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IPC Permits Video Surveillance on City Buses with Conditions

A city bus driver filed a complaint with the Information and Privacy Commissioner, arguing that the city’s use of cameras on buses to make audio recordings violated her privacy. The city argued that its surveillance on public buses was necessary to reduce violence against transit operators, vandalism and inappropriate customer behaviour. The Commissioner found that the driver’s conversations qualified as personal information under the law. In addition, audio surveillance could be necessary for the safety and security of passengers and staff in some circumstances. But although the signs posted in buses regarding the cameras were sufficient, the city’s video surveillance policy wasn’t adequate. So the Commissioner ruled that the city should revise its policy accordingly, conduct public consultations on the use of surveillance on buses and determine if the recordings could be taped over after less than 130 hours [Saskatoon (City) (Re), [2015] CanLII 34192 (SK IPC), June 11, 2015].