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Harassment and vandalism complaints justify surveillance

The OPC received complaints from 37 CSC employees who argued their employer was using hidden surveillance cameras to collect their personal information without consent.

Managers at the Leclerc Institution, in Laval, Quebec, notified Correctional Service Canada that they were being threatened and harassed by staff.

In response to these threats, security measures were intensified. Two surveillance cameras were installed. The first, installed in July 2004, monitored movements in the corridor, while the second, installed in September, monitored movements in the administrative locker room and mailroom belonging to correctional officers. The first camera recorded continuous footage of the comings and goings in the corridor. The system looped recordings on the same tape every eight hours. Since no incidents occurred in this area, this tape was not viewed. The other camera was on for only one day because it was discovered by an employee while doing his rounds.

The complainants argued CSC had collected their personal information without their knowledge or consent by secretly videotaping them.

The complaint was unfounded. The OPC determined that under the Financial Administration Act, CSC was responsible for providing a safe work environment for its managers. Under the Treasury Board’s anti-harassment policy, the institution’s senior management should have launched an investigation to identify the individuals responsible for the harassment. Under the circumstances, the gradual measures used by CSC to try to put an end to the abuse against the supervisors were reasonable. The employer first sent a notice to employees and union representatives and added patrols in sectors where these incidents had occurred. The use of surveillance cameras was a logical next step in the investigation. 

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