Employee Monitoring

Employee Monitoring

With employees working remotely and on varying schedules, many organizations are looking into monitoring strategies—not only for productivity purposes but also for employee health and safety. For instance, an employer may wish to track the GPS locations of employees travelling alone to isolated work locations.

However, while monitoring employees can help enable worker safety and reduce potential risks for an organization, it can also be an invasion of privacy if not implemented appropriately.

A new report from business consultant company Capterra found that about 65 percent of employees don’t believe monitoring impacts how they work, yet 72 percent of workers are worried the surveillance could lead to an invasion of privacy. With that in mind, an organization must understand how to monitor employees safely, effectively, and, most importantly, legally.

Legal Risks of Monitoring Employees

Provinces and territories have their own laws and restrictions when it comes to digitally monitoring employees, so it’s critical to review laws applicable to specific locations. Additionally, industries regulated by the federal government also have their own laws to be aware of.

For example, one such federal law is the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). Organizations covered by PIPEDA are generally required to obtain an individual’s consent when they collect, use or disclose that worker’s personal information.

Provinces, including Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec, have their own private-sector privacy laws similar to PIPEDA, so it’s important to research the laws that are specific to organizations and their areas of operation.

Best Practices for Monitoring Employees

Employee monitoring should be done respectfully, legally and with consent. Consider the following best practices for monitoring employees:

  • Use information for safety purposes. Consider whether the collection of employee data is necessary for health and safety. For example, if an employee is a delivery driver, their employer may want to monitor their vehicle and its location to be able to provide assistance in the event of car problems or a vehicle accident.
  • Only collect what is necessary. Employers should carefully consider what data is being collected from employees and for what business purposes it serves. Data unnecessarily or erroneously collected may expose an organization to legal risks and challenges.
  • Consider consent. In most cases, employees should always be aware of and agree to the ways they are being monitored. There may be exceptions, such as the event that consent would compromise the accuracy of the data; however, employers must consult applicable provincial and federal laws to ensure compliance with any consent-related stipulations.
  • Create a written policy. Present a policy to employees that includes the electronic devices the organization uses for monitoring, the information those devices collect, how the organization uses that data and any third parties that have access to it. This type of written policy is now a requirement in Ontario under Bill 88, and other provinces may draft similar rules.


Monitoring employees can be important for an organization, but it’s also imperative to be aware of the laws and regulations that are in place to protect employees’ privacy. Reach out to CMB Insurance Brokers for more resources relating to workplace policies.

For more information on risk management, or to find out how to reduce your insurance costs call CMB at 780.424.2727 or click here to get a quote