Can I secretly record a private conversation... legally?

 Don't worry - we won't share your secret question.. about secret recordings!  Here's why you have nothing to worry about if you have a good reason to privately record a conversation:  if the conversation is only between you and one other person, you should be in the clear as long as one of you has given consent.  The problem starts where there are more people in the conversation than just the two of you or if you are not directly part of the conversation.  

Here is the law on recording private conversations, according to Article 184 of the Criminal Code:

"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.

  • Marginal note:

  • Saving provision
    (2) Subsection (1) does not apply to

    • (a) a person who has the consent to intercept, express or implied, of the originator of the private communication or of the person intended by the originator thereof to receive it;

    • (b) a person who intercepts a private communication in accordance with an authorization or pursuant to section 184.4 or any person who in good faith aids in any way another person who the aiding person believes on reasonable grounds is acting with an authorization or pursuant to section 184.4;

    • (c) a person engaged in providing a telephone, telegraph or other communication service to the public who intercepts a private communication,..."

 Now, while it seems perfectly risk-free to record your two-person conversation with one-sided consent, we encourage you to ask the moral question of "Will this harm someone in any way?"  If the answer is, "yes," we suggest putting down the phone and moving on to better solutions!  Besides, it may not be worth the risks and fines you could face for editing and sharing the recording!  In a nutshell... record with caution!

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