City Legally Can Rummage Through Your Garbage

Much talk has occurred about whether city officials (or anyone else) have the legal right to go through your garbage.

This comes as the city plans to hire garbage inspectors to see if you are throwing out your refuse properly. It appears petty, unusual and expensive but not illegal.

Make sure you’re using your paper shredder when you put personal material into your recycling bucket. With the diminution of civility in society (witness retail and auto theft), identity theft is rampant. And there’s no guarantee that the inspectors themselves are necessarily honest.

No word on the legality of raccoons going through your garbage. Surprised the Supreme Court would leave such a loophole.

Here is part of the Supreme Court decision:

Objectively speaking, P abandoned his privacy interest in the information when he placed the garbage bags for collection at the back of his property adjacent to the lot line.  He had done everything required of him to commit the bags to the municipal collection system.  The bags were unprotected and within easy reach of anyone walking by in the public alleyway, including street people, bottle pickers, urban foragers, nosey neighbours and mischievous children, not to mention dogs and assorted wildlife, as well as the garbage collectors and the police.  However, until garbage is placed at or within reach of the lot line, the householder retains an element of control over its disposition.  It could not be said to have been unequivocally abandoned if it is placed on a porch or in a garage or within the immediate vicinity of a dwelling. Abandonment in this case is a function both of location and P’s intention.

Since P had abandoned his garbage before it was seized by the police, he had no subsisting privacy interest at the time it was seized.  The police conduct was objectively reasonable.  P’s lifestyle and biographical information was exposed, but the effective cause of the exposure was the act of abandonment by P, not an intrusion by the police into a subsisting privacy interest.


The City Seinfeld Papers

City Continues Its War On Rats

Parking Ticket Sanity Prevails: PATTON

Everything Ottawa      Full Local     Bulldog Canadian
Opinion    Comments    Breaking News    Auto
Ontario   World    Get Cheap Gas   Big Money
Pop Gossip   Your Home    Relax
Bulldog Weather    Full Local Sports
TV/Movies   Travel
Federal Politics
Page 2   Page 3   Page 4   Page 5   Page 6


Other features:    Full Bulldog Index    Return to Bulldog Home

2 Responses

  1. sisco farraro says:

    I can hardly wait until Mike Patton sinks his teeth into this one. Can I expect to meet some senior city officials at the end of my driveway? I’ll be sure to have coffee and Timbits ready.

  2. The Voter says:

    I am shocked! Shocked, I say, that you could harbour the notion that anyone in the employ of the City could be of anything but the most exemplary character! To imply that a garbage inspector could be less than the most sterling of beings is unbelievable! Surely this would make them people whose level of integrity doesn’t match that of other City employees past and present.

    Oh, and yes, I do have a shredder already, thanks.

    I don’t know if they still have this service but, in pre-amalgamation Rockcliffe and certainly just after amalgamation, those residents had their garbage collected from the side or back of their homes. Does that mean that, in addition to the other privileges they have, they retain ownership of their garbage until the garbageman takes it over their property line?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Paid Content

Home   Full Bulldog Index