Environmental law enforcement justification provisions: 2011 annual report

2011 

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 the Environment, must make public an annual report on the use of specific portions of the law enforcement justification provisions by Enforcement Officers employed by Environment Canada.

In particular, the Minister of the Environment 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 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 justification acts or omissions, which would otherwise constitute offences, that were committed in these instances.

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. 
  • The nature of the justified acts or omissions, which would otherwise constitute offences, that were committed by the designated public officer.

From January 1, 2011, to December 31, 2011, the Department of the Environment reports that the senior official made one temporary designation.

The nature of the conduct being investigated was the smuggling of endangered wildlife.

The nature of the act was the unlawful export of a controlled species under the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act(WAPPRITTA).

Authorizations for Specific Acts or 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 officials: 
    • authorized a public officer to commit a justified act or omission that would otherwise constitute an offence and that would likely result in the 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, 2011, to December 31, 2011, the Department of the Environment reports no authorizations were granted for directing another person to commit a justified act or omission that would otherwise constitute an offence.

From January 1, 2011, to December 31, 2011, the Department of the Environment 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.

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 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, 2011, to December 31, 2011, the Department of the Environment reports that no public officers proceeded without a senior official’s written authorization in these circumstances.

The Honourable Peter Kent
Minister of the Environment 

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