Residential Security Camera Laws In Ontario: What Are Your Rights?

For guidance on residential security laws in Ontario, refer to Ontario’s commissioner’s guidelines for information and privacy guidelines here. We have also covered the topic here at Jay360 in this blog and this one. Otherwise, contact us anytime for any other information you may require on security camera installation in Toronto and other cities in Southern Ontario.

You’ve made an excellent decision to install security cameras around your home. These cameras will help prevent burglars from targeting your home, provide police investigators with video evidence in the event of a break-in at your house, and help you stay connected with your family and pets when you are away from home.

But in an age where there is a heightened sensitivity to privacy, it is important to know where the law in Ontario stands regarding security surveillance on residential properties. Awareness of your legal boundaries with security cameras will prevent conflicts with neighbors and keep you on the right side of the law.

Can I point cameras at my neighbor’s house?

This question has been the subject of much debate. While a security camera may be positioned on your property, it can monitor beyond your property line depending on where it points. Often it can point at the street or on a neighbor’s property.

Your neighbor has a right to their privacy, as you do. So a line has to be drawn between your need for security and your neighbor’s right to their privacy. And the law tends to take the middle ground on this.

Generally, you must desist from pointing your security cameras where your neighbors have reasonable expectations for privacy. For example, your security needs cannot be served by pointing your security cameras directly at your neighbor’s bedroom window. Your neighbor will be right to feel violated.

But there should be no problem if your security camera is positioned in a way that it captures part of the neighbor’s backyard or front yard. Again, it should be uncontestable that positioning your camera this way is strictly for security purposes.

Be mindful of neighbors’ right to privacy

Although cities like Burlington and Hamilton have laws that regulate the use of security cameras beyond residential property lines, in Toronto there are no bylaws that stop homeowners from installing security cameras that point at a neighbor’s property.

But we can expect changes in Toronto, with the ever-rising proliferation of security cameras and as concerns about the harvesting of personal information grow. There have, in fact, been motions within the council itself for the city to enact bylaws that give residents more protections against invasive surveillance by homeowners.

To avoid unnecessary conflict, avoid orienting your security cameras in a way you would object to if it was your neighbor doing it. In as much as you would want to improve security at your home, respect that your neighbors also have a right to their privacy.

Ready to ramp up security at your home or business?

Jay360 is a reputed installer of security camera systems in Ontario. We will be happy to answer any questions you may on security cameras. Contact us today to get more information and to discuss your needs.
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