A website for a government-run long-term care facility in Canada promises residents will be treated to birthday parties, sing-a-longs, and a "foot spa day." Unsurprisingly, there's no mention of the incredible violation of privacy many residents suffered at the hands of a single employee. A government investigation reviewed by the CBC notes an unnamed employee at Margaret Stewart Ellis Home in Prince Edward Island took a "head shot" of a dead resident, then shared it on Snapchat "with a very inappropriate caption." But investigators also found that over several months last year, the employee—who was fired—sent "inappropriate and degrading photos and videos" to coworkers showing "vulnerable residents while they were eating, sleeping, using the commode," and receiving care "after a bowel movement."
The documents—which note the employee claimed no involvement in the Snapchat photo and did "not recall" involvement in other allegations—don't say whether the worker took the images. The investigation revealed staff members were breaking the rules in using their cell phones at the home, so PEI's health authority held a refresher course on cell phone policies. But federal police say they weren't notified, which a law professor says is the most "extreme" case he's heard of in Canada. "The severity of this, where you're dealing with a vulnerable person and, in one case, even a person who is dead … is outrageous and shocking to me." When contacted by the CBC, the employee "said they had their own side of the story but did not wish to speak to the media." PEI's privacy commissioner has ordered authorities to release more details of the case within 40 days.