Ministry of the Attorney General Français

2017 Annual Report On the Use of Electronic Surveillance

As Required Under Section 195 of the Criminal Code of Canada

Prepared by the Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario


Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Section 195 of the Criminal Code
  3. Overview to Part VI of the Criminal Code
  4. Video-Warrants: Section 487.01 of the Criminal Code
  5. Statistics
  6. Assessment of the Utility of Intercepting Private Communications

I. Introduction

This report is prepared pursuant to the provisions of s. 195 of the Criminal Code of Canada (“Code ”). The report sets out statistical data in respect of four forms of interception:

  1. interception pursuant to authorizations issued by a judge of the Superior Court of Justice pursuant to s. 186 of the Code for the interception of private communications;
  2. interception pursuant to warrants issued by a judge of the Superior Court of Justice pursuant to s. 487.01(1) of the Code, authorizing peace officers to observe by means of a television camera or other similar electronic device any person engaged in activity in circumstances in which the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy;[1]
  3. interception pursuant to authorizations issued by a specially appointed judge of the Superior Court of Justice, upon application of a designated peace officer, pursuant to s. 188 of the Code, for the interception of private communications in urgent circumstances; and
  4. interceptions made in exceptional circumstances without prior judicial authorization under s. 184.4 of the Code.

Consistent with the requirements of s. 195 of the Code, this report does not address the frequency of interceptions pursuant to ss. 184.1 (Interception to Prevent Bodily Harm) or 184.2 (Interception with Consent).

Section 195 of the Criminal Code

Section 195 of the Code is set out in full below.

Annual report

195. (1) The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness shall, as soon as possible after the end of each year, prepare a report relating to

  1. authorizations for which that Minister and agents specially designated in writing by that Minister for the purposes of section 185 applied and the interceptions made under those authorizations in the immediately preceding year;
  2. authorizations given under section 188 for which peace officers specially designated by that Minister for the purposes of that section applied and the interceptions made under those authorizations in the immediately preceding year; and
  3. interceptions made under section 184.4 in the immediately preceding year if the interceptions relate to an offence for which proceedings may be commenced by the Attorney General of Canada.

Information respecting authorizations – section 185 and section 188

(2) The report shall, in relation to the authorizations and interceptions referred to in paragraphs (1)(a) and (b), set out

  1. the number of applications made for authorizations;
  2. the number of applications made for renewal of authorizations;
  3. the number of applications referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b) that were granted, the number of those applications that were refused and the number of applications referred to in paragraph (a) that were granted subject to terms and conditions;
  4. the number of persons identified in an authorization against whom proceedings were commenced at the instance of the Attorney General of Canada in respect of
    1. an offence specified in the authorization,
    2. an offence other than an offence specified in the authorization but in respect of which an authorization may be given, and
    3. an offence in respect of which an authorization may not be given;
  5. the number of persons not identified in an authorization against whom proceedings were commenced at the instance of the Attorney General of Canada in respect of
    1. an offence specified in such an authorization,
    2. an offence other than an offence specified in such an authorization but in respect of which an authorization may be given, and
    3. an offence other than an offence specified in such an authorization and for which no such authorization may be given,

and whose commission or alleged commission of the offence became known to a peace officer as a result of an interception of a private communication under an authorization;

  1. the average period for which authorizations were given and for which renewals thereof were granted;
  2. the number of authorizations that, by virtue of one or more renewals thereof, were valid for more than sixty days, for more than one hundred and twenty days, for more than one hundred and eighty days and for more than two hundred and forty days;
  3. the number of notifications given pursuant to section 196;
  4. the offences in respect of which authorizations were given, specifying the number of authorizations given in respect of each of those offences;
  5. a description of all classes of places specified in authorizations and the number of authorizations in which each of those classes of places was specified;
  6. a general description of the methods of interception involved in each interception under an authorization;
  7. the number of persons arrested whose identity became known to a peace officer as a result of an interception under an authorization;
  8. the number of criminal proceedings commenced at the instance of the Attorney General of Canada in which private communications obtained by interception under an authorization were adduced in evidence and the number of those proceedings that resulted in a conviction; and
  9. the number of criminal investigations in which information obtained as a result of the interception of a private communication under an authorization was used although the private communication was not adduced in evidence in criminal proceedings commenced at the instance of the Attorney General of Canada as a result of the investigations.

