Annual Report on the Department of Fisheries and Oceans - Use of the Law Enforcement Justification Provisions

2015

Sections 25.1-25.4 of the Criminal Code provide a limited justification at law for acts and omissions that would otherwise be offences when committed by designated law enforcement officers (and those acting under their direction) while investigating an offence under federal law, enforcing a federal law, or investigating criminal activity. The law enforcement justification provisions are subject to a legal requirement of reasonableness and proportionality.

The law enforcement justification provisions also establish a system of accountability that includes a requirement under which the competent authority, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans must make public an annual report on the use of specific portions of the law enforcement justification provisions by Fishery Officers employed by Fisheries and Oceans.

In particular, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans must report:

  • how many times a senior official made temporary designations under the provisions;
  • how many times a senior official authorized a public officer to commit an act or omission that would otherwise constitute an offence, and that is likely to result in loss of or serious damage to property, or directed an agent to commit an act or omission that would otherwise constitute an offence;
  • how many times a public officer proceeded without such an authorization from a senior official, due to exigent circumstances;
  • the nature of the conduct being investigated in these instances; and,
  • the types of justified acts or omissions, which would otherwise constitute offences, that were committed in these instances.

Statistics

Temporary designations

Paragraphs 25.3(1)(a), (d) and (e) of the Criminal Code require the following information to be made public:

  • The number of temporary public officer designations made by the senior officials;
  • The nature of the conduct being investigated in these cases; and
  • The nature of the justified acts or omissions, which would otherwise constitute offences, that were committed by the temporarily designated public officer.

From January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2015, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans reports that the senior official made no temporary designations.

Authorizations for Specific Acts and Omissions

Paragraphs 25.3(1)(b), (d) and (e) of the Criminal Code require the following information to be made public:

  • The number of cases in which the senior official:
    • authorized a public officer to commit a justified act or omission that would otherwise constitute an offence and that would likely result in loss of or serious damage to property, or
    • authorized a public officer to direct another person to commit a justified act or omission that would otherwise constitute an offence.
  • The nature of the conduct being investigated in these cases.
  • The nature of the justified acts or omissions, which would otherwise constitute offences, that were committed.

From January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2015, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans reports that no authorizations were granted to public officers to commit justified acts or omissions that would otherwise constitute offences and that would likely result in loss of or serious damage to property.

From January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2015, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans reports no authorizations were granted for directing another person to commit a justified act or omission that would otherwise constitute an offence.

Instances of Public Officers Proceeding Without Senior Official Authorization

Paragraphs 25.3(1)(c), (d) and (e) of the Criminal Code require the following information to be made public:

  • The number of times that public officers proceeded without a senior official's authorization, based on reasonable grounds to believe that the grounds for obtaining an authorization existed and that the justified the act or omission that would otherwise constitute an offence was necessary due to exigent circumstances.
  • The nature of the conduct being investigated when public officers proceeded in this manner.
  • The nature of the justified acts or omissions, which would otherwise constitute offences, that were committed when the public officers proceeded in this manner.

From January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2015, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans reports that no public officers proceeded without a senior official's written authorization in these circumstances.

Honorable Hunter Tootoo
Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard