Liberals silent on whether Senate amendments raising standard for device searches at border will be reversed

Bill S-7, a government bill first introduced in the Senate, amends the Customs Act to clarify circumstances under which border officers can search personal digital devices

Article content

OTTAWA – The Senate has passed an amendment to Bill S-7 that raises the standard under which officers can search cellphones at the border, as the bill now makes its way to the House of Commons.

Advertisement 2

Article content

It will now be up to the Liberal government to either accept the Senate’s changes or reverse them during the legislative process in the House. A spokesperson for Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino did not directly answer when asked what the government plans are.

Sen. Paula Simons said in an interview that the Senate sent a “very strong, united message about our grave concerns about the reasonable general concern standard. It is now up to the government to consider that. ”

Bill S-7, a government bill first introduced in the Senate, amends the Customs Act to clarify the circumstances under which border officers can search personal digital devices like cellphones and laptops.

When it was introduced, the legislation created a new standard of “reasonable general concern” for device searches at the border. However, legal experts pointed out at the committee that “reasonable general concern” is a standard unknown in Canadian law, and warned it would face constitutional challenges.

Advertisement 3

Article content

They also said it was unclear what it means. David Fraser, who appeared on behalf of the Canadian Bar Association, told senators “your guess is as good as mine, but it seems pretty close to whether the officer’s spidey sense is tingling,” while Lex Gill, a research fellow at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, said it amounts to a “fishing expedition.”

Civil liberties groups told senators that the standard was too low, and should be raised to the same one that covers physical mail: “reasonable grounds to suspect.”

The Senate national security and defense committee did just that on June 14, voting in favor of an amendment to change the standard. The Senate as a whole accepted the amendment and the bill passed third reading in the Senate on Monday evening. It must now go through the legislative process in the House of Commons, where it could be amended again.

Advertisement 4

Article content

Simons said the senators on the committee “did very thorough work” and then came to a “considered, non-partisan decision.”

In the chamber, not all Senators were in favor of the amendment, but “the Senate as a whole concurred. That carries some weight, or at least it ought to carry some weight, ”Simons said.

On Monday, Sen. Marc Gold, the representative of the government in the Senate, was among those who argued in favor of the original reasonable general general concern standard. “The government does not worry that the ‘reasonable grounds to suspect’ threshold may unduly limit the ability of border officers to interdict illegal activity and detect contraband, including material depicting the exploitation of children,” he said.

Advertisement 5

Article content

Gold also pointed out the bill puts in place a standard where there is currently none. The government introduced Bill S-7 after courts found that having no threshold is unconstitutional.

Asked whether the Liberal government plans to change the standard back to reasonable general concern, Mendicino’s director of communications, Alexander Cohen, pointed to an earlier statement from the minister’s office.

“Regardless of the standard that is ultimately enacted, Section 8 of the Charter will continue to provide the necessary oversight required for all searches,” the statement said. “We intend to work with our colleagues across the Senate and the House to ensure that the threshold legislated is appropriate and practically useful in terms of detecting contraband.”

Section 8 protects Canadians against an unreasonable search and seizure.



Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications — you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

Original Article reposted fromSource link

Disclaimer: The website autopost contents from credible news sources and we are not the original creators. If we Have added some content that belongs to you or your organization by mistake, We are sorry for that. We apologize for that and assure you that this won’t be repeated in future. If you are the rightful owner of the content used in our Website, please mail us with your Name, Organization Name, Contact Details, Copyright infringing URL and Copyright Proof (URL or Legal Document) aT spacksdigital @

I assure you that, I will remove the infringing content Within 48 Hours.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

World News

'My Hero Academia' Manga On A 2-Week Hiatus; Chapter 359 Gets New Release Date

Deku is facing certain unknown entities flying towards him, while Great Explosion Murder God Dynamight has unveiled his new ultimate move. With two cliffhangers in two chapters, “My Hero Academia” manga is going on a two-week break, leaving fans wondering what kind of an action-packed chapter is in store. “My Hero Academia” Chapter 359 is […]

Read More
World News

Kia Forte GT 2022 : les mots comptent

Kia Forte GT 2022 Quarter cylinders turbocompresses of 1.6 liters (201 ch à 6 000 tr / min, 195 lb-pi à 1 500 tr / min) Transmission by double embryoge by sept rapports, traction avant 27 villes / 35 autoroutes / 30 combinées (cote EPA, MPG) 8.7 ville / 6.6 autoroute / 7.8 combiné. (Cote […]

Read More
World News

Southern California juvenile white sharks are 'hanging out' near beaches but not concerned about humans: study

NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles! Juvenile white sharks are “hanging out” near beaches in Southern California but are not necessarily interested in humans, says the researcher of a study published in June. A group of researchers from California State University, Long Beach and the University of Minnesota published the study in June, […]

Read More