Information respecting interceptions — section 184.4

(2.1) The report shall, in relation to the interceptions referred to in paragraph (1)(c), set out

  1. the number of interceptions made;
  2. the number of parties to each intercepted private communication against whom proceedings were commenced in respect of the offence that the police officer sought to prevent in intercepting the private communication or in respect of any other offence that was detected as a result of the interception;
  3. the number of persons who were not parties to an intercepted private communication but whose commission or alleged commission of an offence became known to a police officer as a result of the interception of a private communication, and against whom proceedings were commenced in respect of the offence that the police officer sought to prevent in intercepting the private communication or in respect of any other offence that was detected as a result of the interception;
  4. the number of notifications given under section 196.1;
  5. the offences in respect of which interceptions were made and any other offences for which proceedings were commenced as a result of an interception, as well as the number of interceptions made with respect to each offence;
  6. a general description of the methods of interception used for each interception;
  7. the number of persons arrested whose identity became known to a police officer as a result of an interception;
  8. the number of criminal proceedings commenced in which private communications obtained by interception were adduced in evidence and the number of those proceedings that resulted in a conviction;
  9. the number of criminal investigations in which information obtained as a result of the interception of a private communication was used even though the private communication was not adduced in evidence in criminal proceedings commenced as a result of the investigations; and
  10. the duration of each interception and the aggregate duration of all the interceptions related to the investigation of the offence that the police officer sought to prevent in intercepting the private communication.

Other information

(3) The report shall, in addition to the information referred to in subsections (2) and (2.1), set out

  1. the number of prosecutions commenced against officers or servants of Her Majesty in right of Canada or members of the Canadian Forces for offences under section 184 or 193; and
  2. a general assessment of the importance of interception of private communications for the investigation, detection, prevention and prosecution of offences in Canada.

Report to be laid before Parliament

(4) The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness shall cause a copy of each report prepared by him under subsection (1) to be laid before Parliament forthwith on completion thereof, or if Parliament is not then sitting, on any of the first fifteen days next thereafter that Parliament is sitting.

Report by Attorneys General

(5) The Attorney General of each province shall, as soon as possible after the end of each year, prepare and publish or otherwise make available to the public a report relating to

  1. authorizations for which the Attorney General and agents specially designated in writing by the Attorney General for the purposes of section 185 applied and to the interceptions made under those authorizations in the immediately preceding year;
  2. authorizations given under section 188 for which peace officers specially designated by the Attorney General for the purposes of that section applied and to the interceptions made under those authorizations in the immediately preceding year; and
  3. interceptions made under section 184.4 in the immediately preceding year, if the interceptions relate to an offence not referred to in paragraph (1)(c).

The report must set out, with any modifications that the circumstances require, the information described in subsections (2) to (3).

III. Overview to Part VI of the Criminal Code

Part VI of the Criminal Code, “Invasion of Privacy”, represents an almost entirely self-contained statutory scheme that governs the use of electronic surveillance in criminal matters. It sets out the means by which judicial authorizations for electronic surveillance may be obtained and the circumstances in which this investigative technique may be used without resort to judicial authorization. Part VI also includes: a definitional section;[2] offence provisions related to interception;[3] reference to procedural matters, such as the sealing of application materials;[4] notice provisions;[5] and disclosure provisions.[6]

The term “private communication” is defined in s. 183 of the Criminal Code as follows:

"private communication" means any oral communication, or any telecommunication, that is made by an originator who is in Canada or is intended by the originator to be received by a person who is in Canada and that is made under circumstances in which it is reasonable for the originator to expect that it will not be intercepted by any person other than the person intended by the originator to receive it, and includes any radio-based telephone communication that is treated electronically or otherwise for the purpose of preventing intelligible reception by any person other than the person intended by the originator to receive it.

