The Program

On August 18, 2020, the Toronto Police Service received approval from the Toronto Police Services Board, to move forward with Axon Canada in the delivery of Service-wide body-worn camera program. The cameras are now embedded in all parts of frontline policing.

Body-worn cameras provide an unbiased, independent account of police/community interactions.  They are an investment in the Toronto Police Service’s commitment to delivering accountable and transparent policing services.  Whether they are used to legitimize an engagement between an officer and a member of the public, provide evidence in court, or offer an unbiased alternative to allegations of misconduct, every frontline police officer will be equipped with a body-worn camera

When will the camera be used?

A police officer will turn on the body-worn camera prior to arriving at a call for service or prior to asking any sort of inquisitive question. A police officer will turn off the body-worn camera when the call for service or investigation is complete or when the officer determines that continuous recording is no longer serving its intended purpose.

To learn more about the body-worn camera technology used by the Toronto Police Service, please visit Axon Canada.

Body-Worn Camera Procedures

15-20 Body-Worn Camera

15-20 Body-Worn Cameras Appendix A

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Privacy

The Body-Worn Camera Working Group has been working closely with the Information & Privacy Commissioner of Ontario on various issues of privacy.  Police officers will be trained on how to manage situations that may be sensitive in nature.  Appropriate vetting and editing of body-worn camera data will be done for disclosure purposes, as required.

Any request to view or edit the data must be made through the relevant provisions of the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA).  Videos will only be deleted in accordance with retention periods.

Pilot Project Results

In February 2014, the Body-Worn Camera pilot project was initiated to test, evaluate, and report on equipping frontline officers with a body-worn camera.  This initiative aligned with the Service’s commitment to maintain public trust, to provide professional and unbiased policing, and to be a world leader in providing police services.

During the pilot project the Service consulted with numerous stakeholders, including but not limited to; the Information and Privacy Commission of Ontario (I.P.C.), the Ontario Human Rights Commission (O.H.R.C.), and the Ministry of the Attorney General (M.A.G.) to address potential privacy, human rights and evidentiary issues associated with the use of the body-worn cameras.

Eighty-five officers from a cross-section of units were selected to participate in the pilot.

Throughout the pilot surveys were mailed to 45,000 members of the community using random postal codes, of which 7,540 responded. Further to these random surveys, 4,285 members of the community who experienced “law enforcement contact” during the project were mailed questionnaires on their experience with the cameras; 427 of those residents responded back to the questionnaire.

From these surveys and questionnaires, 94% of members of the community endorsed the use of the body-worn camera technology. Of the 85 officers involved in the pilot, 85% of them also endorsed the use of the cameras.

The pilot project ended on March 29, 2016.  It was reviewed and service-wide implementation of body-worn cameras was recommended.

Body-Worn Cameras: A report on the pilot project

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why is the Service giving body-worn cameras to its police officers?
  • Why are only frontline officers getting body-worn cameras?
  • When will the body-worn camera be turned on and turned off?
  • How will I know if a body worn camera is “on” during my encounter with a member of the Toronto Police Service?
  • How do the police manage a request to turn off the body-worn camera?
  • How much does the Program cost?
  • What training will the officers be undergoing prior to the launch of the Pilot Project?
  • Is there a policy or procedure that governs how officers use the body-worn camera?
  • What happens if an officer does not follow procedures?
  • Why is the Toronto Police Service releasing its Body-Worn-Camera policy to the public?
  • How did the Service decide which body-worn cameras to purchase?
  • How long will the body-worn camera data be stored?
  • Where will the body-worn camera data be stored?
  • How will the data from the body-worn cameras be downloaded?
  • Who will be able to access the body-worn camera data?
  • Who is permitted to edit the body-worn camera data?
  • What provisions will exist to vet/edit any recording prior to disclosure in court?
  • What is the Service’s policy on officers having the opportunity to watch the video before making notes?
  • What is the battery life of the body-worn camera?
  • Does the technology have voice-to-text capabilities?

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