Commissioner Releases Investigation Report Regarding Use of Video Cameras in the Workplace

May 16, 2005

Commissioner Frank Work authorized an investigation under the Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) into the use of video cameras by R.J. Hoffman Holdings Ltd. (“Hoffmans”). The Complainant was a former employee  who alleged that Hoffmans was using video surveillance in contravention of PIPA.

Hoffmans installed video surveillance cameras throughout its Lloydminster premises for the following purposes:

  1. Asset security and employee safety,
  2. Employee performance management.

The Commissioners’ investigators found that:

  • While privacy rights in the workplace are not absolute, PIPA requires that an employer establish that the purposes for collecting information via video cameras are reasonable;
  • The collection of personal employee information for purposes of ensuring employee safety is reasonable in this circumstance, and in compliance with PIPA; and
  • The collection of personal employee information for the purposes of managing employee productivity would not be considered reasonable in this case, and would contravene PIPA.

This report outlines organizations’ privacy obligations when personal employee information is collected and used by employers through the use of video surveillance. It recommends that Hoffmans:

  • Amend its employee orientation package materials to include privacy practices and policies generally and the presence of and purposes for the video cameras specifically;
  • Post clear signage in conspicuous locations throughout the premises giving notice of the presence of the video cameras;
  • Appoint a privacy officer who will be accountable for Hoffmans’ privacy compliance.