Episode 5 – Marilyn Sanford -Search of Electronic Devices at the Border

Marilyn Sanford joins Peter Edelmann and Steve Meurrens to discuss whether the Canada Border Services Agency can search people’s electronic devices.

In addition, we discussed the recent stay of proceedings in the Nuttall decision, a well publicised case in which two individuals were charged with attempting to blow up the BC legislature. Marilyn was counsel to Mr. Nuttall, and provided her insights on the case.

Finally, Peter and Steve touched on recent developments in Canadian immigration law, including the Owner Operator Labour Market Impact Assessment recruitment exemption, a puzzling case in which the Federal Court upheld an officer’s determination that people who extend their visitor status in Canada cannot complete short term courses during that extension without first leaving Canada, and the Supreme Court of Canada dismissing leave in the Torres case.

2 thoughts on “Episode 5 – Marilyn Sanford -Search of Electronic Devices at the Border

  1. Hi Peter

    You raised a very interesting question on why internet pronographic information crossing international borders should not be treated as the same way as cell phones at the border.
    the power to search and seize comes from the Customs Act. We need a POE to enforce the search power. In your example of an e-mail travelling from Seattle to Toronto although crosses the virtual international border, it is not a POE.(yet).

  2. Thanks for the comment – and sorry I didn’t notice the interaction with the site until now. My point addresses a much more fundamental aspect of the Crown’s argument in the cell phone cases. The position the Crown takes (and that has been accepted by some courts) is that data is a “good” under the Customs Act, which is the basis upon which the data on a phone can be searched at will – see for example R. v. Gibson, 2017 BCPC 237. If data is a “good” under the Customs Act, then there is little reason that “importing” such a good on a hard drive, USB stick or phone memory should be different than “importing” the same good over a telecommunications network. In fact, the *vast* majority of child pornography “imported” into Canada is not brought in on cell phones through a Port of Entry – so from a policy perspective, why the focus on searching those devices for the tiny amounts of child porn found on them while ignoring the massive flood of material being “imported” over the network?

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