The police must seek judicial authorization before intercepting private communications, except in specified cases of exigent circumstances (governed by s. 184.4 of the Code) or to prevent bodily harm when the intended recipient or originator consents (governed by s. 184.1 of the Code). Interception without authorization is described below, followed by a description of three different types of judicial authorization for interception: consent authorizations (s. 184.2 of the Code), emergency authorizations (s. 188 of the Code), and third party authorizations (s. 186 of the Code).

Interception in Exigent Circumstances and to Prevent Bodily Harm

In exceptional circumstances, police officers may need to intercept private communications prior to obtaining judicial authorization. There are two forms of interception without prior judicial authorization. Section 184.1 of the Code allows for interception to prevent bodily harm. Interception under this section is permitted when the originator or recipient of a private communication is consenting, the state agent has reasonable grounds to believe that the consenting person is at risk of bodily harm, and the purpose of the interception is to prevent bodily harm. Private communications intercepted under s. 184.1 are not admissible as evidence except for the purposes of proceedings in which actual, attempted or threatened bodily harm is alleged, including proceedings in respect of an application for an authorization to intercept communications, or in respect of a search warrant or arrest warrant. Interceptions under s. 184.1 are not tracked in the annual report.

The second form of interception without prior authorization is “immediate interception” pursuant to s. 184.4. Under s. 184.4, a police officer may intercept private communications without authorization if he or she has reasonable grounds to believe that the urgency of the situation is such that an authorization could not be obtained with reasonable diligence, the interception is immediately necessary to prevent serious harm to any person or property, and either the originator or the recipient of the intercepted communications is the person who would commit the offence causing harm or is the intended victim.

The Supreme Court of Canada considered the constitutionality of s. 184.4 in the case of R. v. Tse [2012] 1 S.C.R. 531. In response to the constitutional shortcomings identified by the Supreme Court of Canada in Tse, Parliament amended the Criminal Code to require that persons intercepted under s. 184.4 be notified in accordance with s. 196.1, and that intercepts under s. 184.4 be included in the annual report of both the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and the Attorneys General of the provinces.

Interception With the Consent of One of the Parties to the Communication

The first type of application falls under s. 184.2 of the Code. A peace officer may apply to a judge of either the provincial or superior court for authorization to intercept private communications where at least one of the people involved in the communication consents to its interception. An affidavit must be sworn in support of the application and a number of statutory criteria, as set out in s. 184.2, met. Section 195 does not require the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness or the Attorneys General of the provinces to report on consent authorizations.

Emergency Authorizations

The second type of application falls under s. 188 of the Code. It is an application that is brought in urgent circumstances. This type of application to intercept private communications may only be made by a peace officer who is specially designated in writing, by name or otherwise, by the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness (in the case of offences that may be instituted by the Government of Canada) or the Attorney General of a province (in the case of offences that may be prosecuted by a provincial Attorney General, typically criminal offences). Moreover, the application must be made to a specially designated judge, appointed from time-to-time by the Chief Justice. In Ontario, the “Chief Justice” is defined under s. 188(4)(a) as the “Chief Justice of the Ontario Court”.

An authorization under s. 188 is available where the preconditions for a regular s. 186 authorization exist, but because of the urgency of the situation, an authorization could not be obtained, with reasonable diligence, pursuant to s. 186 of the Code. This type of authorization may only issue for a period up to thirty-six hours.

Pursuant to s. 195(1)(b), information about these authorizations must be contained in the annual report of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and the Attorneys General of the provinces.

Applications for Third-Party Authorizations

The final type of application under Part VI of the Code is governed by s. 185. Authorizations granted in response to these applications issue pursuant to s. 186 of the Code. Section 185 allows an application to be made, in the case of Ontario, to a judge of the Superior Court of Justice. The application may only be brought by the Attorney General of the province or the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness or an agent specially designated in accordance with s. 185(1)(a) or (b) of the Code. In Ontario, a number of Crown Counsel are designated in writing by the Attorney General or Deputy Attorney General to bring s. 185 applications.

