Guidelines for the Taking and Use of Photographs, Video and Audio Recordings by Employees

Photographs, video and audio recordings are “records” as defined in the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). The information contained in them is considered “personal information” when they contain “recorded information about an identifiable individual.” Note that information recorded about people in their business, professional or official capacity (such as York University employees and officials) is not considered to be personal information.

Notice and Consent

FIPPA requires that, with some exceptions, notice be given and consent obtained when personal information is collected and used. Notice to the individuals affected can be given verbally or in writing. It should specify the principal purpose or purposes for which the personal information is intended to be used, and individuals should be afforded the opportunity to consent.

Consent may be explicit (either verbal or written) or implicit. For most situations, implicit or verbal consent is sufficient.

Photographs or video or audio recordings must not be used or disclosed for purposes that were not identified in the original collection notice unless the individuals in the photographs or video or audio recordings have consented to the new use or disclosure.


Attendance on campus
In the York University context, it is not considered to be an unjustified invasion of the personal privacy of the individuals photographed or recorded if the images simply indicate attendance on campus. Nevertheless, where practical and as a courtesy, it is prudent to ask the individuals for their consent.

York University Editorial Publications
York University’s main editorial publications—YFile, YLife and YorkU magazine—are published for the purpose of creating a record that is available to the general public, and as such are examples of exceptions to the requirement for notice and consent. Where practical, however, notice should be given as a courtesy.

Note that if photos, audio or video recordings used in these editorial publications are to be stored in an image bank and/or repurposed in the future, consent must be obtained.


Where considered necessary, employees may use one of two standard consent forms:

In all cases, the consent form should be retained as long as the image or recording is being used.

In some instances, it may be necessary to modify the standard forms to address special circumstances and in such cases, the user should contact the Information and Privacy Office (416-736-2100 ext. 20359/ or the Office of the Counsel (416-736-5310).