Bill C-55

If passed, this new law would authorize the government to put Canadian citizens, who have no criminal record, and who have not even been charged with a crime, under round-the-clock electronic surveillance for up to 12 months.

Electronic Frontier Canada opposes the following section of Bill C-55.

For further analysis, links to a few related newspaper articles and excerpts from the Parliamentary debate are given at the bottom of this page.


Bill C-55 was introduced in Parliament and given first reading on September 17th, 1996. It was debated on October 3rd and 4th and passed second reading on October 7th. It has now been referred to the Commons Justice Committee.

On December 3rd, Justice Minister Alan Rock acknowledged concerns of critics and instructed the consider changes to "narrow the scope" of the new law. (see Globe & Mail article below).


Bill C-55 would amend the Criminal Code by adding the following:

Where fear of serious personal injury offence
810.2 (1) Where the Attorney General believes that there are reasonable grounds to fear that another person will commit a serious personal injury offence, as that expression is defined in section 752, in respect of one or more persons, the Attorney General may lay an information before a provincial court judge, whether or not the person or persons in respect of whom it is feared that the offence will be committed are named.

Duty of provincial court judge
(2) A provincial court judge who receives an information under subsection (1) shall cause the parties to appear before the provincial court judge.

Adjudication
(3) The provincial court judge before whom the parties appear may, if satisfied by the evidence adduced that the Attorney General has reasonable grounds for the fear, order that the defendant enter into a recognizance to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for any period that does not exceed twelve months and to comply with any other reasonable conditions prescribed in the recognizance, including conditions set out in subsections (4) and (5), that the provincial court judge considers desirable for securing the good conduct of the defendant.

Conditions -- firearms
(5) Before making an order under subsection (3), the provincial court judge shall consider whether it is desirable, in the interests of the safety of the defendant or of any other person, to include as a condition of the recognizance that the defendant be prohibited from possessing any firearm or any ammunition or explosive substance for any period of time specified in the recognizance and that the defendant surrender any firearms acquisition certificate that the defendant possesses, and where the provincial court judge decides that it is not desirable, in the interests of the safety of the defendant or any other person, for the defendant to possess any of those things, the provincial court judge may add the appropriate condition to the recognizance.

Conditions -- reporting and monitoring
(6) Before making an order under subsection (3), the provincial court judge shall consider whether it is desirable to include as a condition of the recognizance that the defendant report to the correctional authority of a province or to an appropriate police authority or to comply with a program of electronic monitoring, if such a program is available in the place in which the defendant resides, and where the provincial court judge decides that it is desirable for the defendant to so report or be monitored, the provincial court judge may add the appropriate condition to the recognizance.

Variance of conditions
(7) The provincial court judge may, on application of the Attorney General or of the defendant, vary the conditions fixed in the recognizance.

Other provisions to apply
(8) Subsections 810(4) and (5) apply, with such modifications as the circumstances require, to recognizances made under this section.


Some Commentary:


Related newspaper articles:


Parliamentary debate on Bill C-55 (from Hansard):
(after clicking one of the links, search for C-55)