A video sent to MTLBlog shows a security camera in an Eaton Center bathroom. The video, which according to the videographer was taken in the bathroom by the popular mall's food court, pans up to reveal a security camera partially obscured by metal brackets.
It should be noted that the cameras do appear to be blocked from recording inside the stalls. This means that security is most likely in its legal right to install security cameras in the bathroom. But grey areas remain about privacy concerns.
TL;DR A video shows a camera inside the Eaton Center's bathroom by the foodcourt. This raises privacy concerns about where and when establishments can install security cameras.
This video, sent to MTLBlog by Instagram user @red_lifiya, clearly demonstrates that the camera is at least visible from within the stalls. The video was allegedly taken in the Eaton Center's food court bathroom.
This may seem weird and unusual, but it is not necessarily illegal.
When it comes to privacy laws, and the rights of private businesses to engage in overt video surveillance, there are a lot of grey areas. In Canada, the "Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) sets out the rules businesses subject to the Act must follow when collecting personal information."
According to PIPEDA, "Private sector privacy laws require that organizations’ need to conduct video surveillance must be balanced with the individuals’ right to privacy, which includes the right to lead their lives free from scrutiny."
Information from the video surveillance can only be used for the "purpose that surveillance is being undertaken, or for purposes that are permitted by law." Most privacy laws also require that signs notify the public that they are being recorded.
Because of the lack of juriprudential antecedents in Quebec, there remains a lot of room for interpretation of the law.
These Quebec lawyers note that "there are some obvious circumstances where it is strictly forbidden for an employer to install surveillance cameras: washrooms, shower rooms..." but it is unclear as to whether this applies to private businesses and their customers. It is also unclear as to whether washrooms refers to private stalls or the whole of the bathroom area.
We have contacted the Eaton Centre for comment. They stated that "The security and the privacy of our visitors is our top priority. The security cameras installed in our properties ensure the safety of our visitors and respect consumer privacy requirements. For example, security cameras have been installed at the Montreal Eaton Centre's common bathroom areas, and their layout and angle make it impossible to see what is happening at the urinals or in the washroom stalls."
They also added that signs by the bathroom entrances indicate the presence of cameras in the washrooms.