Agents may bring an application for an authorization to intercept private communications where the offence under investigation is a s. 183 designated offence. The applicant is determined by who has prosecutorial authority over the s. 183 offence. In Ontario, the Attorney General has prosecutorial authority in relation to all criminal matters. As a result, most s. 185 applications relating to criminal offences contained in s. 183 are the subject of provincial applications. The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness (or an agent on the Minister’s behalf) may bring applications in respect of offences over which the Attorney General of Canada has prosecutorial authority. Sometimes applications for authorizations include offences that involve both federal and provincial matters and, thereby, engage the authority of both governments. In these situations, dual applications for a single authorization are brought by agents of both the federal and provincial governments.

An application for an authorization under s. 186 must be accompanied by an affidavit, sworn by a peace officer or public officer. It must depose to a number of factors set out in s. 185(1) (c-h). These factors include, but are not limited to, reference to the facts relied on to justify the belief that an authorization should be given, the types of communications sought to be intercepted, the names, addresses and occupations of the people whose private communications there are reasonable grounds to believe may assist in the investigation of the offence, the period of time for which the authorization is requested, and whether “investigative necessity” has been met. In respect of this latter requirement, the affiant must depose to the following:

  1. 185(1)(h) - whether other investigative procedures have been tried and have failed or why it appears they are unlikely to succeed or that the urgency of the matter is such that it would be impractical to carry out the investigation of the offence using only other investigative procedures.

Note that pursuant to s. 185(1.1), the investigative necessity requirement need not be met in relation to criminal organization and terrorism offences.

Before granting the application, s. 186 requires that the judge be satisfied of the following:

186(1) An authorization under this section may be given if the judge to whom the application is made is satisfied

  1. that it would be in the best interests of the administration of justice to do so; and
  2. that other investigative procedures have been tried and have failed, other investigative procedures are unlikely to succeed or the urgency of the matter is such that it would be impractical to carry out the investigation of the offence using only other investigative procedures.

Like s. 185(1.1), by virtue of s. 186(1.1), investigations into criminal organizations and terrorism offences are exempt from the investigative necessity requirement built into s. 186(1)(b) of the Code.

Sections 186(2) and (3) refer to the special circumstances surrounding the interception of private communications that may be the subject of solicitor-client privilege. Section 186(4) sets out a number of statutory requirements as it relates to the contents of the authorization. Importantly, s. 186(4)(e) allows an authorization to be valid for a period up to, but not exceeding, 60 days. Section 186.1 exempts authorizations from the 60 day rule where the subject of the investigation is a criminal organization or terrorism offence. In these circumstances, an authorization may continue for a period of up to one year.

IV. Video-Warrants: Section 487.01 of the Criminal Code

The jurisdiction for a video-warrant is found in Part XV of the Criminal Code. Section 487.01 provides for a “general warrant” to allow a peace officer to “use any device or investigative technique or procedure or do anything described in the warrant that would, if not authorized, constitute an unreasonable search or seizure in respect of a person or a person’s property …”.[7] The general warrant provisions include specific reference to video surveillance, and import restrictions and guidelines on the use of video surveillance from Part VI of the Code as set out below:

Section 487.01: Information for General Warrant

Video surveillance
(4) A warrant issued under subsection (1) that authorizes a peace officer to observe, by means of a television camera or other similar electronic device, any person who is engaged in activity in circumstances in which the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy shall contain such terms and conditions as the judge considers advisable to ensure that the privacy of the person or of any other person is respected as much as possible.

Other provisions to apply
(5) The definition "offence" in section 183 and sections 183.1, 184.2, 184.3 and 185 to 188.2, subsection 189(5), and sections 190, 193 and 194 to 196 apply, with such modifications as the circumstances require, to a warrant referred to in subsection (4) as though references in those provisions to interceptions of private communications were read as references to observations by peace officers by means of television cameras or similar electronic devices of activities in circumstances in which persons had reasonable expectations of privacy.

While the jurisdiction to grant a video-warrant is found in Part XV of the Code, the video-warrant provisions operate, for all intents and purposes, as if they were located in Part VI. Significantly, s. 487.01(5) adopts ss. 184.2, 185, 186, 188 and 195. This means that all one-party consent (s. 184.2), third-party (ss. 185-186) and emergency (s. 188) applications for video-warrants are governed by the specific statutory criteria contained within the Part VI provisions. In the result, all video-warrants granted for electronic surveillance, where there is no consenting party, must be reported upon annually, subject to the criteria contained in s. 195 of the Code.

