Safety and Security Cameras


This webpage is intended to provide information about the cameras that are used for safety and security purposes at the University of British Columbia under the authority of Video Cameras Policy SC16 (formerly Policy #118).

Terms of Use

The Terms of Use for all approved cameras systems are available here.

Annual Reports

The Camera Coordinators have prepared annual reports on the Camera Systems which are available here.

Frequently Asked Questions

> What is the purpose of Policy SC16 (Formerly Policy #118)?

Video Cameras Policy SC16 promotes certainty and predictability by creating specific rules around the installation and use of cameras on campus, and providing for meaningful oversight of units’ compliance with these rules. This ensures the University complies with its legal obligations to protect privacy when it uses cameras, and aligns UBC with other universities that already have policies or guidelines governing camera use.

> How was the University community consulted during the creation of Policy SC16?

Policy SC16 was developed by a Policy Review Committee under the oversight of the Office of the University Counsel (the “OUC”), and was presented to the Board of Governors for information on September 29, 2015. The University then widely solicited comments on the proposed Policy in the following manner:

  • The initial proposal for Policy SC16 was published on the OUC website under a call for comments on October 2, 2015. The comment period was set to run until November 30, 2015.
  • The OUC also sent broadcast emails highlighting the key elements of the new Policy #118 and calling for comments. These emails were sent to: the UBC executive team, associate vice presidents, all deans, principals, associate deans, directors and heads of unit, department directors, student leaders and union leaders.

The Policy Review Committee considered all comments it received from the University community and made several revisions to improve the clarity of the Policy and to ensure that it safeguards the privacy of members of the University community. The Policy Review Committee unanimously supported the revised Policy.

> How was the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner consulted about Policy SC16?

The OUC requested the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) to provide feedback about whether the proposed Policy is compliant with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. The approved policy, combined with existing policies and practices at the University, is consistent with the OIPC’s input.

In addition, the OIPC provided input about the wording and placement of signage used to notify the community about Safety and Security cameras.

> What camera systems are covered by Policy SC16?

Policy SC16 covers all camera systems that are intended to capture information about identifiable individuals, with the exception of camera systems used exclusively for:

(a) communication purposes (e.g. videoconferencing systems);

(b) technical support of information technology, audiovisual and other systems;

(c) research projects that have received ethics approval;

(d) academic instruction;

(e) traffic monitoring or control; and

(f) occasions where all individuals whose images may be captured have provided their informed consent.

> How do I find the Terms of Use for the camera systems used on campus?

Each camera system must have Terms of Use, which must be approved by the Camera Coordinator (the head of Campus Security) and the Office of the University Counsel. Privacy-intrusive camera systems must also be approved by the Vice-President, Human Resources, in consultation with any other relevant Vice-Presidents. The Terms of Use for all approved cameras systems are available here. The specific URL (web address) for each system’s Terms of Use is also printed on the camera signs.

> I can’t find the Terms of Use for a camera system – why not?

As it will take some time to write and approve Terms of Use for existing camera systems, there is a six-month grace period for these systems. Therefore, some systems will not have approved Terms of Use until the end of 2016. If you have concerns that a camera system does not have Terms of Use, please let the Camera Coordinator know.

> How do the Emergency Blue Phone Cameras work?

The Emergency Blue Phones are a camera system on the Point Grey campus, consisting of blue pedestals with a button-activated emergency phone, which connects directly to the Campus Security emergency line.

In 2015, in accordance with recommendations received from a Campus Safety Working Group, the number of Emergency Blue Phone pedestals was expanded to approximately 35 units, and all of the units were equipped with cameras in 2016.

The cameras are normally user-activated. That is, they only activate when the button is pressed. During emergencies, however, Campus Security can activate them temporarily for safety and security purposes.

The Terms of Use for the Blue Phone Cameras are posted here.

> What is the University’s legal authority to collect and use personal information using the cameras?

The University is authorized to collect personal information using this Camera System under section 26(c) of the British Columbia Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (“FIPPA”), i.e. the information relates directly to and is necessary for a program or activity of the University. The University is authorized to use this personal information under section 32(a) of the FIPPA, i.e. for one of the purposes set out in Policy SC16, or for a use consistent with one of those purposes.

> How do I get more information about the use of camera systems?

If you have questions about how specific camera systems will be used, see the relevant Terms of Use on this website.

General questions about the use of camera systems should be referred to the relevant Camera Coordinator, as follows:


Terms of Use Process and Template

Under Policy SC16, camera operators must write Terms of Use for their camera systems and secure approval of those Terms of Use from the relevant Camera Coordinator and the University Counsel (who is the Responsible Executive for this Policy). Some privacy-intrusive camera systems may also require the approval of the Vice-President, Human Resources.

Approvals are required as follows:

  • Terms of Use for new or expanded camera systems must be approved before these systems are installed or expanded.
  • Terms of Use for camera systems already in operation on the date this Policy came into force (February 15, 2016) must be submitted to the Camera Coordinator by August 15, 2016.

The approval process follows the following steps:

  1. The camera operator prepares Terms of Use using the template here.
  2. The camera operator submits the draft Terms of Use to the relevant Camera Coordinator: Associate Director, Risk Management and Security Services (on the Okanagan campus) and Director, Campus Security (on the Vancouver campus and other University sites)
  3. The Camera Coordinator reviews the draft Terms of Use and, if satisfied that they comply with Policy SC16, forwards them to the Office of the University Counsel for approval.
  4. Either the Camera Coordinator or the Office of the University Counsel may make any changes to the Terms of Use they deem necessary to comply with Policy SC16 or other requirements.
  5. The Office of the University Counsel posts the approved copy of the Terms of Use on the website (after removing any information the disclosure of which could reasonably be expected to harm the security of a property or system).