“The June 2, 2013 arrest of Toronto Star photographer Alex Consiglio for trespassing in a Toronto railway station is the latest in a series of events that has PEN Canada’s National Affairs Committee concerned about the interpretation of certain Charter rights pertaining to public photography and filming.
In particular, we wish to state that it is not a criminal offence for individuals to photograph or film police officers as they go about their duties, and that police officers are not allowed to confiscate a person’s camera or recording equipment (including phones), force them to delete images, or otherwise prevent them from taking photographs or filming in public places. We also wish to clarify the law when it comes to taking pictures or filming on private property that is open to the public. People are welcome to take pictures or film in malls, transportation centres, and the like, unless posted signs specifically prohibit it, or until they are requested to desist by a representative of the owners of the property. In such an instance, though the owners or their representatives (such as a security guard) are within their right to request a halt to any further photographic activities, they have no legal right to force the deletion or destruction of photos that have already been taken. The publication of these photos is a separate issue and may be affected by other applicable laws.”