Yukon Ombudsman Yukon Information and Privacy Commissioner Yukon Public Interest Disclosure Commissioner

Yukon Information and Privacy Commissioner

News Release: City Council looking at enlisting drones to ease the burden of bylaw enforcement

Wed, Jul 25, 2018



July 25, 2018


City Council is now looking at enlisting drones as an option to ease the burden of bylaw enforcement

WHITEHORSE – Residents and visitors go about their daily routine in Whitehorse with a reasonable expectation of privacy. That may change however, if City Council is successful at enlisting drones, also called unmanned air vehicles (UAVs), as an option to ease the burden of bylaw enforcement.

Residents may not be aware that the City of Whitehorse is not subject to Yukon’s Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (ATIPP Act). Nor the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) which is a Federal privacy law.

The ATIPP Act gives individuals a right to access their personal information held by public bodies in Yukon, limits the personal information they may collect and how it may be used, and mandates other privacy and security measures. PIPEDA applies to personal information of municipal employees in the territories, but is unlikely to cover the personal information of others collected by City of Whitehorse drones.

Even if ATIPP or PIPEDA did apply, the lack of transparency around what a drone is recording, at any given time, hinders accountability. It’s difficult to make a complaint when you don’t know what personal information is being collected. The Federal Aeronautics Act regulates drone use but only in relation to safety. It does not speak to the pervasive privacy implications.

Risks to privacy are created when public officials decide to use privacy invasive technology, such as drones, to conduct their work without balancing the benefits of such use against the privacy rights of individuals. I strongly encourage the City to undertake this analysis and publicize the results.

One step toward reducing these risks would be for municipalities to be made subject to the ATIPP Act. As technologies progress and present ever-changing challenges, individuals deserve recourse to ensure their privacy is protected.

The Information and Privacy Commissioner is an independent officer of the Yukon Legislative Assembly.



Diane McLeod-McKay, B.A., J.D.
Information and Privacy Commissioner