Steven Harroun to the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics


Ottawa, Ontario
February 8, 2024

Steven Harroun, Chief Compliance and Enforcement Officer
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)

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Good afternoon and thank you for inviting us to appear before your Committee.

Before I begin my remarks, I would like to acknowledge that we are gathered on the traditional unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishnaabeg people.

I am joined today by the CRTC’s General Counsel, Anthony McIntyre.

The CRTC is an independent, quasi-judicial tribunal that operates at arm’s length from the government. We hold public hearings on telecommunications and broadcasting matters, and we make decisions based on the public record.

In addition, the CRTC is part of a larger federal government effort to protect Canadians from spam, malware, phishing, and other electronic threats. The CRTC is one of three agencies, along with the Competition Bureau and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, that work to promote and enforce compliance with Canada’s anti-spam legislation, or CASL. The CRTC has a small team of less than 20 people that carries out this important mandate.

CASL authorizes our investigators to request warrants from the courts to examine computers and other electronic devices when necessary.

As part of those court-authorized activities, CRTC staff can use digital forensic tools during investigations. How we use these tools is very limited in scope and is done in keeping with the law.

In the very limited circumstances in which we have used these tools, we have obtained judicial authorization through the courts in the form of a warrant. 

Since 2022, the CRTC has only used these tools in two CASL investigations. In these cases, a warrant was obtained, and the CRTC uncovered evidence related to potential CASL violations.

We take the use of digital forensics tools very seriously. We follow strict legislative and judicial parameters when using these tools.

Thank you for allowing us to explain our limited use of these tools to help protect Canadians from harmful electronic threats.

We look forward to your questions.


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