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Surveillance camera usage in community clinics: is it appropriate?

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Messenger October 2020, Professionalism & Standards | Posted October 9, 2020

Following the devastating attack that occurred in Red Deer this August, the Red Deer RCMP detachment has been collaborating with community clinics to provide support and review clinic security protocols to ensure physicians and clinic employees feel safe in their workplace.

The use of surveillance cameras in waiting areas of community clinics, and whether CPSA considers their usage appropriate, has been a frequent question.

Surveillance camera usage is acceptable in community clinic waiting rooms only, so long as no audio is being recorded, because waiting rooms are considered a public space. Recording audio is not permitted, as Canada’s Criminal Code makes it illegal to record private communications (e.g., discussing the reason for seeing the physician when checking in).

Surveillance camera usage in examination rooms is illegal and strictly prohibited.

Please refer to this resource from the Office of the Information Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) for additional information on surveillance camera usage and to determine if you need to update your Privacy Impact Assessment. Most offices will need to connect with the OIPC because their privacy impact assessment will likely need to be updated.

CPSA believes all physicians, patients and healthcare workers deserve to feel safe in care spaces. We recognize your safety is paramount and you should not have to tolerate inappropriate behaviour. Our standard of practice on Terminating the Physician-Patient Relationship in Office-Based Settings offers additional guidance. Clinics are encouraged to contact their local municipal enforcement if you have any reason to feel unsafe in your place of practice.

CPSA would like to thank the Red Deer RCMP for their activity in the community to support patients, physicians and healthcare teams.

Questions? Please contact Chantelle Dick, CPSA Standards of Practice Coordinator using the contact form below.

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