Security cams cause privacy concerns in Gravenhurst
Gravenhurst resident, Elizabeth Allard proposed a By-law for the use of home security cameras in the January 17, 2022, Council meeting.
Given the increased popularity of the security surveillance cameras to help reduce the risk of theft, the problem with placement of them is becoming an ongoing issue for municipalities across the province indicated Allard.
Allard expressed concern about the Town not having a By-law in place for the OPP to act on issues, such as an incident last summer where the residence placement of a camera resulted in a breach of privacy to neighbours, with coverage including the back of their house, window, and master bedroom.
Councillor, Penny Varney, inquired about the outcome of the situation.
Allard indicated, “It was “messy because there’s really no standing By-law in place.” She added that the police were at a loss about what to do.
“Given the right to privacy that we should expect in our backyards, and including use of surveillance technology for home protection, I believe it’s time to address this issue,” expressed Allard, adding that The Ontario Municipal Act was amended in 1990 to allow municipalities authority to create regulations applicable to these situations.
“Many Ontario municipalities drafted By-laws that specifically regulate and prohibit positioning of surveillance cameras that take footage of neighbouring properties,” said Allard, and referenced an Oshawa couple that were charged in 2015 for excessive use.
“I believe it would be beneficial to have a suitable By-law in place that provides governance to both homeowners and law enforcement officials with regards to acceptable installation of video monitoring equipment,” expressed Allard, requesting that Council approve a By-law.
Councillor Cairns shared an experience about having her car tires slashed at her home, and expressed concern about having a By-law in place for surveillance, adding, “I think unfortunately that nowadays things have changed and there’s more and more things that are happening in our communities. So, I just ask staff to be sure when we look at policies that help the OPP and not infringe on our privacy.”