V. Statistics

1. Overview

a) Total Authorizations

From January 1 to December 31, 2017, 35 authorizations and/or video-warrants were issued from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice pursuant to ss. 186, 188, and/or 487.01 of the Code.[8] The following table places these 35 authorizations/warrants in the context of previous years:

Table 1:

Year Number of Authorizations Issued
2000 69
2001 58
2002 60
2003 57
2004 64
2005 43
2006 38
2007 43
2008 48
2009 37
2010 28
2011 43
2012 57
2013 54
2014 40
2015 34
2016 43
2017 35

b) Video Authorizations

From January 1 to December 31, 2017, there was 1 independent video-warrant. There were 8 video-warrants included with an authorization pursuant to s. 186 of the Code.

c) Emergency Interception – 184.4

From January 1 to December 31, 2017, there was 1 interception conducted pursuant to s. 184.4 (exceptional circumstances).

d) Investigations

The 35 authorizations/video warrants granted in 2017 relate to 21 separate police investigations. Of those 21 police investigations, 8 involved more than one authorization/warrant, as set out in the table below:[9]

Table 2:

Number of Authorizations/Warrants obtained per investigation Number of Investigations Total Number of Authorizations/Warrants
1 12 12
2 4 8
3 5 15
4 0 0
Total 21 35

e) Renewals and Expansions

Often, successive authorizations in respect of the same general matter under investigation are granted on different terms than the original authorization. Such subsequent authorizations typically vary from previous ones as to the named people, the places of interception, the manner in which interceptions are permitted to occur, and/or the named offences. These changes correspond to the progress of the investigation as new information comes to light and as the focus of the inquiry expands or is narrowed. Where the police seek a subsequent authorization that reflects the changes in the investigation, incorporating, among other things, new parties, locations, terms and conditions, they require a new application under s. 185 and new authorization under s. 186. While s. 186(6)-(7) allows for an application to renew an authorization in the same form, these applications are rarely made, as the required parameters of an authorization will almost inevitably evolve over time.

For the purposes of this annual report, where multiple authorizations/warrants have been granted in respect of the same investigation, (even where they are not “renewals” under s. 186(6)-(7)) the relevant statistical data relating to the following areas identified in s. 195(2) has not been “double counted”:

s. 195(2)(d): the number of persons identified in an authorization against whom proceedings were commenced

s. 195(2)(e): the number of persons not identified in an authorization against whom proceedings were commenced

s. 195(2)(l): the number of persons arrested whose identity became known to a peace officer as a result of an interception under an authorization.

s. 195(2)(h): the number of notifications given pursuant to section 196

f) Limitations to Annual Statistics

Given the length of time it takes to commence and conclude criminal proceedings, the full results of wiretap investigations will rarely be understood within a single calendar year. For instance, pursuant to s. 195(2)(m) of the Code, there is a need to report upon the number of criminal proceedings commenced at the instance of the Attorney General of Ontario in which private communications obtained by interception under an authorization were adduced in evidence and the number of convictions that resulted from such proceedings. It is exceptionally rare that these facts would crystallize in a single calendar year.

Where a wiretap project involves more than one authorization and the authorizations bridge two consecutive years, it may be that the existence of an authorization will be reported upon in the year it was issued, but other statistics related to that authorization will be reported upon in previous or subsequent annual reports.

Where a delay of notification order is in place, the existence of an authorization is reported upon for the year it was issued but the aggregate number of notifications may include no notifications in respect of the authorization for that year.

