Me and My Property

Canadian Photography Laws » Overview » Me and My Property

It is important to understand your rights. Above all else, a photographer is no different than any other normal person. You holding a camera does not grant you any additional rights over others, nor does not having a camera grant another person additional rights over you.

The list below has a few important items to remember, but only scratches the surface of the everyday rights that affect you.

Maybe Laws are complex and differ by city and province. This summary uses laws for Toronto, Ontario. If you are not taking photos here, some of these laws may not apply to you, and others may. Investigate the rules in your city/province in The Laws.
No You cannot harass anyone. This includes taking photos of them after they have asked you to stop.  Criminal Code
No You cannot stalk anyone. Don’t follow them. This includes celebrities, politicians, and other people in the public eye.  Criminal Code
No You cannot interfere with anyone else. For example, you have no right to block a public road or side walk, stop or prevent another person from using their own personal property.  Civil Law
Yes Nobody can interfere with your lawful enjoyment of your personal property (ie: your camera). This includes Police.  Civil Law, Criminal Code, Charter
Yes If you are on your own property, or on public property (like a sidewalk or at a park), nobody can dictate you what you can or cannot take a photo of.  Civil Law
Yes Nobody can threaten to destroy your camera, lenses, film, cards, other property, nor can they threaten you with physical harm.Nobody can actually destroy your property, forcibly delete photos, expose your film, or harm you.  Criminal Code
Yes Nobody can search you, your bags, car, etc. However, being searched may be a condition of entrance to private property or an event.Police may only search you if they have a valid, legal reason to believe you have committed a crime.  Civil Law, Charter, Trespassing

Private Property

When you are on private property, the property owner, or a person acting on behalf of the property owner, like a security guard or property manager, can control what you are allowed or not allowed to do on their property, how long you can stay, or if you are allowed there at all. They can do this by posting signs, or telling you. They do not need a “policy”, they can allow or disallow activities on a per activity and/or per-person basis.  Trespassing

Maybe If you are on private property, and you have been told by the owner (or security guard, or other representative of the owner), or if there is a sign posted, saying that some activities are not allowed, you must not do those things.For example, the owner may disallow flash photography, or the use of tripods.  Trespassing
Maybe If you are allowed on private property, and you don’t know if photography is allowed (no signs, owner hasn’t told you), assume photography is allowed until told otherwise.Once you are informed by the owner, you must stop taking photos. The owner has no rights to any photos taken before being told.  They are your personal property. You do not have to delete, surrender, or even show them.  Trespassing
Maybe For more information on what you can take photos of, see What Can I Photograph?



I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice. For more information, see the Disclaimer.