Property owners and residents may choose to use security cameras on private properties for a number of reasons, such as identifying visitors and ensuring the security of delivered packages. These may include “doorbell” cameras (for example, Google Nest and Ring) and other cameras that can be installed inside or outside homes to record footage outside. The technology may or may not record sound or include analytics such as facial recognition.

Privacy is a human right and it is important that your security camera is installed and used in a way that considers the privacy of residents and neighbours. The City does not regulate the use of security cameras on private residential properties, but there are best practices you should consider when installing a camera on your property. These guidelines are not for the use of security cameras in public spaces or private spaces owned by commercial, industrial and retail enterprises.

Consider the following best practices for the installation and use of security cameras on private residential properties, so that the privacy of residents and neighbours is respected. You can reduce the potential impact to your neighbours and people walking near your home by:

  • Taking efforts to ensure that the camera only records footage of your property. The camera should be installed and operated in a way that does not capture footage or sound beyond the boundaries of your property.
  • Locating and operating the camera in a way that respects the privacy of others and considering alternatives, such as minimizing the amount of footage being captured and turning the camera off during certain times of day.
  • Posting notice, such as a small sign near the camera, informing residents and visitors that video recording is taking place.
  • Considering deleting records on a regular basis and storing in a secure location with limited user access. For example, the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario suggests a retention period of 72 hours for the institutions it oversees, which provides a sufficient window of time to determine if an incident has occurred and if footage may be relevant.
  • Taking steps to limit cybersecurity threats, such as hacking that puts recorded footage at risk. For example, creating strong passwords, storing passwords safely, and enabling two-factor authentication, where possible.

If you feel that your neighbour’s camera has been installed and operated in a way that captures footage beyond their property, you should consider speaking with your neighbour directly to give them an opportunity to correct the issue.

If a dispute arises and cannot be resolved, you can access mediation services at The Neighbourhood Group. The Neighbourhood Group provides free community mediation services to Toronto residents, as an alternative means to resolve a dispute with the help of neutral mediators.

You may seek resolution to your issue by contacting The Neighbourhood Group directly. For situations north of Eglinton Avenue contact 416-839-3425 or crt.northyork@tngcs.org and for south of Eglinton Avenue contact 416-827-5929 or crt.intake@tngcs.org.