To my understanding Canada is a single party consent when it comes to recording a conversation i.e. if your a party, you can record it without the other parties knowledge. What if someone near you is speaking a different language?

For example if someone close to you is trying to exclude you from the conversation, is it legal to record it then get someone else to translate what was said?

1 Answer 1


It is illegal in Canada to wilfully intercept a private communication

"Intercept" means: listen to; record; acquire or acquire the substance, meaning or purport of the communication. In plain words, you are not permitted to surreptitiously listen to someone else's conversation, let alone record it. In fact, it is illegal in Canada to possess surreptitious recording devices.

There is an exception if you are part of the conversation or, of course, if the conversation is being conduct in a way that is clearly not private - a speech or debate for example.

If someone is “trying to exclude you” then a) it’s a private conversation and b) you are not part of it so it is illegal to intercept it at all.

  • This is a follow up question law.stackexchange.com/questions/52125/… what if someone is being really loud, can you record them?
    – TwoTwins
    Jun 6, 2020 at 5:43
  • The last paragraph about someone “trying to exclude you” does not seem right. According to the answer in the follow up question, it is only a private conversation if “it is reasonable for the originator to expect that it will not be intercepted by any person other than the person intended by the originator to receive it”. But the fact that someone does not intend for you to hear a conversation does not necessarily mean that it is reasonable for them to expect that you will not hear it. Aug 9, 2022 at 11:18

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