Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act

An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Canada Evidence Act, the Competition Act and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act

This bill was last introduced in the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in August 2015.

Sponsor

Peter MacKay  Conservative

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment amends the Criminal Code to provide, most notably, for

(a) a new offence of non-consensual distribution of intimate images as well as complementary amendments to authorize the removal of such images from the Internet and the recovery of expenses incurred to obtain the removal of such images, the forfeiture of property used in the commission of the offence, a recognizance order to be issued to prevent the distribution of such images and the restriction of the use of a computer or the Internet by a convicted offender;

(b) the power to make preservation demands and orders to compel the preservation of electronic evidence;

(c) new production orders to compel the production of data relating to the transmission of communications and the location of transactions, individuals or things;

(d) a warrant that will extend the current investigative power for data associated with telephones to transmission data relating to all means of telecommunications;

(e) warrants that will enable the tracking of transactions, individuals and things and that are subject to legal thresholds appropriate to the interests at stake; and

(f) a streamlined process of obtaining warrants and orders related to an authorization to intercept private communications by ensuring that those warrants and orders can be issued by a judge who issues the authorization and by specifying that all documents relating to a request for a related warrant or order are automatically subject to the same rules respecting confidentiality as the request for authorization.

The enactment amends the Canada Evidence Act to ensure that the spouse is a competent and compellable witness for the prosecution with respect to the new offence of non-consensual distribution of intimate images.

It also amends the Competition Act to make applicable, for the purpose of enforcing certain provisions of that Act, the new provisions being added to the Criminal Code respecting demands and orders for the preservation of computer data and orders for the production of documents relating to the transmission of communications or financial data. It also modernizes the provisions of the Act relating to electronic evidence and provides for more effective enforcement in a technologically advanced environment.

Lastly, it amends the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act to make some of the new investigative powers being added to the Criminal Code available to Canadian authorities executing incoming requests for assistance and to allow the Commissioner of Competition to execute search warrants under the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Votes

Oct. 20, 2014 Passed That the Bill be now read a third time and do pass.
Oct. 1, 2014 Passed That Bill C-13, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Canada Evidence Act, the Competition Act and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, as amended, be concurred in at report stage.
Oct. 1, 2014 Failed That Bill C-13, in Clause 20, be amended by adding after line 29 on page 14 the following: “(2) For greater certainty, nothing in this Act shall be construed so as to abrogate or derogate from the protections for personal information affirmed by the Supreme Court of Canada decision in R. v. Spencer 2014 SCC 43.”
Oct. 1, 2014 Failed That Bill C-13 be amended by deleting the short title.
Oct. 1, 2014 Passed That, in relation to Bill C-13, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Canada Evidence Act, the Competition Act and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at report stage of the Bill and one sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration at third reading stage of the said Bill; and that, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the day allotted to the consideration at report stage and on the day allotted to the consideration at third reading stage of the said Bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the stage of the Bill then under consideration shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment.
March 26, 2014 Passed That, in relation to Bill C-13, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Canada Evidence Act, the Competition Act and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, not more than one further sitting day after the day on which this Order is adopted shall be allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the Bill; and that, 15 minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the day allotted to the consideration at second reading stage of the said Bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and, in turn, every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the Bill shall be put forthwith and successively, without further debate or amendment.

Bill C-13—Time Allocation MotionProtecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

October 1st, 2014 / 3:25 p.m.
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NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, shame on the government and on the Minister of Justice, who seems to forget he is also the Attorney General of Canada, for the 78th motion for time allocation.

It is absolutely incredible.

Bill C-13, which is before us right now, is not just any bill. The same thing happened with the prostitution bill last week. We had roughly half a day of debate on Bill C-36. Third reading of that bill is planned for Friday. The same thing will happen with Bill C-13, but that comes as no surprise.

My request to split the bill was rejected. My request at committee to wait for the decision from the Supreme Court of Canada, which was rendered a day after we finished the clause-by-clause, to suspend so we could read it was denied. We have time allocation at second reading, time allocation at report stage and at third reading.

Manon Cornellier wrote an extraordinary piece on this a year ago, saying that time allocation was becoming the norm in the House of Commons: “There was a time when limiting debate was the exception and invariably caused outrage [including that of the Conservatives]”.

Last week, Michael Spratt, of iPolitics, wrote:

The Conservatives proposed a controversial law that would expand the state’s Internet surveillance powers.The bill was attacked by experts...as unconstitutional....The Conservatives have the gall to claim that the decision confirms what they’d been saying all along — that the new law is justified. Black is white, love is hate, peace is war—

Bill C-13—Time Allocation MotionProtecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

October 1st, 2014 / 3:25 p.m.
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NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

I am right there, Mr. Speaker, but considering the time we are having on Bill C-13, could you give me a tiny leeway?

