few choice words on these means.


*  I noticed Colonel (ret'd) Drapeau now uses this title (with the registered trademark symbol) on his website.  Yes, he has trademarked himself.

Bit of a sidebar, but what does Colonel-Maitre even mean? Also, can I trademark 'Pretentious Wanker, Esq.' and use that on business cards as my designated title? ::)
 

Blackadder1916

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Navy_Pete said:
Bit of a sidebar, but what does Colonel-Maitre even mean? Also, can I trademark 'Pretentious Wanker, Esq.' and use that on business cards as my designated title? ::)

Maitre, according to the language police

http://bdl.oqlf.gouv.qc.ca/bdl/gabarit_bdl.asp?id=2779
Maître

Le titre de maître est donné aux avocats, aux avocates et aux notaires dans l’exercice de leur profession. Il remplace alors monsieur ou madame. Il est à noter que ce titre ne s’emploie pas dans une signature, pas plus qu’il ne convient à quiconque d’employer le titre de monsieur ou madame dans ce contexte.

Comme dans le cas de monsieur ou madame, le titre de maître prend la majuscule et s’écrit en toutes lettres si on s’adresse directement à la personne concernée. Lorsqu’on parle de quelqu’un, on abrège généralement ce titre; si toutefois on décide de l’écrire au long, il prend la minuscule. L’abréviation de maître se fait par la suppression de certaines lettres intérieures du mot : Me (Mes au pluriel) ou Me (Mes au pluriel). L’abréviation Me est plus courante que l’abréviation Me et elle lui est d’ailleurs préférable. En effet, elle a l’avantage de supprimer tout risque de confusion avec le pronom me ou le déterminant mes.

Exemples:

-  Nous avons consulté Me Tremblay (ou maître Tremblay) à ce sujet.
-  Veuillez recevoir, Maître, l’expression de mes meilleurs sentiments.
-  Dans une signature : Carmen Martinez, notaire (et non : Maître Carmen Martinez)

In other words, "Lawyer" . . .  so "Wanker" isn't far off.
 

ModlrMike

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I agree with Blackadder1916, I have seen other occasions where a combination of first responder gossip, and some general background/suspicion from the chain of command has allowed people to make a highly educated guess about a member's medical condition. It doesn't require an outright leak to wind up a the correct answer.
 

Navy_Pete

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Blackadder1916 said:
Maitre, according to the language police

http://bdl.oqlf.gouv.qc.ca/bdl/gabarit_bdl.asp?id=2779
In other words, "Lawyer" . . .  so "Wanker" isn't far off.

What a weird thing to trademark; "Colonel-Lawyer". Especially as he's not registered in Qc to practice as a Maitre, and no longer a Colonel.

That seems like it could be easily contested if anyone cared, especially if it's a recognized term for a member of the Qc Bar in good standing.

If it was any other law firm, I'd think they might have a case, but his association with it undermines any real credibility and seems more like another publicity stunt.
 

brihard

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Navy_Pete said:
What a weird thing to trademark; "Colonel-Lawyer". Especially as he's not registered in Qc to practice as a Maitre, and no longer a Colonel.

That seems like it could be easily contested if anyone cared, especially if it's a recognized term for a member of the Qc Bar in good standing.

If it was any other law firm, I'd think they might have a case, but his association with it undermines any real credibility and seems more like another publicity stunt.

Which is weird. Doesn’t seem he has trouble finding clients. I don’t think any theatrics would be necessary. He has a commanding spot in a niche market.
 

brihard

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Blackadder1916 said:
I did a search for the Federal Court filing.

I wasn’t aware the federal court registry was online. Useful. Thanks!
 

OldSolduer

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Navy_Pete said:
Bit of a sidebar, but what does Colonel-Maitre even mean? Also, can I trademark 'Pretentious Wanker, Esq.' and use that on business cards as my designated title? ::)

Now you made me laugh with "Pretentious Wanker". Its a common affliction.
 
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