Surveillance cameras in CHSLD: conditions necessary to ensure respect for privacy
Québec City, June 5, 2015 – The Québec Ombudsman wishes to clarify certain points further to a question raised in the National Assembly earlier today on the right of people living in residential and long-term care centres (CHSLDs) to install surveillance devices in their private rooms.
Certain guidelines and conditions must be met when surveillance cameras are installed in a private room in a CHSLD. Seen from this angle, it is not an absolute right.
As the law currently stands, users or their legal representatives who, without the residential institution’s knowledge, install a visual or auditory surveillance device in their private rooms are not doing anything illegal as long as the device does not interfere with the right to privacy of the users themselves, their families, other users and institution employees. Another important nuance—installation of technological devices by users or their legal representatives is warranted if there is reason to believe that the users’ health or safety is at risk.
“The right to install surveillance cameras in a private room is a delicate issue that has to do with the private lives of many people, so its application isn’t straightforward because every situation is different. As a result, there are certain requirements that have to be respected, in particular so that users or their visitors are not filmed without their consent,” Ombudsperson Raymonde Saint-Germain pointed out.
Case law on the use of technological means by CHSLD residents is relatively recent and still at a fledgling stage of development. This means that there are very few residential institutions in Québec that have guidelines and rules in this respect.
To be consulted
Read the letter by the Québec Ombudsman (PDF, 388 KB, French version only).
About the Québec Ombudsman
As Québec’s parliamentary ombudsman, the Québec Ombudsman handles complaints about public services impartially and independently. Its mission is to ensure that the rights of citizens are upheld in their dealings with the government and the health and social services network. In so doing, it participates in improving the quality of Québec’s public services.
Carole-Anne Huot, 418-646-7143/418-925-7994