Photographs, Video/Audio Recordings

Guidelines on Collection, Use and Disclosure of Photographs, Video and Audio Recordings, and Broadcasting of Live Events


  1. Photographs, video and audio recordings are "records" as defined in section 1(q) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (the "Act"). The information contained in photographs, video and audio recordings are considered "personal information" under section 1(n) because the pictures or sound would contain "recorded information" about an "identifiable individual".
  2. If an employee of the university takes a photograph of an identifiable individual or individuals, records video or individuals or records audio of individuals' voices, the university is collecting personal information. The collection, use and disclosure of personal information contained in this type of media must comply with the provisions of Part 2 of the Act.
  3. The taking, use or disclosure of photographs, video or audio recordings recorded at public events or activities related to the university is not considered to be an unreasonable invasion of the personal privacy of the individuals photographed or recorded if the images simply indicate "attendance at" or "participation in" the event. Public events may include "a graduation ceremony, sporting event, cultural program or club, or field trip". In this case, there is no need to obtain consent for the use or disclosure of the photographs or tapes, however, it may be appropriate to announce or post a notice that photographs are likely to be taken or that the event is likely to be recorded (taped).

    Notwithstanding the above, if an individual attending such an event or, more likely, speaking or participating in the ceremony or event, explicitly requests that the information (in this case, photographs or tapes) not be disclosed, the university must abide by that request (section 17(3)).
  4. The same principles generally apply to the broadcasting of live events. Please note that you must take special care in the procedures used to broadcast live events. If you inadvertently over-collect personal information in a recording, the error can be remedied by deleting the recording and not distributing it. If you inadvertently over-collect information in a live broadcast, you do not have this ability.


  1. Where photographs, audio or video recordings are going to be taken at a private event, or if the private event will be broadcast live (e.g. a rehearsal, a practice, a class room situation or private ceremony, or in a class where videotapes are used to evaluate and advise on professional performance), an announcement that photographs may be taken or that the event may be audio or video recorded must be made, including the authority for the collection, the purposes for which the personal information in the photographs or recordings is going to be used and contact information for someone who can answer questions about the collection (sections 33(c) and 34(2)). If any individual then requests that their personal information not be collected in this way or used or disclosed, that request must be honoured; if you feel that a particular request cannot be honoured (e.g. the recording is necessary in order to achieve a course objective), our office would be happy to consult with you on that further.
  2. Consider whether it is appropriate to warn audience members who are viewing the private event, either in person or by watching a live broadcast, that they do not have permission to record the private event.
  3. Photographs or video or audio recordings generally cannot be used or disclosed for purposes that were not identified in the original collection notice, unless the individuals in the photographs or recordings have given written consent to the new use or disclosure (or unless an exception in the FOIP Act applies to that use or disclosure).
  4. The equipment used to make the recording or live broadcast on behalf of the university must be appropriately safeguarded at all times, to prevent unauthorized individuals from accessing and using the equipment. It should generally not be left unattended. If it must be left unattended, it should be turned off or disabled in such a manner that another individual cannot use the equipment without entering a password or otherwise providing appropriate authentication.
  5. If an individual is asked to provide a photograph of him/herself, e.g. for posting on a website, the request for the photograph should be accompanied by a request for written consent using the Consent for Disclosure of Personal Information (Photographs, Audio and Video Recordings) (Word 49 KB) form.
  6. Where a photograph is taken for an identification card, a written notice meeting the requirements of section 34(2) of the Act must be given to the individuals involved. In addition, the consequences of refusing to permit photography and recording must be clearly spelled out. If such refusal would deny rights or privileges otherwise implicit in the contract that the student, staff member, patient, client or other visitor may have with the university, legal advice may be necessary to ensure that the denial does not result in unforeseen consequences.
  7. A clear statement about the retention of such photographs or recordings should accompany the notice. The photographs or recordings must be destroyed on the expiry date of their retention period unless they are records that are responsive to a current request under the Act for access to information, or are the subject of a legal hold due to litigation.
  8. The collection of personal information using surveillance cameras and the use, retention and disclosure of such personal information is not considered in this Guideline. The use of such cameras is governed by explicit criteria. Information about this matter can be obtained from the Information and Privacy Office.
  9. Photographs, audiotapes or videotapes taken for marketing or advertising purposes may be used only with the express written consent of the individual (or their guardian). This form should be used in these cases.

Authorization to Reproduce Physical Likeness/Voice and Name for Educational, Marketing and Advertising Purposes (Word 45KB)

October 2016