Sysco Quebec ordered to remove driver-facing cameras

by Sonia Straface

SAINT-HYACINTHE, Que. — The Quebec Superior Court has officially sided with truck drivers in a five-year battle concerning driver-facing cameras.

On Sept. 11, Sysco Quebec was ordered by the court to remove driver-facing cameras in all of its trucks, claiming that the driver-facing Lytx DriveCams were not the only way Sysco could promote safety in its fleet, and there were other “less intrusive” methods to do so.

The battle of the cameras began in 2012 when Sysco Quebec invested in camera technology and installed driver- and outward-facing cameras in its trucks. The decision to do this did not sit well with drivers, who found the driver-facing cameras a gross invasion of privacy.

According to Lytx, the cameras only begin recording seconds before, during, and seconds after an accident to capture the full story of the incident. However, some drivers said the cameras recorded randomly throughout the day.

Now, with the Superior Court’s ruling, the driver-facing cameras will be out of the Sysco cabs for good.

And while most drivers across Canada are taking this as a win, Heather Devine, a transportation lawyer at Isaacs & Co., says they should be less than thrilled with this decision.

“I think it’s short-sighted of the drivers,” she said. “Because what’s the first thing that happens when a truck is involved in an accident? The truck driver is blamed. And when the truck driver is blamed, the reasons given are usually fatigue or distraction. For fatigue, one can look at the driver’s hours-of-service records but for distractions, you can look at cell phone records, but on the other hand, if you have an in-cab camera, and the driver is working, then you have very good evidence that you can use in court that shows the driver wasn’t distracted and was fully compliant.”

Devine goes even further to say that though truck drivers have their own unique workspace, it doesn’t exactly entitle them to privacy while working.

“Look at any office,” she said. “Many office spaces today are open concept. People watch people working all the time. Just because drivers work in solitude doesn’t mean they have a right to privacy.”

As far as this ruling setting a precedent for the rest of the fleets in Canada, Devine said she is unsure if this will prevent other fleets in Canada from installing driver-facing cameras, simply because this ruling was in Quebec.

“Quebec’s governed by civil code, and every other province is governed by common law,” she said. “So, as a lawyer, if I was covering a similar case, I would always look for an Ontario precedent first, and then I would take note of the Quebec precedent.”

Sysco did not respond to Truck News’ attempts to get a comment before publication.

Lytx commented on the situation saying, “Our understanding of the Sysco ruling was that it was fact-specific and unique to Sysco.”

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  • You think I ain’t never had a camera in my face and been sleep driving before? Come on Cantu I used to gang bang.

  • Obviously the lawyer that is quoted in the article is a “transportation lawyer”(represents corporations) and is clearly bias in her opinion . She obviously doesn’t represent “Rights & Freedoms” , and her arguments don’t stand . Pointing a camera directly on a stationed employee is intrusive and an infringement on an employees rights & freedoms ,which renders the constant surveillance of a “specific employee” highly unreasonable .

    July 22, 2019
    “surveillance must not single out a specific employee. ”

    Let’s keep this very simple .

    The Quebec judgement on the matter wasn’t based on a “civil code” per se . The “precedent” has now been established despite the fact that it is a Quebec court ruling . The ruling was based on a Canadian constitutional right to privacy . CANADIAN PRIVACY “LEGISLATION” placed restrictions on the collection, use and disclosure of information by provincial and territorial governments and by companies and institutions in the private sector .

    Therefore DRIVING FACING CAMERAS are a violation of the CANADIAN Charter Of Rights & Freedoms .

    “The principle by which judges are bound to precedents is known as stare decisis (a Latin phrase with the literal meaning of “Let the decision stand”). Common-law precedent is a third kind of law, on equal footing with statutory law (that is, statutes and codes enacted by legislative bodies) and subordinate legislation ”

    In my humble opinion …………….