Report on the Use of Facial Recognition by Police Forces in the public space in Quebec and Canada

Nov 18 : Join us for the Panel discussion on Legal Issues on Facial Recognition from an International Perspective

The International Observatory on the Societal Impacts of AI and Digital Technology (OBVIA), in partnership with the Research Chair on Responsible Artificial Intelligence on a Global Context, presents a report on the Legal Framework to the Use of Facial Recognition by Police Forces in the public space in Quebec and Canada.

This report, prepared under the supervision of Pr Céline Castets-Renard, presents the main issues of the use of facial recognition by police forces in the public space in Quebec and Canada and the applicable legal framework, in comparison with Europe and the United States. In a context where this technology is being deployed more and more widely, it is necessary to conduct a reflection before its deployment in order to eliminate or minimize the risks, in particular for individual rights and freedoms.

This report thus aims to enlighten legislators and decision-makers on what facial recognition technologies are and the risks involved, in particular the risks of violations for individual rights and freedoms protected by the Charters of Canada and Quebec, and to present the solutions already implemented to consider those which minimize the risks and the intrusion of this technology on privacy, in order to lay down the conditions for transparency and better social acceptability. In addition to providing analytical support to public decision-makers, the production of this report aims to initiate discussion and exchanges with all stakeholders in Quebec and Canada.

 English Summary    French version (full)   French version (summary)


The International Observatory on the Societal Impacts of AI and Digital Technology (OBVIA) is an open research network that brings together the expertise of more than 200 researchers in Humanities and Social Sciences, Health, and Science and Engineering. It is also an open space for discussion and reflection for all stakeholders in the development and use of AI and digital technology.

Centred around a critical interrogation of technological innovations, the Observatory’s mission is to address crucial issues and identify plausible solutions for the problems and opportunities stemming from the rise of AI and digital technology in Quebec and elsewhere in the world.

We want to help define the common good that should be pursued by these innovations, by producing knowledge or carrying out research-creation projects on their social impact and by calling on democratic institutions. Our work is part of a responsible innovation perspective.


  • Céline Castets-Renard

    Professeure à la Faculté de droit, titulaire de la Chaire L'intelligence artificielle responsable à l'échelle mondiale

    Université d’Ottawa

  • Emilie Guiraud

    Étudiante au baccalauréat en droit

    Laval University

  • Pierre-Luc Déziel

    Professeur à la Faculté de droit

    Université Laval

  • Benoît Dupont

    Professeur à l'École de criminologie, directeur du Centre international de criminologie comparée, titulaire de la Chaire de recherche du Canada en Cybersécurité

    Université de Montréal

  • Steve Jacob

    Professeur au Département de science politique et titulaire de la Chaire de recherche sur l'administration publique à l'ère numérique

    Université Laval

  • Lyse Langlois

    Professeure au Département des relations industrielles, directrice générale de l'OBVIA et directrice de l'Institut d'éthique appliquée (IDÉA)

    Université Laval

  • Guillaume Macaux

    Conseiller scientifique

    Observatoire international sur les impacts sociétaux de l’IA et du numérique

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