2. Information Respecting Authorizations (s. 185 and s. 188)

Table 1:

Pursuant to Criminal Code Type of Application Number of Applications
s. 195(2)(a) Applications made for authorizations. 35
s. 195(2)(b) Applications made for renewal of authorizations[10]. 0
s. 195(2)(c) Applications made for authorizations and renewals that were granted. 35
s. 195(2)(c) Applications made for authorizations and renewals that were refused. [11] 0
s. 195(2)(c) Applications made for authorizations and renewals that were granted subject to terms and conditions. 35

Table 2:

Pursuant to Criminal Code Category of Offence Number of Persons Against Whom Proceedings were Commenced (identified in authorization)
s. 195(2)(d)(i) Offence specified in authorization 77
s. 195(2)(d)(ii) Offence for which an authorization may be given but not specified in the authorization 83
s. 195(2)(d)(iii) Offence for which no authorization may be given 19

Table 3:

Pursuant to Criminal Code Category of Offence Number of Persons Against Whom Proceedings were Commenced (not identified in authorization)
s. 195(2)(e)(i) Offence specified in authorization 13
s. 195(2)(e)(ii) Offence for which an authorization may be given but not specified in the authorization 56
s. 195(2)(e)(iii) Offence for which no authorization may be given 4

Table 4:

Pursuant to Criminal Code The average period of days for which authorizations were given
s. 195(2)(f) 57.33

Table 5: Pursuant to s. 195(2)(g) of the Code

Authorizations that by virtue of one or more renewals or expansions thereof were valid for[12] Number of authorizations
More than 60 days 6
More than 120 days 1
More than 180 days 1
More than 240 days 0

Table 6:

Pursuant to Criminal Code Persons given notification to pursuant to s. 196 [13]
195(2)(h) 187

Table 7:

Criminal Code provision for Offence Offences Specified in Authorizations Number of Authorizations
s. 83.18

Participating in activity of terrorist group

3
s. 83.181 Leaving Canada to participate in any activity of a terrorist group 3
s. 122 Breach of trust 3
s. 202(1) Book-making 3
s. 232 Manslaughter 1
s. 235

Murder

15
s. 244(1) Discharging Firearm with intent 1
s. 244.2 Discharging Firearm – Recklessness 1
s. 268 Aggravated Assault 4
s. 279(1) Kidnapping

2
s. 279.1 Hostage taking 1
s. 344 Robbery 3
s. 346 Extortion 1
s. 348 Breaking and entering 2
s. 467.11 Participation in criminal organization 4
s. 467.12 Commission of offence for criminal organization 4
s. 467.13 Instructing commission of offence for criminal organization 4
s. 465 (1) Conspiracy 5
s. 463 (d) Attempt to commit 3

Table 8: Pursuant to s. 195(2)(j)[14] of the Code

Classes of places specified in authorizations Number of authorizations in which this class of place was specified
Residences 28
Vehicles 23
Hotels 0
Commercial Establishments 3
Correctional Institutions 9
Other 2

Table 9: Pursuant to s. 195(2)(k) of the Code

Classes of places specified in authorizations Number of authorizations in which this class of place was specified
Telephone 50
Mobile phone 403
Telecommunications 27
Room Probes 74
Body packs 4
Other 7

Table 10:

Pursuant to Criminal Code The number of persons arrested whose identity became known to a peace officer as a result of an interception under an authorization
s. 195(2)(l) 40

Table 11: Pursuant to s. 195(2)(m) of the Code which requires information relating to:

The number of criminal proceedings[15] commenced at the instance of the Attorney General of Canada in which private communications obtained by interception under an authorization were adduced in evidence and the number of those proceedings that resulted in a conviction[16]

Number of criminal proceedings
Evidence adduced 29
Conviction 14

Table 12: Pursuant to s. 195(2)(n) of the Code which requires information relating to:

The number of criminal investigations in which information obtained as a result of the interception of a private communication under an authorization was used although the private communication was not adduced in evidence in criminal proceedings commenced at the instance of the Attorney General of Canada as a result of the investigations.

Number of criminal proceedings
Information used but evidence not adduced 3

3. Interceptions in Exigent Circumstances (Section 184.4)

Table 1: Section 195(2.1)(a) of the Code requires reporting on the number of “interceptions” made pursuant to s. 184.4. In order to give a more meaningful description of the use of the 184.4 power, the number of interceptions is reported here in two ways: the number of times 184.4 was invoked, and the number of total individual intercepts (which includes all text-messages, unanswered phone calls, voice message calls, etc). The individual interceptions are further broken down under s. 195(2.1)(j) by duration.

