Condo Security Audio Recordings

November 2020

A resident complains the condominium manager, concierge or other corporation employee was rude or disrespectful.  The matter could be more serious involving accusations of threatening behaviour or harassment.  In the absence of proof it can be difficult determining if an employee, management, director or resident acted improperly.  Someone may have failed to provide an accurate retelling of the situation.  Security cameras are unhelpful.  There is no way to determine what was said to whom unless a third and independent individual was present.

This situation plays out regularly in communities.  Without audio recordings there may be no way to come to any reliable conclusion about behaviour.

Audio recordings are allowable in Canada so long as one person has consented.  The permission of other parties is not required.  This applies to conversations in person or over a telephone.  Limitations on recording audio conversations exist where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy.  It is reasonable to expect recordings, including audio recordings, in public areas of a condo or high-rise building including the concierge/security area and common areas where conversations are likely to occur.

Audio and video recordings are desirable where there is potential for violence or harassment.  They protect residents and employees from harassment, violence and false accusations.  Audio and video recordings should be avoided in areas where there is reasonable expectation of privacy including change areas and bathrooms.

When recording video or audio signs should be displayed informing that recordings are being made.  Recordings should only be used for the purpose of surveillance and as permitted by law.

Audio and video surveillance at a concierge desk and other common areas is advisable.  It allows management to understand what transpired during a situation and verify the truth about a complaint by an owner, resident, employee or contractor.

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