Mr. Spratt goes on to say:

In short, the government is doing its best to obscure the fact that our highest court has articulated the constitutional limits of invasive police investigative techniques...

If the minister cannot change reality, is rushing it and blurring it the next best thing?

Bill C-13—Time Allocation MotionProtecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

October 1st, 2014 / 3:30 p.m.
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Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, contrary to what was stated by my friend, there has been significant debate. There has been opportunity both inside and outside the House to look at this significant issue.

However, let us not lose sight of what the bill is about. The bill is about protecting people. It is in response to a very real need. Cyber-intimidation, cyberbullying, cybercrime is a very serious issue in this country today and we have seen instances where it literally cost young people their lives. Therefore, when we are talking about the provisions to improve the Criminal Code, to improve the ability to investigate online crime, we are talking about in some cases modernizing sections of the Criminal Code that were in place pre-Internet. Issues of intimidation and harassment are by necessity being updated in the legislation.

It is of the essence that we do this in a timely fashion and that we do this in a way that is respectful of the courts, which it is. With technology continuing to move at breakneck speed, I would suggest that languishing and repeating the same lines over and over about splitting the bill and that we should always go to the courts first, that is not the role of the democratically elected body of the House. It is certainly not the view shared by the government that we do everything only at the behest and at the request of the Supreme Court.

Bill C-13—Time Allocation MotionProtecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

October 1st, 2014 / 3:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, we share the minister's view and the government's view and I think the view of all Canadians that cyberbullying and cyber-intimidation is a horrible crime. We have seen in the minister's own province the tragic results that it can inflict on families. There are other examples, unfortunately, in other parts of the country. All of us recognize the need to modernize the Criminal Code to give law enforcement authorities the appropriate balanced tools to ensure that people who participate in this kind of heinous crime are prosecuted to the full extent of the law and that the law is modernized, as he said, to recognize that this kind of offence is something that we all abhor.

We also share the concern of many Canadians around privacy rights, around the importance of protecting private information, about not allowing police authorities or other governmental agencies to have access to private information, to Internet information, of Canadians who are law-abiding persons. I know in a previous version of the bill there was some concern around warrantless searches where authorities may perhaps have been allowed to go beyond what had been a traditional standard required of police authorities.

I am wondering if the minister could reassure us that warrantless searches and the appropriate balance between the privacy rights of Canadians is respected while at the same time allowing the full prosecution of these horrible offences to take place.

Bill C-13—Time Allocation MotionProtecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

October 1st, 2014 / 3:30 p.m.
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Conservative

Peter MacKay Conservative Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, that is in fact the very crux of the issue, striking that balance between protection of online activity while at the same time giving police modern powers with judicial oversight. There were certainly criticisms and legitimate concerns raised in the past and with respect to the bill about unlawful access online to information. The bill requires judicial oversight. The bill does not create new powers for police that go beyond the Criminal Code. It does not allow for any new online investigation without judicial oversight.

It is important that people understand that if the police want to use the powers contained in Bill C-13, they by necessity have to get a warrant from a judge, so the judicial oversight provisions are here. They are alive and present in the bill. They are also respectful and responding to recommendations that came from a very intense consultation with provinces and territories, not to mention what we heard at committee and not to mention what we have heard from experts such as the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime who said:

This legislation, if passed, will help to provide tools necessary to assist in reducing cyberbullying and in providing victims with much-needed supports.

It will empower the police to protect people online.

Bill C-13—Time Allocation MotionProtecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

October 1st, 2014 / 3:35 p.m.
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Mississauga—Erindale Ontario

Conservative

Bob Dechert ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice

Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the minister had an opportunity to hear the words of Mr. Glen Canning, the father of Rehtaeh Parsons, when he testified before the House of Commons justice committee in May this year. He said:

I do believe, if properly enforced... Bill C-13 would have made a difference to Rehtaeh. I will never know if the police had the power and ability to stop that photo from spreading. If they had, it's quite possible l'd be looking at my daughter's picture in a yearbook instead of a newspaper article.

He went on to say:

I respect privacy as much as any Canadian does; however, I believe Bill C-13 is not about an invasion of privacy. It's about allowing police officers to effectively address the many challenges of instant mass communication and abuse. Technology has changed our lives dramatically, and we need to provide new tools so police officers can hold accountable those who use this technology to hurt and torment others.

I wonder if the minister could tell us how he interprets Mr. Canning's comments in respect to the need to pass the bill quickly.

Bill C-13—Time Allocation MotionProtecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

October 1st, 2014 / 3:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Peter MacKay Conservative Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, I recall well the words of Mr. Canning, Rehtaeh Parsons' father, as well as her mother and other witnesses, family members, who have suffered the pain, the indignity, humiliation and ultimately the untimely loss of life as a result of persistent and pernicious online bullying.

