Legal Considerations for Photography in Canada

In Canada, the legality of taking and using photographs, especially at public events, involves two key points. Churches being a non-profit organization often will not have the same structured rules as a commercial business does, however, it is smart to consider implementing the following if you are livestreaming, taking video, or taking photo at events. 


1. Privacy Laws:

    • Public vs. Private Spaces: Generally, you can photograph events in public spaces without consent. However, churches, even during public events, are considered private spaces. Always obtain permission from the parish priest first. 
    • Personal Data Protection: According to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), photographing identifiable individuals and using their images for commercial purposes requires their consent, consent can come through posted signage during the period of photographing. If you are placing paid advertisements involving minors, it is suggested to have written consent forms. 


2. Ethical Considerations:

    • Respect and Dignity: Ensure that your photographs do not misrepresent or exploit individuals or the community. Avoid capturing moments that might be considered private or inappropriate.
    • Cultural Sensitivity: Be mindful of the cultural and faith context, and ask the priest to double check on proper photography practices including permission to cross the altar or any other context that maybe relevant to the event. 
    • Photos Involving Children: If parents are not present during photography, and an event is comprised of minors in attendance, consent forms for posting photos publicly is advised.  


Below are two basic  examples of photo release forms for usage in a parish. Different events may require different forms, and there are numerous ways a consent form can be constructed. 


You can download our editable Microsoft Word document of a basic photo release form. Ensure you insert the name of your parish where indicated, and you may consider changing the image of the photo release form to the logo of your parish. 

You can download our editable Microsoft Word document of a basic event signage for photography/video/audio. Place all singage at the entrances of the event. This sign may also be used for live stream purposes, and can be editted to fit the needs of your parish.