Number of times s. 184.4 was invoked 1
Total number of interceptions made 7 0

Table 2: Pursuant to s. 195(2.1)(b) of the Code

The number of parties to each intercepted private communication against whom proceedings were commenced in respect of the offence that the police officer sought to prevent in intercepting the private communication or in respect of any other offence that was detected as a result of the interception. 1

Table 3: Pursuant to s. 195(2.1)(c) of the Code

The number of persons who were not parties to an intercepted private communication but whose commission or alleged commission of an offence became known to a police officer as a result of the interception of a private communication, and against whom proceedings were commenced in respect of the offence that the police officer sought to prevent in intercepting the private communication or in respect of any other offence that was detected as a result of the interception. 0

Table 4: Pursuant to s. 195(2.1)(d) of the Code

The number of notifications given under section 196.1; 1

Table 5: s. 195(2.1)(e) of the Code requires information relating to the offences in respect of which interceptions were made and any other offences for which proceedings were commenced as a result of an interception, as well as the number of interceptions made with respect to each offence. [17]

Number of interceptions made Criminal Code Provision for offence Offence
70 s. 372 (1) Harassing communications, convey false message

Table 6: Pursuant to s. 195(2.1)(f) of the Code

Classes of places Number of 184.4 invocations in which this class of place was intercepted
Telephone 0
Mobile phone 1
Telecommunications 0
Room Probes 0
Body packs 0
Other 0

Table 7: Pursuant to s. 195(2.1)(g) of the Code:

The number of persons arrested whose identity became known to a police officer as a result of an interception. 0

Table 8: Pursuant to s. 195(2.1)(h) of the Code which requires information relating to

The number of criminal proceedings commenced in which private communications obtained by interception were adduced in evidence and the number of those proceedings that resulted in a conviction.

Number of criminal proceedings
Evidence adduced 1
Conviction 0

Table 9: Pursuant to s. 195(2.1)(i) of the Code which requires information relating to

The number of criminal investigations in which information obtained as a result of the interception of a private communication was used even though the private communication was not adduced in evidence in criminal proceedings commenced as a result of the investigations

Number of criminal proceedings
Information used but evidence not adduced 0

Table 10: Pursuant to s. 195(2.1)(j) of the Code

Aggregate duration of 02:30:03

Session Duration

1

0:00:00

2

0:08:39

3

0:00:00

4

0:00:00

5

0:00:00

6

0:00:00

7

0:00:00

8

0:00:00

9

0:00:31

10

0:00:00

11

0:00:00

12

0:00:00

13

0:00:00

14

0:00:00

15

0:11:39

16

0:00:00

17

0:00:00

18

0:01:19

19

0:01:16

20

0:00:00

21

0:00:00

22

0:00:00

23

0:00:00

24

0:00:00

25

0:00:00

26

0:00:00

27

0:00:34

28

0:00:26

29

0:00:00

30

0:00:00

31

0:00:00

32

0:00:00

33

0:00:00

34

0:00:00

35

0:00:00

36

0:00:00

37

0:00:00

38

0:00:00

39

0:00:00

40

0:00:00

41

0:00:00

42

0:00:00

43

0:00:00

44

0:00:59

45

0:00:25

46

0:00:00

47

0:00:32

48

0:00:00

49

0:00:00

50

0:00:00

51

0:00:00

52

0:53:10

53

0:00:00

54

0:00:00

55

0:00:00

56

0:00:00

57

0:00:00

58

0:01:14

59

0:00:00

60

0:00:00

61

0:00:00

62

0:00:00

63

0:00:00

64

0:00:00

65

1:09:19

66

0:00:00

67

0:00:00

68

0:00:00

69

0:00:00

70

0:00:00

4. Offences against s. 184 or s. 193 by Officers or Agents of the Crown and Canadian Forces Members

Pursuant to Criminal Code The number of prosecutions commenced against officers or servants of Her Majesty in right of Canada or members of the Canadian Forces for offences under section 184 or 193
s. 195(3)(a) 2

VI. Assessment of the Utility of Intercepting Private Communications

Pursuant to s. 195(3)(b) of the Criminal Code,the annual report must provide a “general assessment of the importance of the interception of private communications for the investigation, detection, prevention and prosecution of offences in Canada”. The interception of private communications is one of the most valuable investigative tools available to law enforcement agencies. This investigative technique is available in only the most serious investigations where detailed statutory criteria have been met.

