Are you wondering if it is legal to record a conversation without consent in Canada? This article will discuss the issue in detail.
Be careful about looking for quick answers to complicated legal questions on the internet. If you just want a quick answer, it’s below.
Criminal law in Canada says that you can record a conversation in Canada as long as one of the parties consents. Therefore, if you are the one making the recording, you consented.
However, you cannot secretly record two people talking in their homes. This article assumes you are a private citizen, and not the police.
The rules are different for the police. Our lawyers in Canada do not practice criminal law. They focus on lawsuits and family law.
PIPEDA Act and the Criminal Code
We are not going to get into the PIPEDA Act, but see the link if you are curious.
When one party secretly records a conversation, it can often be used for divorce or lawsuits. With modern-day technology, this is quite easy to do.
You might be trying to show that your ex-spouse is refusing to pick up the child. Or maybe you are tired of your ex showing themselves off as the victim in court.
Instead, you want a recording that proves how mean your ex really is. The same thing can be done with company lawsuits.
Before you start collecting evidence, speak to a lawyer. The secret to winning a trial isn’t to have as much evidence as possible.
Instead, there are going to be a few things you need to prove. Your law firm can tell you what those things are.
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Is it legal to record a conversation without consent in Ontario?
You can legally record someone in Ontario. The rules are the same in Ontario, BC, and Alberta.
You cannot bug someone’s house, because you are not part of that conversation. You also cannot bug someone’s phone.
It’s not needed to inform the other person that you are recording the conversation.
Attorneys are not allowed to record calls with their clients. However, this is not a Criminal Code rule. Lawyers have their own rules they must follow.
You can only record when someone is talking to you. It must be a conversation. If the conversation stops, and the recording continues, this is not allowed. Be very careful.
Criminal Code of Canada recording conversations
Just because you recorded it, it doesn’t mean it can be used. The rules of entering evidence into the court are complex.
You should never edit the recording. Just pass on the recording to the law firm as one file. You can tell your lawyer which parts to skip to.
You could say, we talked about child custody at 23:00.
If you make changes to the recording, it’s no longer authentic. Also, note that recorded conversations are not made under oath.
It’s not as strong as evidence as witness testimony or examinations for discovery.
Ask your attorney if it’s worth it.
From a legal point of view, you cannot ask someone to stop recording. However, you can stop the conversation.
We also have attorneys that can help with employment law and the employment relationship.
If you need legal advice, fill out the form on the side of this page. Let us know your legal questions and how a law firm can help.
Is it legal to record a conversation in Canada?
If you illegally record a conversation, you can go to jail for up to five years.
Your lawyer will send the recording to the other side a long time before trial. This is called the discovery process.
The same rules for recording private conversations apply to recording conversations at work.
In employment law, this recording often happens when someone feels they are in a toxic environment.
The employee might decide to record the conversation with the manager. When there is a power difference, a recording can be helpful.
Canada’s single party consent
However, should people do it? It makes people uncomfortable when people find out they were secretly recorded.
The ethics are very complex. You don’t want employees to walk around the office recording.
That means things have gotten very toxic. Recording conversations that involve intellectual property or extortion can lead to termination or crime.
Again, you need to be very careful.
In conclusion, you cannot ambush someone at trial with a secret recording, the way that they do in the movies. Before you record a conversation without consent, talk to a lawyer.
Author: Alistair Vigier is the CEO of ClearWay Law