Photography Laws


In an attempt to better understand the laws of photography, Tyler Hutcheon endeavoured to investigate the laws that apply to photographers. Specifically, Tyler was looking for the laws that applied to non-commercial photographers in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The applicable laws may vary by city, province and country. Note that this is not legal advice, and Tyler is not a lawyer, this is simply his interpretation of the laws surrounding photography.

Ambient Light – Photography Laws

6 thoughts on “Photography Laws

  1. Hi, can someone help me answer this question. My landlord comes without the notice or consent to do so and takes pictures of me and my unit. The police was called and they have told me that ‘it is not criminal’ and not a violation of privacy. I however found this very violating.
    The landlord owns the place but I pay monthly for the ‘monthly ownership’ and I do not feel this is right, however would like to know the law in this matter. Hopefully you can help me.


  2. Maya,
    I’m responding on the assumption you live in Canada.
    As far as I understand it, as long as you have not defaulted on your rent, your landlord has to inform you first before entering the unit. However, you cannot unreasonably prevent them from doing so.
    It is within the landlord’s right to photograph the unit. As for photographing you in the apartment, that’s a bit stickier. If you are in Quebec or Saskatchewan, then taking a picture of you in the unit can be considered a violation of privacy. In Ontario (and I can only assume, the rest of the country), you don’t have that. You can ask not to be included in the photographs, and if they continue that can be considered harassment.
    You just have to remember, as a renter, you don’t have as many rights in your unit as you would if you owned. Violations of your privacy at odd hours, a landlord who is not reasonable with respect to accessing the unit, these are all issues that might be in the Tenant Protection Act (or something similar in your province/territory).


  3. My 12 year old daughter was filmed by another student of the same age and gender in a washroom at a public school. This was against her will of course. She was humilated further when the girl showed them to her friends. The pics were deleted but the damage was done. I contacted the principal and the RCMP but haven’t heard anything back. The girl doesn’t feel any remorse so I was wondering if there is any recourse for my daughter?


  4. I’m not a lawyer, so there’s that. But one of the laws regarding photography in Canada is this: You can not take photos of people who are in circumstances where they believe that they have a reasonable expectation of privacy, for example, a bathroom. This generally extends to include a person inside their own home, or anywhere where they have reason to believe is a private place.
    Here’s where it’s open to interpretation, but I would interpret it as meaning that your unit is your home regardless of who owns it, and therefore your landlord violated your rights. In other words, having a home is not contingent on owning the property. This is just common sense. Your landlord may have the right to photograph his property (subject to the laws regarding entering a tenant’s dwelling), but you still have the expectation of privacy.


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