I’m Kate Dewhirst.

I’m a lawyer who writes about legal issues affecting healthcare in Canada

Kate Dewhirst Health Law - bringing the law to life. Meet Kate (in 13 seconds)

Update: No cameras allowed inside health examination rooms

Posted by

The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPC) just released a new blog titled: “Cameras in Doctors’ Exam Rooms? Not in Ontario” and released Decision 98.

In this decision, a media outlet notified the IPC that a cosmetic surgery clinic was using surveillance cameras in examination rooms.

The clinic had 24 security cameras recording continuously 24 hrs a day. Cameras were in examination rooms, operating room, pre-operative room, reception, hallways, administrative offices, computer workroom and staff kitchen.

It was acknowledged that from time to time patients would undress in the rooms under surveillance.

The purpose for the cameras was security not healthcare.

Patients were not asked to consent to be recorded. There were video surveillance notice posters up in the clinic and the cameras were visible.

The IPC concluded that the clinic’s use of surveillance cameras violated the Personal Health Information Protection Act of Ontario.

The clinic had been collecting personal health information without authority because of the extensive network of cameras and in particular the placement of the cameras in examination rooms.

However, because the clinic undertook the following steps, the IPC decided a further review was not warranted:

  1. The clinic ceased its recordings immediately when notified by the IPC
  2. Only 2 cameras remain in the clinic: at 2 reception desks and entrance
  3. The 2 cameras are only recording after office hours
  4. The clinic put up new signs to alert “For security, these premises are under closed circuit audio/video security surveillance”
  5. The clinic destroyed old recordings
  6. The clinic updated its privacy policies and consent forms

Bottom Line: Unless you need to have closed circuit recordings of patients for healthcare purposes, healthcare organizations are advised not to use video surveillance in patient areas. This is particularly important in areas where clinical services are delivered and where patients may be disrobing and vulnerable. If video surveillance is necessary for security purposes, your organization should be careful to limit the collection of personal health information and only use such surveillance to the scale appropriate to the security need.

Here are some additional resources:

Webinar on Dos ad Don’ts Video surveillance https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRGVeuRgsdY&feature=youtu.be




If you are interested in my summary of all the IPC’s PHIPA decisions and orders, you can receive a free copy here.

If you enjoyed this article please share it:

Previous and next posts from Kate:

Some of Kate’s recent and upcoming events

Free healthcare privacy webinar - ask me anything!
the first Wednesday of every month

Free webinars - advance registration needed

Whether you're an experienced privacy officer or new in the field, pick Kate’s brain for free for an hour, in this live webinar. No charge, but you’ll need to register in advance.

Health Privacy Officer Foundations training
September 14, 21, 28, October 5, 12, 19, 26 2021

For Privacy Officers within healthcare organizations.

This course focuses on how to become a more confident privacy officer and gives you the tools to document your privacy program. Full details and registration here...

Join the Shush: a collective of health privacy officers
Annual membership 2021

For Privacy Officers within healthcare organizations

This is an annual membership program that takes theory into practice and tackles real life scenarios to build Privacy Officer skills.
Full details and registration here.

Primary care webinars: Employment Law Update & Legal Issues for EDs and Board members

Part of Kate’s monthly webinar series.

Our September program will address toxic employees and in October we discuss collaboration agreements.
Full details of the 2021 webinar series and registration here.

Team Privacy Training Events
September 22, 23, 24, 27, 30 October 13, 14, 20, 21

For Primary Care clinics, Hospitals, Community Agencies, Mental Health Teams, Public Health Units, School Boards, Police departments

Kate trains health professionals from many more health care organizations how being privacy-respectful can improve therapeutic relationships. More details...

Part X CYFSA Privacy Designate Course - video course online

For Privacy Designates in the child welfare sector including children's aid societies and indigenous children's well-being centres

We focus on how to implement Part X of the Child Youth and Family Services Act in your organization.
Full details and registration here.

Free summary of all PHIPA IPC decisions

Want to read privacy breach stories to learn how to improve your work? We have summarized all the Information and Privacy Commissioner's health privacy decisions for you Download here...

NEW! Ontario Hospital Association Professional Staff Credentialing Toolkit

2nd Edition is now available for managing physicians, dentists, midwives and nurse practitioners in hospitals Read here...

Kate Dewhirst Health Law

Kate says:

My mission is bringing the law to life. I make legal theory understandable, accessible and fun! I’m available and love to work for all organizations in the healthcare sector across Ontario and beyond.

Subscribe to my mailing list and keep up to date with news:

Latest Tweets

Join The Shush, my community for Privacy Officers in the healthcare sector. Develop knowledge, skills and judgment,… https://t.co/xB1KRZ1Yw5

about 11 hours ago

[NOV 4 – WEBINAR SERIES] Harassment & discrimination -- What to expect at the Human Rights Tribunal Register now:… https://t.co/LNU8wgW7h4

12:00 PM Sep 27th

contact details

P.O. Box 97010 Roncesvalles
Toronto Ontario M6R 3B3

(416) 855 9557