Canadian court rules against driver-facing cameras

Canadian truckers who feel that driver-facing cameras are an invasion of privacy can claim victory following a five year legal battle against Sysco Quebec.

Quebec Court Sides With Truckers In Privacy Vs. Safety Question

Last month, a Superior Court in Quebec upheld a ruling that Sysco Quebec was not allowed to install driver-facing cameras on its trucks, finding that a driver’s right to privacy trumped the company’s attempt to increase safety through the installation of the Lytx DriveCams.

The legal battle began in 2012 when Sysco Quebec installed both driver and outward facing cameras on its fleet of trucks. Though the cameras are only supposed to permanently record a handful of seconds before and after a triggering incident, the camera is always recording the driver and overwriting the recorded data. This did not sit will with the company’s drivers, especially given their claim that the cameras recorded randomly several times per day.

A union filed a complaint about the driver-facing cameras after drivers said that they felt intimidated and watched. Last year an arbitrator sided with the union and drivers and ordered Sysco Quebec to remove the driver-facing cameras.

Sysco Quebec complied, but filed an appeal, saying that they had a duty to promote health and safety.

Court: “Less Intrusive” Ways To Promote Safety Are Available

The Quebec Superior Court upheld the decision of the arbitrator to keep driver-facing cameras out of Sysco Quebec’s trucks. The court pointed out that Sysco Quebec could use other, “less intrusive” methods to promote safety, including increasing driver training and surprise checks on drivers.

Canadian truckers are cautiously optimistic that the Superior Court’s ruling could pave the way for more restrictions against driver-facing cameras, but Marc Cadieux, CEO of the Quebec Trucking Association notes, “Certainly it paves the way for other decisions that the courts could take, but that does not mean that some carriers could not use other grounds to justify the installation of cameras.”

Sysco Quebec is a part of the Texas-headquartered Sysco corporation specializing in food distribution.