The use of security cameras to monitor condo election
candidates and their followers is a violation of the Privacy Act as
this article about a decision of the British Columbia Privacy
Commissioner's Office makes clear. However, the practice continues.
It is very common for condo directors, the security staff and the
managers to illegally spy on disgruntled owners.
This political surveillance becomes very
common prior to the Annual General Meetings, or requisition meetings, and the opposition
candidates and their supporters find that it can be very stressful and
The security staff monitor the CCTV cameras in the elevators and inform
superintendent or a director who is going door-to-door and what
floor they are on.
When the opposition candidates and their supporters talk to the owners
where they are seen on the cameras, the guards tell the manager or the
directors who they are talking to.
The guards are often instructed to trail after the canvassers to pick
up the literature that is left in the doors, save a couple of copies
for the manager, and throw the rest out.
Spying on the president
At one condo in Etobicoke, the property manager and the security
supervisor would come in on the weekends and scan that week's video
from a couple of cameras, that were trained on the lobby and outside
the front door, to see who the president had been talking to.
The president was asking too many questions at the board meetings and
was no longer considered "loyal" to the management company. (A couple of guards and an employee
tipped off the president about the secret monitoring.)
At one condo, the superintendent would stay after hours to work for the
residents by doing small repairs in their units. The property manager
had the security staff monitor the video cameras, whenever the
superintendent stayed late, and report to him which units the
The manager demanded a cut of the superintendent's payments to allow
him to continue to work in the residential units.
A few condo boards go too far. They install secret cameras to spy on
A secret camera
mounted on a
hallway wall so management
could spy on a condo activist.
This is a photograph of a camera that was placed outside an owner's
unit in an Etobicoke condo when he was trying to organize a requisition to
remove directors from the board.
This is the miniature camera that was hidden in the electrical box.
||There was a second video camera
that was hidden in this hallway emergency lighting box. It was aimed at
another owner's unit door.
You can see how they had a knock-out removed from the box to give the
camera lens a hole to peek out of.
For old technology, this was a quite clever hiding spot.
This owner was attempting to raise support to get elected to the the
board of directors.
board's tricks was exposed when the board fired an employee who, in an
act of revenge, told the two owners that they were being spied upon.
The residents of a downtown co-op were surprised to hear that the board
of directors had secret
cameras installed in some hallways. Was it to monitor their
political opponents or was it to catch a firebug? Who can say for
Then there was/is a
secret camera installed
in a hallway at a condo, outside a unit, at 38 Elm Street. Was it
installed at the request of the tenant or was it there to spy on behalf
of the tenant? Joe Fiorito, the Toronto Star columnist who wrote this
story did not know.