Appropriately authorized interception of private communications can lead to the identification of those who present serious safety risks to the public, and produce evidence used to effectively prosecute such individuals. In addition, they provide significant information that can be used to further an investigation, or expose further criminal activity, even if interceptions are not directly used as evidence in a prosecution. Interception of private communications continues to assist in preventing crime and saving lives.

The interception of private communications provided valuable assistance to law enforcement in the year 2017. As can be seen in Table 7, interception of private communications was used most commonly in investigations involving murder, personal violence, firearms, organized crime and suspected terrorist activity. In a number of investigations, new criminal offences were detected as a result of intercepted communications and new charges were laid. Interception of communications also resulted in police seizure of firearms and drugs in Ontario in 2017, making communities safer. In many cases, authorized interception of private communications produced valuable evidence that is being used in ongoing prosecutions for serious offences in this province. One large scale wiretap project has, to date, resulted in convictions for 38 different accused people. Interception of private communications remains a strictly controlled and immensely valuable tool in the investigation, detection, prevention and prosecution of offences in Ontario.

Ministry of the Attorney General
Crown Law Office – Criminal
Toronto, Ontario


[1] By virtue of sections 487.01(5) and 195 of the Criminal Code, reporting requirements only relate to video-warrants that do not involve consenting parties.

[2] Section 183 of the Code.

[3] Sections 184 and 191 of the Code.

[4] Section 187 of the Code.

[5] Sections 189 and 196 of the Code.

[6] Sections 193 and 193.1 of the Code.

[7] Section 487.01(1) of the Code.

[8] Note that video-warrants are most frequently sought in conjunction with an authorization under s. 186 of the Code. Where this occurs, depending on jurisdictional practice, an omnibus order is granted. In this report, where a video-warrant is included as part of an omnibus order that grants an authorization under s. 186 of the Code, it is counted as a single authorization for purposes of the total number of authorizations for the year.

[9] The annual report requires tracking by calendar year. This table contains the number of authorizations issued in 2017 for each investigation. If an investigation carried into 2018 or commenced in 2016, there may be additional authorizations attached to an investigation which are accounted for in the appropriate annual report.

[10] Renewals are defined as authorizations that have no changes and are extended in exactly the same form for a further period of time.

[11] It should be noted that, for purposes of the annual report, a refusal is considered to occur where an application for an authorization is made to a judge, is refused, and is never granted. This is to be distinguished from a situation where an application is made to a judge, refused on the basis that the judge may not be satisfied in relation to an identified matter(s) and it is later remedied, at which point the application is granted.

[12] These statistics are counted by adding the total number of days wiretap authorization(s) were valid in relation to a single investigation. It includes renewals and subsequent orders made on the same project.

[13] Some people cannot be notified because their whereabouts are unknown. People may be identified in an authorization when their proper names or addresses are not known, or may move before the notices are issued. Notification may be delayed by a judge for up to three years. This annual report does not track notifications on authorizations granted in prior years. If an authorization has both federal and provincial agents, one party completes all of the notifications. Notifications completed by the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness are not tracked here.

[14] The manner of reporting this statistic changed in 2016. The 2017 annual report lists the number of authorizations that contained reference to the listed categories. Prior to 2016, the number reported was the total number of times a particular class of place was named across all authorizations.

[15] To be clear for purposes of this report, a “proceeding” is defined as a trial and/or a preliminary inquiry. Any given proceeding may include more than one accused.

[16] As previously noted, this number only includes convictions entered in the same year as the authorization was issued, or before the annual report for that year is compiled, which is a rare occurrence. Further, where charges result in a guilty plea with no evidence adduced, the conviction will not be included in this total. The number reported is the number of proceedings resulting in convictions, not the number of accused or convictions. This year there were 14 proceedings where intercepts were adduced that had resulted in convictions for 38 offenders by the time of compiling this report. Many trials are still proceeding.

[17] This statistic is difficult to report. All intercepts are made “with respect to” the offences being investigated.