Waterfront Toronto wants court to throw out lawsuit seeking to stop Sidewalk Labs development


The government agency is arguing that the suit filed by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) is premature, since negotiations are ongoing. CCLA said the development would breach constitutionally protected privacy rights. A hearing is scheduled for March 25. (The Globe and Mail)

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Talking point: This is a procedural move by Waterfront Toronto, but it could have significant consequences. If the court determines it is premature to consider whether privacy rights would be violated, that would “rip the guts out of the lawsuit,” per CCLA executive director Michael Bryant. In April 2019, when CCLA filed its lawsuit, Waterfront Toronto asked the group to enter negotiations, instead, and said it couldn’t assess the claims because it didn’t yet have Sidewalk Labs’ final plan. If this attempt is unsuccessful, Waterfront Toronto will have the opportunity to respond to the substance of CCLA’s allegations—namely, that the proposed development would include non-consensual mass surveillance. But even if the case is thrown out, there may soon be an opportunity to refile: Waterfront Toronto is voting on May 20 on whether to approve the development.