Dysart adopts video surveillance policy

By Chad Ingram

Published Aug. 4 2020

Dysart et al councillors adopted a new video surveillance policy for the municipality during a July 28 online meeting.
That policy is based on one passed by Haliburton County council in June and by Minden Hills council earlier in July and councillors heard from county IT director Mike March.
“The IT department has been asked to assist with the implementation of a video surveillance system at the new Head Lake Park visitors’ centre” a report from March read. “Due to the threat of privacy breaches improper use and collection of video and the risk of liability associated with this type of surveillance it is important that strong policies and procedures are in place before the municipality implements any video surveillance project. Therefore the director of IT has been asked to bring forward a revised draft video surveillance policy for council consideration.”

Dysart has an existing policy and a report from March also included changes between the existing policy and the new policy.
In drafting the policy March looked at policies in place in other municipalities. Its guiding principles include that data from cameras would be collected only when authorized by statute required by law enforcement “or when necessary to the proper administration of a lawfully authorized activity”; minimizing the amount of data that is collected; retaining data for no longer than it is required; using data only for the purpose for which is collected; taking all reasonable precautions to prevent unauthorized access to data; notifying individuals through signage that video surveillance is in use; and not disclosing data unless the disclosure is “with consent from the individuals whose personal information appears in the images; in response to a Freedom of Information request; or requested by law enforcement to aid an investigation.”

March’s report noted the policy had been reviewed by law firm Ewart O’Dwyer.
Council ultimately voted to repeal the municipality’s existing policy replacing it with the new one.
“So we’ll all have the same policy” said Mayor Andrea Roberts “just to note that the county and the four local municipalities should have all the same policy which is great because we’re all using the same IT department.”