Allied has started to install dash cams in company vehicles. We have had several incidents involving vehicles throughout the last few years that has caused great concern for our employees health and safety. Our primary concern is ensuring that our Team Members are safe and we intend to employ as many strategies as possible to ensure that objective is met.
Secondary to employee and public safety is the costs associated with these incidents. Insurance costs are already extraordinarily high. Each incident that we a required to notify our insurance company of adds to our already high premiums.
We are also bound by contract agreements with clients and third party auditing companies who act on behalf of our clients and/or potential clients. The number of incidents and calculated loss is measured against total kilometers driven and provides a Risk Measurement that our customers or potential potential customers can use to benchmark us against our competition.
This is why we are moving forward with several tools and strategies to provide us with the competitive edge.
Your cooperation is appreciated!
Your Senior Management Team
Advantages of a dash cam
Having a dash cam in your car means supporting evidence at your fingertips – should you be involved in a car accident or witness one.
The devices are conveniently placed to observe the whole of the road ahead, therefore any accident which you happen to see or be involved in is going to be recorded.
Most authorities in Canada now accept dash cam footage as evidence. They can therefore be used to prevent future accidents by reporting reckless and dangerous drivers.
Road rage, drink driving and other dangerous behaviour behind the wheel are prevalent. However, a dashboard camera can help police and other law enforcement punish offenders before the worst-case scenario happens.
Reduced insurance premiums
On a more positive note, a dash cam can have cost-effective benefits for you as a driver. For example, lower insurance premiums.
Some insurers are recognising the preventative nature they have and offer a discount if you state that you have one fitted in your car.
Encourage safe driving
The power a dash cam must reward safe driving and punish dangerous habits behind the wheel naturally encourages drivers using one to make better decisions.
The Units Allied purchased has some added features, such as satellite connectivity which will provide information on upcoming speed cameras and red-light cameras.
- Access to the Cameras is strictly limited to the management team.
- Employees are not to tamper with the camera in any way. During vehicle audit and maintenance the camera functionality will be verified. This includes knowingly blocking the view of the cameras or failing to ensure a clear view of the cameras.
- Connection points and access to the SD Card have been rendered “Tamper Proof.” Any effort to disconnect or remove data from these devices either physically or through connectivity efforts via Bluetooth or Internet will be met with progressive discipline up to and including termination.
- In the event of an incident, E, H&S Department will require the data from the cameras to be downloaded from the cameras either through a WiFi Hot Spot through a company phone or the data card being removed by E, H&S or authorized manager.
Expectation of Privacy
Ensuring that your rights are observed is an important consideration to Allied Track.
These cameras are installed to limit liability and ensure your safety while working for Allied. There is no interest or time to access the data from the entire fleet on a routine basis. Our policy reads that data will be accessed at the time that an event occurs.
What does the law say?
The use of surveillance cameras in the workplace in Canada is quite common. Often, surveillance cameras are installed to deter theft, vandalism, assault, and sexual harassment. Hidden cameras are also used to secretly record suspected criminal or improper activity. Video surveillance is common in retail stores, financial institutions, manufacturing plants, casinos and wherever cash or inventory is found. In many cases, employers are now using hidden and even openly disclosed surveillance cameras to routinely record job activities. Does the employer have that right? Canadian courts have not looked favourably on employers who install surveillance cameras to spy on employees without good reason.
Surveillance in the non-unionized workplace
In the non-unionized workplace, employees enjoy a general right to privacy unless they give it up in their employment contract or otherwise waive the right expressly. However, in civil court, employers have used surveillance tapes in wrongful dismissal cases to prove they had “just cause” to dismiss an employee. For example, a worker pushing or threatening a manager.
Surveillance may infringe upon an employee’s right to privacy if cameras are installed only to monitor the general conduct, behaviour or efficiency of a specific employee or group of employees. If, however, the camera is installed as an investigative aid for a specific time to monitor an area for suspected criminal activity, the surveillance is likely justified. The key question is often whether there is a reasonable expectation of privacy.
If, for example, an employee is in plain view of the public, then the expectation of privacy is not reasonable. Employees and the public who use the front lobbies of businesses, customer service areas, waiting rooms or parcel pick-up areas would also have little expectation of privacy. In washrooms, change areas and locker rooms, however, it is reasonable for anyone (employee or customer) to expect privacy. Simply put, an employer would likely not be allowed to target workers without cause but may be able to target general areas in the non-unionized workplace with surveillance.
In criminal matters, Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms has been used to protect workers’ privacy in non-unionized settings. A worker “caught on tape” committing a crime could argue at the criminal trial that there was a reasonable expectation of privacy in the circumstances (for example, in a workplace washroom) and that the right to privacy had been infringed so as to “bring the administration of justice into disrepute.”
The worker could then ask the judge to exclude from evidence the videotape that showed the employee, for example, committing theft or vandalism. If the court held the worker’s privacy rights had been infringed and excluded the videotape, the accused worker might be acquitted.
Surveillance in the unionized workplace
Unionized employees should look to their collective agreement to see if it prohibits management’s use of video surveillance to observe workers. In a unionized workplace, video surveillance has been used successfully to monitor employees’ performance and investigate workers suspected of criminal activity. When unions grieve for workers disciplined by the employer, management will often tender videotapes as evidence. The tapes are used to prove discipline was justified because the employee broke a workplace rule or regulation, engaged in behaviour that violated the collective agreement or committed a criminal act.
In a union dispute, a labour arbitrator, not the courts, will lay down the rules governing use of surveillance. Labour arbitrators usually consider the following questions when deciding whether they should view management’s surveillance videotape of a unionized worker:
Was it reasonable, in all the circumstances, for management to request video surveillance of the worker?
Was the surveillance conducted in a reasonable manner?
Were other alternatives open to management to obtain the evidence it sought?
If the first two questions are answered “yes” and the third is answered “no,” then the surveillance videotape will probably be viewed.
Does an employer have to give notice, such as using signs, that there is video surveillance?
Employers who want video surveillance in a general area should post notices and signs in conspicuous places that are easily readable, even from a distance. Wherever they are placed, the signs and notices should clearly convey the message that the area is being monitored. The purpose of the signage is to remove any reasonable expectation of privacy. Signs and notices should be written in both of Canada’s official languages, English, and French. In retail stores, banks, or businesses in areas where other languages are spoken, multilingual signs should be posted. For greater impact, the signs and notices can even be hung beneath a camera attached to a video monitor displaying a live action picture.
Is audio surveillance allowed in the workplace?
Many surveillance cameras are capable of recording not only pictures, but also sound. Recording private communications without the consent of those speaking or without legal authority, such as a warrant issued to police by a judge, is a criminal offence. A key aspect of this area of law is the expectation of privacy of those involved in the conversation. If there is a reasonable expectation of privacy, then permission or legal authority must be sought to record or listen in on conversations using electronic devices.
In Canada, surveillance cameras can only be used to record video, not audio communications.
More information on privacy laws in the workplace can be found from both the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.
- Allied Track Services is only interested in data generated from and event of interest. i.e. an incident where video proof would support the investigation.
- The cameras are not installed to “SPY” on employees, rather support employees should an event occur.
- Respecting your privacy and your collective agreement the cameras equipped in each vehicle are facing outside of the cabin areas. Therefore, no video is produced or maintained from inside of the vehicle.
- Audio Capture on the cameras has been disabled respecting Canadian Legislation.
- In Canada, there is no expectation of privacy where public or public access exists, including client property. Allied will notify all clients that the cameras exist in each vehicle and will follow policy guidelines as per client’s directive.
Employees must acknowledge and sign!