Can You Record Someone Without their Consent in Alberta?

The laws regarding the recording of people are handled at the Federal level in Canada. It applies to not only Alberta, but across the country.

Can you record someone without their consent in Alberta? According to section 184 of the Canadian Criminal Code, Canada is a one-party consent country. This means you can record without consent if at least 1 participant of the conversation is consenting. It is illegal to record from a 3rd party perspective if nobody in the conversation gives consent or has knowledge of it, where there is an ”expectation of privacy”.

Section 184 of the Canada Criminal Code

This answer should not replace actual legal advice. You should read through the law yourself to gain an adequate understand of all the circumstances involved.

In a nutshell, it is legal to secretly record a conversation if you are a member of the conversation, or have consent from a member of the conversation. But only if there is not an ”expectation of privacy” in the situation.

If you record a private conversation without consent or implied consent, you could be guilty of a federal crime, and face up to 5 years in prison.

184 (1) Every person who, by means of any electro-magnetic, acoustic, mechanical or other device, knowingly intercepts a private communication is guilty of
(a) an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than five years; or
(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction.

Section 184 ”Interception”

The law then goes on to lay out the ”exceptions”. This is the Saving Provision.

There is a bit more to this law than these screenshots, but this is the bulk of it.

In Summary

  • Canada is a one-party consent country.
  • It is legal (in certain circumstances) to record someone’s conversation without their consent if you are a participant of the conversation or have consent from a member of the conversation.
  • Outside of these parameters, it is a federal crime to record a private conversation.