The non-consensual distribution of intimate images can literally take lives. I cannot emphasize enough, as my friend has said and Mr. Canning and others have said, the urgency with regard to moving the legislation forward, putting in place those necessary protections found in the Criminal Code and giving the police the power to intervene and pre-empt and prevent the type of activity that led to the death of Rehtaeh Parsons, Amanda Todd and others.

That early intervention is what allows a parent to have the natural joy they should expect in seeing their children grow up, graduate and go on to lead healthy and productive lives. That is what is at stake.

An alarmist attitude has been expressed by some, including some of the so-called experts, that this is going to allow police to snoop online. The police are more interested in catching child pornographers, terrorists and those who are preying on the elderly with online fraud schemes. These are the types of activities we are out to enable police to intervene on, investigate and ultimately prevent.

Bill C-13—Time Allocation MotionProtecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

October 1st, 2014 / 3:35 p.m.
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NDP

Charmaine Borg NDP Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to reiterate that we are talking about the urgency of adopting provisions on cyberbullying. The NDP has always said that we need to adopt this part very quickly. Nonetheless, we want to properly assess the parts that may cause serious problems when it comes to protecting Canadians' privacy.

What is more, the Minister of Justice responded to my colleague from Gatineau by saying:

“It is not our duty to slow things down here”.

I am sorry, but it is our responsibility. As parliamentarians, we must be sure to uphold the Canadian Constitution and Supreme Court rulings.

Can the Minister of Justice tell me why he does not even want to sit down and address the Supreme Court ruling to see whether the provisions of Bill C-13 are indeed constitutional?

Bill C-13—Time Allocation MotionProtecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

October 1st, 2014 / 3:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Peter MacKay Conservative Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is because I rely, not on the advice of the member opposite, but on the advice of departmental officials, lawyers and those who argue the case, those who are involved intimately in tracking the Spencer decision and drafting this legislation. This is not some sort of a fly-by-night written on the back of an envelope piece of legislation. This has been in the works for some time. It has been studied extensively. We have heard from numerous experts and we have heard from the people most affected, the victims. They have told us of the urgency.

The member said, just a moment ago, that they are not trying to hold up the bill. There have been some 20 speakers from the NDP on the bill. We have ample time to look at the bill in further detail, not this type of banter back and forth in the House of Commons but in committee.

Therefore, when it comes to the constitutionality of Bill C-13, we believe strongly that this not only passes constitutional muster, but it does what it is intended to do. That is to allow police, with judicial oversight, to do proper investigations that protect the public at large.

Bill C-13—Time Allocation MotionProtecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

October 1st, 2014 / 3:40 p.m.
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Liberal

Sean Casey Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, in his last answer, the minister indicated there has been wide consultation and that the bill has been informed by officials within his department. My question is with respect to the role of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and whether his opinions and his views on the bill should be taken into account. He testified at committee that he had numerous concerns with regard to the bill, whether it is the immunity that is afforded to telephone companies, or the lack of any reporting required by telephone companies as to the volume and types of inquiries they receive for voluntary disclosure.

Given these concerns expressed by the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, concerns that were subsequently, basically, confirmed by the Supreme Court of Canada in the Spencer decision, could the minister inform the House of the importance, if any, and relevance of the opinion of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada with respect to the bill?

Bill C-13—Time Allocation MotionProtecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

October 1st, 2014 / 3:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Peter MacKay Conservative Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, of course, independent watchdogs, offices, ombudsmen, people like the Privacy Commissioner and the privacy office have indeed voiced their opinions, as have many others, as have experts.

Here is a stunning revelation for everyone. Sometimes experts disagree. Sometimes lawyers even disagree, or parliamentarians.

We believe, fundamentally, the legislation not only respects the Spencer decision, it answers the questions that have been asked with respect to judicial oversight and it answers with respect to the constitutionality of the bill itself. It is an attempt to modernize the tools that are in the hands of the police to allow them, with that judicial oversight, to investigate very sophisticated criminal activity online.

I remind my friend that the Spencer decision does not require amendments to Bill C-13. In fact, this decision addresses very plainly the ability for the police to obtain private information with a valid warrant.

Nothing in Bill C-13 is intended to create any new powers to obtain information without a warrant, as has been suggested by some members of the NDP. Simply put, the bill puts forward privacy safeguards, which are built into the legislation and built into the investigative powers of the bill. It is tailored to meet those expectations around privacy, but at the same time allow the police to do this critically important work of protecting the public from online criminality.

Quite frankly, we know this online criminality is prolific, growing and in some cases is causing young people, because of intimidation and harassment, to take their own lives. That is what is at stake.

Bill C-13—Time Allocation MotionProtecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

October 1st, 2014 / 3:40 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, as we are now debating time allocation in response to what the Minister of Justice and the government House leader have moved, I want to again address the disservice to this place, the disrespect, indeed the contempt toward this place and the role of individual members of Parliament that is constituted in 78 time allocations in this Parliament.

