Electronic Monitoring: Protecting Your Business While Protecting your Business

While intentional electronic monitoring is getting increasingly popular as more employees are working from home, many workplaces may already be doing it! If you have cameras in the workplace, or use a timecard system, for example, you are already electronically monitoring your employees.

What is Electronic Monitoring?
Electronic Monitoring is the monitoring of employees using electronic means during work hours. This could mean having your employees sign in online, putting a location tracker on a work vehicle to monitor location and gas consumption, or even having cameras in the workplace.

There are many reasons why you may decide to monitor your employees.

  • Security
  • Productivity
  • Analytics
  • Privacy
  • Payroll
  • Location tracking of employees
  • Time tracking

And many ways to monitor electronically:

  • Computer Software – key stroke tracking, website monitoring
  • Surveillance Cameras
  • Employee email activity tracker
  • Commercial vehicle tracker- monitors location, mileage and gas consumption
  • Phone Apps
  • Trackers on work phones
While there can be good reasons for a business owner to monitor their employees, there are important points to consider, the main ones being privacy, and the security of the information collected. For example, if you require an employee to use an app on their personal phones, they may be concerned about privacy issues. Does this app monitor their personal information? Can it track private medical or banking information? Also, without clear instruction as to why the app is necessary, employees may lose trust in you as their employer. Equally, an employee may not want to use their personal phones for work reasons.

What are the privacy issues?
The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) governs personal privacy for most businesses, while some jurisdictions have their own privacy legislation.

When implementing electronic monitoring you should consider the following:

  • What information are you tracking? And why?
  • Where is the information being secured?
  • For how long are you keeping this information?
  • What is the best way to dispose of the information?
  • Should you have a policy?
You can use the PIPEDA Self-assessment tool to help develop a Privacy Policy that makes sense for your business.

Am I required to have a separate Electronic Monitoring Policy?
Currently the only province that requires certain businesses to have an Electronic Monitoring policy is Ontario. However, it is best practice to have a policy in place for your business to avoid any fines or issues in the future.

When creating your Electronic Monitoring Policy, include:

  • A description of the ways employees are electronically monitored during work hours:
    • surveillance cameras, key logging software, sensor/scanner tracking at checkouts, key cards etc.
  • The reason(s) for electronic monitoring
  • When and how the information will be used
  • Privacy and security of data
  • Where and when electronic monitoring takes place; and consider
  • Should all employees receive the same policy?
Looking for help in creating your Electronic Monitoring Policy? CFIB Members can access an Electronic Monitoring Policy template in the Member Portal.

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