The Quebec government will examine a proposal that would allow residents in long-term care facilities to decide for themselves if they want cameras installed their rooms, according to documents obtained by Radio-Canada.
The guidelines, set to be studied Wednesday during parliamentary hearings into legislation aimed at cracking down on elder abuse, specify that residents or their legal representatives can make the decision without "prior authorization from the institution."
The cameras can be visible or camouflaged.
The provincial government is also proposing that neither authorities nor employees be advised of the presence of a camera, a move welcomed by Jean-Pierre Ménard, a lawyer specializing in patients' rights.
Ménard says there have been cases where staff treated residents differently once alerted of a monitoring device in the room.
"There was even a case where the patient was boycotted because they knew there was a camera," Ménard said.
Paul Brunet, chairman of the Quebec Council for the Protection of Patients, supports the proposal but adds that cameras wouldn't be needed if the government was more diligent.
"Let's make sure that we have appropriate employees with appropriate supervision," he told CBC News.
Part of the reason residents have been pushing for cameras is because past grievances fell on deaf ears until video evidence was presented, he said.
The proposal does, however, include a few safeguards.
The monitoring devices will no be allowed to be placed in common areas such as hallways and dining rooms and will be limited in their ability to take pictures "of people who are not targeted."
The parliamentary committee the proposed legislation, Bill 115, is set to continue throughout the week.