Cameras at library, Fieldhouse, Multiplex switched on

by Sidney Cohen - February 15, 2018

One day after city council adopted a security camera policy, cameras at the library, Fieldhouse and Multiplex were switched back on.

Cameras at these facilities were reactivated on Tuesday, and the rest will be turned on after each has been assessed and deemed necessary for security reasons.

Seen here are two of several security cameras inside the Yellowknife Public Library. Cameras at the library, Fieldhouse and Multiplex were reactivated on Tuesday.
Sidney Cohen/NNSL photo

The city deactivated its security cameras on Jan. 18 following allegations that the head of the Municipal Enforcement Division (MED) Doug Gillard used them to look at women. City council launched an inquiry into workplace misconduct at MED after learning of the allegations.
Administration said the cameras would stay off until a policy was in place guiding their use.

The new policy requires administration to evaluate each camera and determine whether there are any “feasible less privacy‐invasive ways” of addressing a security risk

At a Feb. 5 meeting of city council, the city’s senior administrative officer (SAO), Sheila Bassi-Kellett said administration will ask, “is this camera necessary? Are there alternate means to ensure the safety of people, the safety of staff, the safety of property?”

The NWT information and privacy commissioner expressed concern on Wednesday over the pace at which the city drafted and implemented the new policy.

In response to a NNSL online story about the reactivation of city cameras, the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of NWT tweeted: “A month is not enough time to do a Privacy Impact Assessment or, for that matter, to develop a comprehensive privacy policy for an organization the size of the City of Yellowknife. Let’s hope they got it right.”

Commissioner Elaine Keenan Bengts could not be reached for further comment before press time yesterday.

According to the city’s security camera policy, only authorized employees, the SAO, the city’s lawyer, designated IT staff, and people “who’s access is deemed necessary by the SAO,” will have access to the cameras.

Yellowknifer requested a list of people who now have access to the city’s cameras, but the city did not provide one.

Instead, city spokesperson Richard McIntosh stated in an email that access to security camera footage is “unique to each facility.”

McIntosh stated that only cameras at the library and track entrance at the Fieldhouse are live monitored, and that monitoring happens at those locations.

He added that camera recordings will only be viewed if there has been a security incident.

The city announced Wednesday it would hold a special, closed-door meeting of the Municipal Services Committee on Thursday to discuss the MED inquiry.

The announcement came after it was revealed city council held a private meeting on Jan. 30 about the MED inquiry and didn’t notify the public.