Video in School

Before introducing the use of video surveillance in a school it is best practice to conduct a privacy impact assessment.

Safety Issues

Video surveillance can be justified if it is necessary to ensure the safety of students, staff and the public. The board of education (board) should be able to show the following:

  • there is a potential safety issue; and
  • use of video surveillance is the best approach to addressing the safety issue.

The information captured by the surveillance will:

  • be accessible only to those who need it to perform their jobs; and
  • be disposed of when no longer required for safety purposes;
  • appropriate policy or procedures will be in place to set out responsibilities and requirements concerning the use of the equipment and data; and
  • appropriate checks and safeguards will be put in place to monitor compliance with policy and procedures.

Consultation and education about the need for the cameras and reassurances of how the information will be used would be advisable.

Educational Purposes

The use of video as an educational tool is acceptable. There is no need to get consent from students or parents for the in-school use of recordings shown only in class or at school events for educational purposes. This is authorized by section 24 of LAFOIP which allows collection of information for a purpose that relates to the activity of the school division. This will generally include video which will be used as part of a professional development exercise for division staff. Section 27 allow the board to use the information for the purpose for which the information was obtained or complied or for a use consistent with that purpose

If, however, the video will be made public, such as being posted on the internet, provided to a television station, or giving copies to third parties, this would be considered a disclosure of personal information under LAFOIP and consent from the participants must be obtained.


When cameras are used for safety reasons, the existence of the cameras is not usually a secret and, in fact, is part of the safety process itself. Signage should be posted.

In very limited circumstances it may be possible to justify the use of hidden cameras when the behaviour of the student might be affected by knowledge of the presence of the camera.


The use of cameras on school buses is becoming a recognized method of ensuring the safety of students. There is likely a very strong argument in favour of this type of use of cameras. A history of incidents or problems, evidence that the board has tried or considered other less intrusive options, a policy that clearly states how the information will be used, and safeguards to ensure careful use of the information will all help justify the slight invasion of privacy involved.

Use of a privacy impact assessment before installing video cameras will be an effective way for the board to determine whether or not the use of video surveillance will have a disproportionate negative effect on privacy.

When use of video surveillance is being considered to address student-related issues the board must also consider the implications the process might have for employees.

The Office of the Saskatchewan Information and Privacy Commissioner has created a resource entitled Guidelines for Video Surveillance by Saskatchewan Public Bodies.