Watched by camera constantly?
Published on November 15, 2018
The representatives of FTQ Construction had to intervene on a site where there was a problem of cameras connected to a video surveillance system which allowed to film the workers continuously during the work.
Any employer must know that the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms protects workers against a method of continuous surveillance and without just cause? Here is some practical information to defend your rights.
Fundamental Rights Guaranteed by the Charter: Quebec Jurisprudence
In a recent decision, arbitrator Carol Jobin explains very well the limits of the right to supervision:
The City is not prohibited from permanently installing surveillance cameras outside and inside its buildings to protect property and people as a precaution.
What is prohibited because it is an unreasonable working condition is that these surveillance cameras are constantly focused on individuals, thus systematically tracking their actions and actions. It is then a form of harassment as if a foreman permanently settled with an employee to monitor for the duration of his work.
As mentioned above, an employer may still use surveillance cameras in specific circumstances that warrant it. There must be a substantial and ongoing problem which makes the installation of cameras necessary and that this camera is used in a coherent and proportionate way with regard to the problem to be solved and in order to fix an employee permanently.
Here are some parameters recognized by the case law regarding camera surveillance of workers:
- Surveillance by camera must be based on one or more real and serious reasons. The employer must demonstrate that there is a current, substantial and ongoing problem;
- This is the only way to solve the problem;
- The use of the cameras must be directly related to the problem. The existence of a problem does not permit a general monitoring of the premises. This surveillance should be directed to key locations;
- Cameras can not be constantly directed at workers and watch for them;
- The installation of cameras should not be used for disciplinary or performance control purposes;
- Surveillance must be limited in time, a limited number of people should have access to the video tapes and the tapes only if an incident occurs.
At all times, if you are experiencing a problem situation on a construction site, contact your union representative.