Implications Of Recording Private Conversations In Canada

There are many situations when you would need to record some private conversations. While dealing with an insurance claim or a legal problem, a recorded conversation can be vital evidence. But is it legal to record private conversations in Canada?

In the Criminal Code of the Canadian law, Section 184 states that recording private conversation is illegal unless one of the participants consents to the interception. However, if anyone is getting involved in intercepting individual interactions without the consent of the other person, they can face imprisonment for up to five years. Let’s delve in to know more about the implications of recording a private conversation in Canada.


  • If someone is recording a private conversation, its legality also depends on the devices that are being used. Under Section 191 of the Criminal Code, it is banned to possess, sell or purchase any equipment, which supports encrypted interception of private communication.
  • Under Section 183 of the Criminal Code of Canada, the definition for intercept is given as listening, recording or acquiring communication. As defined in this section, everyone who intercepts a private communication using an electronic, magnetic, acoustic or mechanical device is guilty of a chargeable offense.
  • Though private conversations are often presented in court as a matter of evidence. The Criminal Code defines a private conversation as one that happens between two people, which shouldn’t be recorded without consent. Even if the conversation happens between multiple people, legal action can be taken if it does not involve everyone’s consent.
  • At times, law protectors need to intercept private interactions as a part of the evidence or to solve a case. If the law protector possesses a proper warrant for intercepting a private conversation then it is a legal activity; otherwise, it is not.


Organizations in Canada must comply with the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) when recording a conversation. The PIPEDA act in Canada deals with the privacy of data. This act governs the collection, use and disclosure of personal information in the course of business.

  • If the conversation needs to be recorded, the individual must be informed about the same at the beginning of the call to avoid implications. This information can be provided by an automated device or a customer service agent.
  • It is of utmost importance that the individual must be informed about the purpose of the call. The individual can be informed about the same in different ways such as verbally or by pressing a number on the keypad. If the individual chooses to proceed once the purpose is clear, the activity is carried out with the individual’s consent. If the individual is given a wrong reason, legal action can be initiated.

To know more about the implications of recording a conversation in Canada by an individual or an organization, visit us at Prowse and Chowne LLP