Canadian companies often are branch offices of American corporations and the government and corporations also practice outsourcing of data processing, which either moves data on Canadian citizens to the United States, or relies on American subsidiaries to process such data. Under the terms of the Patriot Act in the United States, the FBI can be secretly authorized by a secret court to view any information on any American citizen including the records of private businesses. The Patriot Act grants the American government sweeping powers related to the access of this information, while Canadian governments are passing strict laws with million dollar fines for any company which, in response to an American court order, divulges any information on any Canadian citizen to the American government. This leads to the possibility of 'dueling legal systems' each issuing conflicting court orders.
Provincial governments in Canada have outsourced the processing of databases to American subsidiaries. In Ontario 'welfare' has been outsourced to a private corporation. Certain credit card companies have found a solution to the problem of possible court room conflicts by requiring credit card holders to sign an agreement allowing release of information required by an American court order.
The British Columbia report drew submissions from countries around the world, as the problem is not confined to Canada but rather is considered international in scope. The United States legal system also is said to have a history of ignoring the laws of other countries, even when access to information required by the courts is not actually physcially located in the United States, and this being the case, it would certainly be true that American courts would ignore foreign laws when the information has been physically 'outsourced' to the United States.
U.S. can see our records
Patriot Act contravenes B.C. privacy laws
link to vancouver.cbc.ca
Canada study sees risk in U.S. anti-terrorism law