News

Kelowna garbage truck driver fired over concern about spy cam

Alistair Waters

assistant editor

The fallout over a camera in the cab of a Kelowna garbage truck has cost at least one OK Environmental Waste Services driver his job.

Shane Collins, who took a picture of the camera attached to the inside of the windshield of an OK Environmental Waste Systems truck to watch the driver, said he was fired on Monday. The picture appeared in the media and on websites late last week.

"We live in a society where there are cameras around us all the time. I felt enough is enough," said an unrepentant Collins on Tuesday.

He said during a meeting with company officials Monday, he was shown surveillance video of himself taking the photograph prior to heading out on a collection round. The video also showed he did not do part of a mandatory pre-route truck inspection.

"That's the reason they gave for firing me, but I know it was because of the camera," said Collins." They were pretty mad about it and felt it has given the company a bad name."

Collins said at first when asked about the picture he denied taking it, something he now admits was a mistake. And despite the firing, he said prior to the installation of the camera, he felt OK Environmental Waste Systems was a good company to work for.

But he added he did not regret speaking out about the camera.

He said he has spoken to a lawyer about the firing.

News of the camera installation angered drivers last week and their reaction was widely covered in both the local and the provincial media last week.

At the time, drivers' representative Andrew Shepherd said the drivers were concerned about an invasion of their privacy, both while on the job and on their breaks. Concerns were raised about who would see the pictures captured by the camera, how and where they would be stored and for how long. The camera was also felt to block part of the view out the front window, something Shepherd said could be a safety concern.

Complaints were reportedly filed B.C. Privacy Commissioner on Friday.

Contacted on Tuesday, Shepherd said he could not comment further.

As was the case last week, calls to the company were referred to owner Lance Shaw, who was not available. Reportedly out of the country last week, he is believed to have returned on the weekend.Attempts were made to contact his Tuesday but calls from the Capital News were not returned.

Last week, OK Environmental Waste supervisor R.J Fajna,  said the company has been testing several "safety" features in its trucks. It's not clear if the camera was considered one those safety features.

Collins said he has been told the original camera has now been removed fro the truck in which it was installed.

OK Environmental Waste Systems has contracts with all the the municipalities in the Central Okanagan and the regional district to pick up residential garbage and recycling each week.

Garbage trucks here use an automated collection system controlled by the driver in the cab of the truck.

 

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