Video Surveillance and Vehicle Monitoring

In the workplace the employee is subject to the direction of the employer with regard to day-to-day tasks. The employer has the right to monitor employees to ensure that the required tasks are being performed in a fashion acceptable to the employer. However, these employer rights are limited by the right of employees to expect a reasonable degree of privacy in the workplace.

Video surveillance of employees captures information that may be considered personal information and the records created are subject to the provisions of LAFOIP.

Any records created by video surveillance are subject to the same legal and policy requirements regarding access, storage and retention as any other records.

Before embarking on the use of video surveillance it is important to conduct a privacy impact assessment (PIA). While PIAs are not required by LAFOIP they are an essential method of showing the need for the video surveillance and that it was done in a considered and appropriate manner that is consistent with LAFOIP.

Acceptable Use of Video Surveillance

Case law indicates that the following types of questions must be asked in order to justify the use of video surveillance in the workplace:

  • Was the surveillance necessary to meet a specific need?
  • Is it likely to be effective in meeting that need?
  • Is the loss of privacy proportional to the benefit gained?
  • Was the loss of privacy minimal or is there a less invasive way of achieving the same end?
  • Was it conducted in a reasonable manner?
  • Was there a legitimate need to have the cameras installed where they were?
  • Was the use of surveillance reasonable in all of the circumstances?

The employer has to be able to show that a problem exists and that the use of cameras is the only reasonable alternative left to resolve the issue. Safeguards need to be followed to ensure that the information is used appropriately and disposed of when no longer required.


If there is a genuine need for video surveillance for safety purposes it will be justifiable.

Employees should be informed of the reasons for the use of the camera and the locations of the cameras should be clearly identified to employees.

In some cases the monitoring of employees may be a necessary side-effect when monitoring is required for student safety purposes, for example video surveillance on buses.

Investigative Purposes

Surveillance might also be used for investigative purposes such as supervision of employees, monitoring of productivity, to investigate misuse of employer resources, worker dishonesty, or sabotage or to assess suitability of workers. While the employer has a right to use surveillance for all of these purposes if there is a legitimate business reason; surveillance cannot be used for intimidation or as a general method of observing employees.

In very limited circumstances it may be possible to use hidden cameras. This will be justified only if there is no other method of obtaining the required information.

Use of Video Surveillance Records

The information captured by the surveillance must:

  • 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 must be in place to set out responsibilities and requirements concerning the use of the equipment and data. As well, appropriate checks and safeguards must 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.

The Office of the Saskatchewan Information and Privacy Commissioner has produced Guidelines for Video Surveillance by Saskatchewan Public Bodies.

GPS and Electronic Monitoring on Vehicles

If the system is used for safety purposes it will be acceptable. If an employee is travelling for purposes of their job – and the information is collected for that purpose – then the information would not be considered personal information pursuant to section 23(2)(f) of LAFOIP. If the vehicle is also used for personal use of the employee then information gathered with respect to that use would be personal information of the employee.

If the electronic monitoring system is used for purposes of monitoring employees for performance assessment issues it may be deemed too intrusive and not allowed.