The Federal, British Columbia and Alberta Privacy
Commissioners have jointly issued new Guidelines for the use of
video surveillance by private sector organizations. While
recognizing that there are legitimate reasons for private
sector organizations to use video surveillance techniques, the
Commissioners note that privacy laws impose restrictions on the
collection and use and disclosure of personal information, and
that video surveillance involves the collection of personal
The Guidelines are directed to organizations subject to the
Personal Information Protection and 'Electronic
Documents Act (PIPEDA), which applies to organizations
carrying out commercial activities in all provinces except BC,
Alberta and Quebec; to all organizations carrying out
commercial activities where personal information is transmitted
across an international or provincial border, no matter where
the organization is located; and to the employment relationship
between federally regulated organizations such as banks,
airlines and railway companies and their employees. The
Guidelines are also directed to organizations that are subject
to the BC and Alberta Personal Information Protection
Under these legislative regimes, the key legal test for the
collection, use or disclosure of personal information is that
these should be reasonable in the circumstances and only
permissible with the consent of the individual involved.
The Guidelines list ten factors to consider when considering
using video surveillance and when implementing a video
Determine whether a less privacy-invasive alternative to
video surveillance would meet your needs.
Establish the business reason for conducting video
surveillance and use video surveillance only for that
Develop a policy on the use of video surveillance.
Limit the use and viewing range of cameras as much as
Inform the public that video surveillance is taking
Store any recorded images in a secure location, with
limited access, and destroy them when they are no longer
required for business purposes.
Be ready to answer questions from the public. Individuals
have the right to know who is watching them and why, as well
as what information is being captured and what is being done
with recorded images.
Give individuals access to information about themselves.
This includes video images.
Educate camera operators about the obligation to protect
the privacy of individuals.
Periodically evaluate the need for video
The Guidelines also discuss a number of other issues
relating to video surveillance through a series of Questions
On March 11, 2009, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial
Institutions of Canada (OSFI) released a revised version of Guideline B-10, Outsourcing of Business Activities, Functions and Processes.
Gowlings Records Management group offers services permitting the importation of digitized documents into litigation support software so records can be viewed and analyzed by counsel and client from virtually anywhere.
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