By Marie-Lissa Grenier, paralegal
Who has never heard a story where an injured worker, receiving compensation from the CNESST, gets caught playing volleyball, doing renovations around the house, carrying heavy grocery bags or even jogging? It is more than frequent that employers or the CNESST decide to shadow workers when they have doubts on the severity of their injuries. The SAAQ is no exception here, as they have the right to conduct such investigations as well. But what happens to the respect of private life under the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms?
The Court of Appeal of Quebec has established in 1999 the applicable criteria. In short, the monitoring of workers or beneficiaries of the SAAQ cannot be a simple “fishing expedition”, or be done solely “in case” they stumble upon incriminating information. Reasonable doubts PRIOR to the investigation is conducted are necessary for its results to be admissible in court. Also, this type of surveillance needs to be the very last resort to verify the person’s behaviour and be as non-intrusive as possible (Ex: One could not track a worker in his bedroom).
If these conditions aren’t met, the evidence gathered cannot be used against that person.