Guelph-Eramosa council passes new video surveillance policy

GUELPH-ERAMOSA – A new policy regarding the use of video surveillance on township properties has been approved by Guelph-Eramosa council.

The goal of the new policy, passed on Feb. 16, is to “enhance the safety and security of township employees, the public and our corporate assets,” said Amanda Knight, director of legislative services.

She added “it is also used to prevent unauthorized activities on or involving township property and to reduce risk and exposures to liability.”

The township has been using video surveillance in several local parks since as early as 2010, to try and make township owned properties safer for everyone who uses them, said Knight.

She noted the township recognizes the fine line between individual privacy rights and protecting the safety and security of employees, the public and their property.

“This policy was created in consultation with the director of parks and recreation and received approval from the township solicitor,” said Knight.

“The policy addresses such items as video use, communications, requests for disclosure and responsibilities as they relate to video surveillance.”

The collection of personal information through video surveillance, like in this policy, is authorized under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection Privacy Act (MFIPPA).

The township uses signs noting the existence of the video surveillance equipment and appropriate placement ensures cameras can only monitor designated spaces owned by the township.

“This is clearly a policy we need considering this is becoming more prevalent in our society,” said Mayor Chris White.

Council voted unanimously to carry the new policy.