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We delve into the necessity of using CCTV cameras on strata property and discuss methods to utilize them without infringing on Strata Owner’s privacy. In today’s world, CCTV surveillance is ubiquitous and, despite some negative perceptions due to misuse, can significantly enhance a property’s security.  We will examine how to boost security when using CCTV cameras on strata property while respecting the privacy of owners and residents, as well as the necessary steps to take before installation.

You might wonder if it’s possible to install CCTV cameras on your strata property, especially if your strata corportaion or strata council is contemplating such a decision. Although the basic answer is affirmative, numerous intricate laws govern this matter, and ethical considerations must also be taken into account.

The Strata Property Act in British Columbia does not specifically address video surveillance or using CCTV cameras on strata property. However, it does provide guidance on managing common property and ensuring the safety and security of strata communities. Strata corporations must make decisions and establish bylaws that align with the best interests of the community and comply with other relevant legislation.

Although the Strata Property Act does not provide specific rules on video surveillance, strata corporations should be aware of their responsibilities under PIPA and other relevant legislation. They should also involve residents in the decision-making process, create clear bylaws regarding CCTV systems, and ensure that these systems are used in a manner that respects privacy and complies with the law.

Why you want to be using CCTV cameras on strata property.

Not only can CCTV cameras on strata property be useful for secuirty, they are also useful for safety, especially around swimming pools. CCTV can come  in handy for helping to establish who is at fault in an insurance claim, not to mention identifying the people who ignored signs not to take glassware to the swimming pool and caused it to be drained after they smashed a wine glass. Other reasons your strata may want to consider CCTV:

  • If your property has experienced recent break-ins
  • If there has been an increase in crime in your neighbourhood
  • If there have been disputes involving threatening behaviour
  • If your strata property does not have an adequate security system or by-laws and building rules
  • If there have been instances of non-owners or residents using your strata property’s facilities or amenities without permission.

 When Using CCTV Cameras on Strata Property

A strata corporation must address several privacy concerns to ensure compliance with local laws and regulations, as well as to respect the privacy of residents and visitors when using CCTV on strata property. In British Columbia, the main legislation that applies to strata corporations with respect to privacy and the use of CCTV in common areas of a strata property is the Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA). This provincial legislation governs how private organizations, including strata corporations, collect, use, and disclose personal information.

Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA)

When implementing a CCTV system in common areas, strata corporations must ensure that their practices comply with the requirements set out in PIPA. Key aspects to consider include:

Consent

Strata corporations must obtain consent from individuals before collecting their personal information, including video footage. Consent can be implied in some cases, such as through the posting of clear and visible signs notifying residents and visitors about the presence of CCTV cameras.

Purpose

PIPA requires that personal information, including CCTV footage, must be collected for a reasonable purpose. ome examples of reasonable purposes for collecting CCTV footage in the context of strata corporations or other property management situations include:

  • Ensuring safety and security: CCTV footage can be collected to protect residents, visitors, and employees, and to maintain a safe living environment within the property.
  • Preventing and detecting criminal activity: CCTV systems can be used to deter potential criminals, as well as to capture evidence of criminal activity, such as theft, vandalism, or property damage, that may occur on the premises.
  • Monitoring access to restricted areas: CCTV can be used to control and monitor access to restricted or sensitive areas within the property, such as parking garages, storage rooms, or maintenance areas.
  • Supporting emergency response: CCTV footage can be collected and used to assist emergency responders in identifying and addressing potential safety hazards or emergencies on the property, such as fires, gas leaks, or medical emergencies.
  • Resolving disputes: CCTV footage can be helpful in resolving disputes among residents or between residents and the strata corporation, particularly when the footage provides evidence of rule violations or other incidents that have led to the dispute.
  • Liability and insurance purposes: CCTV footage can be used to substantiate insurance claims or defend against potential liability claims related to accidents or incidents on the property.
  • Ensuring compliance with rules and regulations: CCTV can be used to monitor compliance with strata rules and regulations, such as proper use of common areas or adherence to parking restrictions.

Limiting Collection

Strata corporations should only collect personal information that is necessary for the identified purpose. In the context of CCTV systems, this means limiting the use of cameras to areas where there is a legitimate security need and not capturing excessive amounts of personal information.

Limiting Use, Disclosure, and Retention

Personal information collected by strata corporations should only be used or disclosed for the purpose it was collected, and it should be retained only as long as necessary for that purpose. This means that CCTV footage should be accessed only when there is a valid security reason, and it should be securely stored and deleted after a reasonable period.

Accuracy

Strata corporations should make efforts to ensure that the personal information they collect is accurate and complete.

Security

Strata corporations must implement reasonable security measures to protect the personal information they collect, including CCTV footage. This could involve encrypting the data, using secure storage systems, and limiting access to authorized personnel only.

Openness and Accountability

Strata corporations must make their policies and practices related to the collection, use, and disclosure of personal information readily available to residents and visitors. They should also designate a Strata Privacy Officer to handle inquiries and complaints related to their privacy practices.

In conclusion, when installing CCTV on strata property in British Columbia, it is essential to carefully consider the balance between security and privacy. Strata corporations and strata owners must work together to establish clear policies and procedures that adhere to the Privacy Guidelines for Strata Corporations and Strata Owners, as well as relevant legislation such as PIPA. By involving residents in the decision-making process, conducting regular reviews, and ensuring transparency, strata corporations can create a secure environment while respecting the privacy rights of their community members.

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