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Canada: OPC finds Trimac in breach of PIPEDA for unlawful audio and video surveillance

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada ('OPC') published, on 29 September 2022, its Report of findings No. 2022-006, as issued on 27 July 2022, in which it found that Trimac Transportation Services Inc. had violated Principle 4.3 Schedule 1 of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act 2000 ('PIPEDA'), following a complaint from an employee.

Background to the Report

In particular, the complainant, a truck driver employed by Trimac, claimed the organisation installed a dash camera into their vehicle that continuously recorded audio and video without their consent. In this context, Trimac explained that it installed this system for the purposes of, among others:

  • proactively preventing injuries and collisions; 
  • safety management, coaching, training, and improving driving skills; 
  • protecting drivers, Trimac, and Trimac property; and
  • investigating and determining the true cause of road accidents.

Lastly, the OPC explained that Trimac could potentially rely on the exception to consent provided under Section 7.3 of PIPEDA because the personal information at issue is collected and used in the context of the employment relationship. 

Findings of the OPC

Notably, the OPC found that the system was active when the truck was on or idling, noting that the system could therefore be active when drivers are off duty. In light of the above, the OPC stated that, while it appreciated the importance of Trimac's purposes, particularly as they relate to road safety, the continual activity of the system, including when drivers are off duty and not driving, is not required to meet Trimac's purposes. Therefore, the OPC held that the system was disproportionately intrusive. In fact, the OPC detailed that, as drivers spend a lot of time in their truck, which can serve as their temporary home while on the road, conversations captured can include private information exchanged with their relatives, friends, doctors, or other third parties, thus being considered sensitive personal information.

Lastly, the OPC found that Trimac was not initially transparent about the disciplinary purposes of its dash camera system and therefore could not rely on the exception to consent provided under Section 7.3 of PIPEDA.


Ultimately, the OPC found Trimac in breach of Principle 4.3 of Schedule 1 of PIPEDA and noted that, upon its recommendation, Trimac confirmed its implementation of a new function of the system to further limit the capture of audio. In particular, the system will now shut off:

  • five minutes after the ignition is turned off;
  • after 15 minutes of idling; or
  • immediately once the parking brake is detected.

Therefore, the OPC found this aspect of the complaint to be well-founded and conditionally resolved.

Lastly, the OPC detailed Trimac can now rely on the exception to consent found in Section 7.3 of PIPEDA, as it has since clearly notified its employees of the employment management and related disciplinary purposes associated with information collected by the dash camera system and found this aspect of the complaint to be well-founded and resolved.

You can read the Report here.