section 25.1(3.1)

INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION

A competent authority cannot designate a public officer unless there is a non-police public authority that can review their conduct.

SECTION WORDING

25.1(3.1) A competent authority referred to in paragraph (a) or (b) of the definition of that term in subsection (1) may not designate any public officer under subsection (3) unless there is a public authority composed of persons who are not peace officers that may review the public officers conduct.

EXPLANATION

Section 25.1(3.1) of the Criminal Code of Canada aims to ensure accountability and oversight of public officers designated to exercise powers under the Code. This section specifies that a competent authority, which is defined in subsection (1) as either the Attorney General or a minister responsible for administering the Code, cannot designate a public officer to exercise powers under subsection (3) unless there is a public authority composed of individuals who are not peace officers, such as civilians, to review the public officer's conduct. The purpose of this requirement is to create an additional layer of oversight and accountability for public officers who are empowered to carry out activities that may limit an individual's rights or freedoms. By involving individuals who are not peace officers, who may be more objective and impartial, the public is reassured that the exercise of powers under the Code is subject to impartial scrutiny and oversight. This not only promotes adherence to the principles of fairness, reasonableness, and proportionality underpinning the Code but also enhances public trust in law enforcement. Furthermore, this provision ensures that there is a balance between the need for effective law enforcement and the protection of citizens' rights. By providing for external oversight, the potential abuse of power and violations of civil liberties by public officers are minimized. Therefore, the requirement for an external reviewing authority for public officers designated under subsection (3) is an essential provision in the Criminal Code of Canada that recognizes the importance of transparency, accountability, and oversight in the exercise of police powers.

COMMENTARY

Section 25.1(3.1) of the Criminal Code of Canada is an essential legal provision that determines the circumstances under which a competent authority referred to in paragraph (a) or (b) of the definition of that term in subsection (1) may designate a public officer. The subsection stipulates that before designating any public officer under subsection (3), there must be a public authority composed of persons who are not peace officers that can review the public officer's conduct. This provision is critical in ensuring that public officers, whose responsibilities often touch on citizens' lives and rights, are held accountable for their actions and that their work is transparent. The requirement for a public authority to review the conduct of public officers reflects the importance of accountability and transparency in law enforcement and public service. Public officers have a duty to serve the public and protect individual rights and freedoms. Therefore, their conduct should be subject to oversight and review to prevent abuse of power, misconduct, corruption, or any other form of malfeasance that may erode public trust and confidence in law enforcement institutions. The subsection's requirement for a public authority composed of persons who are not peace officers is also crucial in ensuring impartiality and fairness in the review process. The absence of peace officers in the review body helps to prevent conflicts of interest, bias, or any other factors that may undermine the review's objectivity and independence. Moreover, the public nature of the review body ensures that the public has access to information and can hold accountable law enforcement and other public officers for their conduct. This provision also supports the rule of law and ensures that public officers' powers and responsibilities are exercised within the confines of the law. By subjecting public officers' work to review and oversight, it helps to ensure that the officers work in compliance with the law, adhere to the principles of natural justice, respect citizens' rights and freedoms, and are accountable to the public they serve. In conclusion, section 25.1(3.1) of the Criminal Code of Canada is an essential legal provision that promotes accountability, transparency, and fairness in law enforcement and public service. The requirement for a public authority composed of persons who are not peace officers to review the conduct of public officers underscores the importance of impartiality and independence in the review process. Therefore, law enforcement and other public officers should work closely with the public and review bodies to ensure that their work meets the highest standards of professionalism and integrity, promotes public safety and security, and respects the rights and freedoms of all citizens.

STRATEGY

Section 25.1(3.1) of the Criminal Code of Canada is an important provision that outlines the conditions and restrictions that must be met before a public officer can be designated by a competent authority in the context of national security operations. The provision requires that a public authority composed of persons who are not peace officers should be established to review the conduct of the designated public officer. This provision raises several strategic considerations, which must be taken into account by competent authorities, public authorities, and designated public officers, to ensure that they can comply with the requirements of the law without compromising national security interests. One of the primary strategic considerations when dealing with this provision is to establish a credible, independent, and impartial public authority that can review the conduct of the designated public officer effectively. The public authority should be composed of persons who are competent, experienced, and well-versed in matters of national security, human rights, and legal principles. The authority should be structured in a manner that allows for transparency, accountability, and fairness in the review process. This requires that the public authority should be adequately resourced, staffed, and trained to carry out its functions effectively, and that its decisions should be subject to judicial review. Another strategic consideration is to ensure that the designated public officer understands their roles, responsibilities, and obligations under the law. The designated public officer should be fully aware of the limitations and constraints imposed on them in the course of their duties, and they should have access to legal advice and guidance on matters that are relevant to their work. The designated public officer should also be trained in matters of ethics, human rights, and legal principles, to ensure that they can carry out their duties with professionalism, integrity, and respect for the rule of law. One of the key strategies for complying with this provision is to establish effective mechanisms for information-sharing and cooperation between the competent authority, the public authority, and the designated public officer. The competent authority should provide the public authority with sufficient information and evidence to enable them to carry out their review function effectively. The designated public officer should also cooperate with the public authority and provide them with access to information and documents that are relevant to their review. This requires that the competent authority should establish clear protocols and procedures for sharing information and cooperating with the public authority. Another useful strategy is to establish effective communication channels between the competent authority, the public authority, and the designated public officer. Regular communication, feedback, and reporting can help to ensure that all parties are aware of their roles and responsibilities under the law, and that any issues or concerns can be raised and addressed in a timely and appropriate manner. Furthermore, effective communication can help to promote transparency, accountability, and trust between the parties, which is essential for maintaining public confidence and support for national security operations. In conclusion, section 25.1(3.1) of the Criminal Code of Canada imposes important conditions and restrictions on the designation of public officers for national security operations. Competent authorities, public authorities, and designated public officers must take into account several strategic considerations when dealing with this provision, including the establishment of credible public authorities, the training and awareness of designated public officers, effective information-sharing and cooperation, and regular communication and reporting. By implementing these strategies, competent authorities can ensure that they can comply with the law, uphold national security interests, and protect human rights and the rule of law.