I know that you, Mr. Speaker, are considering carefully the motion I brought forward, the question of privilege I brought forward on September 15, and the numerous legal opinions that lean in the direction of concluding that our ability to do our job, which is a matter of privilege, to hold the government to account, is significantly compromised, in fact savaged, by the constant application of time allocation.

I referred to the decision of Mr. Justice Binnie and the Vaid decision in 2005, that the heart and essence of what we do as MPs is to hold the government to account. The ability to do that job requires adequate time for debate.

I understand the Minister of Justice believes we have had more than enough time for debate. However, the reality is that the privacy commissioners of this country, many of them, believe the bill would violate rights of privacy. Lawyers and experts with the Canadian Bar Association believe it will not stand the test of a Supreme Court challenge, yet we are asked to rush it through.

This is a violation of our rights. I ask the Minister of Justice to reconsider. We shared the same law school. I would like to think we share something else, which is respect for Parliament.

Bill C-13—Time Allocation MotionProtecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

October 1st, 2014 / 3:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Peter MacKay Conservative Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, I have been around this place a little while, since 1997, and I sat, literally, where the member is sitting.

We hear the hyperbole of “savaging democracy” and “stifling debate”. As I have told the member, we have had significant debate on the bill. We have had examinations at committee. We have had input from attorneys general and justice ministers at the provincial and territorial level. We have had input from lawyers and experts of well-renowned reputation when it comes to cyber and the use of Internet, and the use of the modern information age.

Now is the time to move forward. Now is the time to make actual progress on the legislation and the insertion of Criminal Code amendments that will help protect people from the scourge of online criminality. That is what this is about.

We can argue procedural points in the House of Commons, but there is no getting away from the fact that, and I believe my colleague from Saanich—Gulf Islands would agree, as a lawyer, as a person with a legal background, there is a necessity and a pressing need to modernize our Criminal Code and bring forward amendments that empower our investigators and our courts and our entire system of justice to improve upon a system that has been outdated, and is proven to be lacking when it comes to the necessary protections for online criminality.

These sections of the Criminal Code were put in place prior to the Internet. We have talked about and I reiterate that this does not create new police powers. It does not give them new investigative powers without judicial oversight. That was very much considered, both in the drafting and presentation of the bill. It was also very much considered in the wake of the Spencer decision, which I remind members, just for emphasis, was a case involving possession and distribution of child pornography.

Let us come back to reality. Let us come back to the importance of having legislation and Criminal Code amendments that will protect Canadian citizens, protect our ability to do the important work of online investigations that will prevent the likes of what we saw in the terrible tragedy of Rehtaeh Parsons.

Bill C-13—Time Allocation MotionProtecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

October 1st, 2014 / 3:45 p.m.
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NDP

Ève Péclet NDP La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, one of the elements that the Privacy Commissioner of Canada indicated may be unconstitutional is the fact that there are no oversight mechanisms for information sharing.

We know that the Supreme Court already struck down a section of the Criminal Code—I believe it was section 184—saying that it was unconstitutional not because it granted access to data without a warrant but because this type of access without a warrant did not include any sort of review mechanism for government decisions.

Is the minister prepared to tell us today that his bill is constitutional even though it grants access to data without a warrant and without oversight from the judiciary or an officer of Parliament? It is my understanding that the Supreme Court already ruled on the constitutionality of those kinds of measures.

Bill C-13—Time Allocation MotionProtecting Canadians from Online Crime ActGovernment Orders

October 1st, 2014 / 3:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Peter MacKay Conservative Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, that is a false dichotomy in the question because, in fact, this bill would not create warrantless access. That is a mythology. It is an incorrect, factually wrong statement that is being repeated time and time again by members opposite.

This bill would require and necessitate judicial oversight. It does not attempt to go around that power. It does not propose to bestow new powers on the police to perform warrantless search. They would have to get access with a judicially authorized warrant.

That was the very crux, the ratio decidendi, of the Spencer decision. It talked about the fact that people have a reasonable expectation of privacy when they go online. I do not know whether all Canadians actually believe that when they go online; we know there is lots of hacking that is not being done by the government that puts some of that data at risk.

The reality is that this legislation is about modernizing the Criminal Code sections, about putting in the hands of the police tools with judicial authorization that would allow them to go after fraud artists, child pornographers, and those who are using the Internet to intimidate and harass people. They could go after those who are taking part in activities that in the real world, not the virtual world, clearly would be criminalized.

That is what we are attempting to do through this bill. It is modernizing it. It is moving us into the 21st century, into the modern age of technology. That is what we are doing. To suggest that we should split the bill and put the Criminal Code sections in one part and put the police powers in another is like saying we should give somebody a paddle but not a boat.