The children of an aging Montreal woman are before Quebec Superior Court fighting for the right to have a video camera in her room in a public long-term care facility.

Officials at the CHSLD, which cannot be named due to a publication ban, asked that the camera be removed.

Family members, who installed the camera in her room after an alleged theft, refused and brought the matter before the courts.

A Quebec Superior judge will have to determine whether the woman’s room is considered her home and therefore gives her the legal right to do as she pleases, or whether it's a workplace where employees have a right to privacy. This is only the second court case of its kind.

“The judge will have to decide which one is the most important in this kind of situation … This is why sometimes we decide to make a case — to clarify the law,” said lawyer Jean-Pierre Ménard, who won Quebec’s first case on this matter four years ago.

Ménard said he hopes the judge will side, again, with the family.

“Any handicapped or older person has the right to be protected and the right to safety.”

Case sparks debate

Paul Brunet, the chair of the Council for the Protection of Patients, said that a judge’s ruling will not resolve the issue.

“The result will be the suspicion of all employees after the ruling, so to us it will not be a gain,” said Brunet, adding that the court case may affect the work environment and patients' living conditions.

The president of Quebec’s service employees’ union Jean-Pierre Ouellet said he’s not against cameras.

“We are asking that there be guidelines around this practice.”

Ouellet said the government needs to establish a set of guidelines for the use of surveillance cameras and not leave the matter to the courts.