section 477.1

INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION

This section establishes that persons committing certain acts or omissions related to Canadas exclusive economic zone or continental shelf, on board a Canadian ship, in hot pursuit, or by a Canadian citizen outside of any state are deemed to have committed the same offences in Canada.

SECTION WORDING

477.1 Every person who commits an act or omission that, if it occurred in Canada, would be an offence under a federal law, within the meaning of section 2 of the Oceans Act, is deemed to have committed that act or omission in Canada if it is an act or omission (a) in the exclusive economic zone of Canada that (i) is committed by a person who is in the exclusive economic zone of Canada in connection with exploring or exploiting, conserving or managing the natural resources, whether living or non-living, of the exclusive economic zone of Canada, and (ii) is committed by or in relation to a person who is a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident within the meaning of subsection 2(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act; (b) that is committed in a place in or above the continental shelf of Canada and that is an offence in that place by virtue of section 20 of the Oceans Act; (c) that is committed outside Canada on board or by means of a ship registered or licensed, or for which an identification number has been issued, pursuant to any Act of Parliament; (d) that is committed outside Canada in the course of hot pursuit; or (e) that is committed outside the territory of any state by a Canadian citizen.

EXPLANATION

Section 477.1 of the Criminal Code of Canada specifies provisions for the expansion of Canadian law enforcement and prosecution beyond its territorial borders. This means that a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada who commits a crime abroad can still be charged under the Criminal Code of Canada for that offense. The section outlines the various circumstances that allow for the extraterritorial application of Canadian laws. For example, if a person commits a crime in the exclusive economic zone of Canada while exploring or exploiting the natural resources of that zone, they can be charged under Canadian law. Likewise, if a Canadian citizen or permanent resident commits an offense outside Canada, they can still be charged if the crime is outside the territory of any state. This section also covers the jurisdiction of Canadian law in certain areas beyond Canadian territory, such as in the continental shelf, a region underneath the ocean that extends from the shore. Any criminal activity committed there can still be prosecuted under Canadian law. Overall, Section 477.1 is designed to ensure that Canadians are held accountable for their actions regardless of their physical location or the jurisdiction of another country. It allows for the prosecution and punishment of individuals who commit offenses against Canadian law, even if they are outside the country.

COMMENTARY

Section 477.1 of the Criminal Code of Canada outlines the circumstances under which a person may be deemed to have committed an offence in Canada, even if the act or omission occurred outside of Canada's territorial borders. The section is particularly important in the context of Canada's oceans and maritime resources, as it expands the scope of Canadian law enforcement to include activities that occur within the exclusive economic zone or on the continental shelf. The exclusive economic zone (EEZ) is an area extending 200 nautical miles from a country's shoreline, over which the country has special rights to explore and exploit natural resources. Canada's EEZ is the largest in the world, covering over 5.5 million square kilometres of ocean. Section 477.1(a) of the Criminal Code specifies that acts or omissions committed within Canada's EEZ in connection with natural resource exploration, exploitation, conservation, or management will be deemed to have occurred in Canada if the person is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. This provision is important for ensuring that those who violate Canadian law within the EEZ are held accountable, regardless of their nationality or place of residence. Section 477.1(b) applies to activities that occur on the continental shelf of Canada, which is defined as the seabed and subsoil of the submarine areas adjacent to the country's coast, beyond its territorial waters. This provision allows Canada to assert jurisdiction over offences committed on the continental shelf, even if they may not be illegal in the country where they occurred. The offence must fall under section 20 of the Oceans Act, which prohibits unauthorized activities on the continental shelf, including exploration, drilling, and the discharge of pollutants. Section 477.1(c) applies to offences committed outside of Canada but on board a ship registered or licensed under Canadian law. This provision is important for ensuring that ships flying the Canadian flag are held accountable for illegal activities that occur outside of Canadian waters. It is also applicable to ships that have been issued an identification number under Canadian law. Section 477.1(d) allows Canadian law enforcement to pursue and apprehend individuals suspected of committing an offence outside of Canadian territory if the offence is deemed to be serious enough to warrant hot pursuit. This provision is important for ensuring that perpetrators of serious crimes, such as drug trafficking or piracy, can be brought to justice even if they try to flee across international borders. Finally, section 477.1(e) applies to Canadian citizens who commit offences outside of the territory of any state. This provision is important for ensuring that Canadian citizens cannot use their citizenship as a shield against prosecution for crimes committed in other countries. In summary, section 477.1 of the Criminal Code of Canada is an important tool for enforcing Canadian law in the context of the country's oceans and maritime resources. By expanding the scope of Canadian jurisdiction to include activities that occur in the EEZ, on the continental shelf, or on board Canadian ships, the section helps to ensure that those who violate Canadian law are held accountable, regardless of where they commit their crimes.

STRATEGY

Section 477.1 of the Criminal Code of Canada is a provision that deals with extra-territorial jurisdiction. The section stipulates that any act or omission that would be an offence under federal law if it had occurred in Canada, but was committed abroad, can be deemed to have been committed in Canada under certain conditions. One of the strategic considerations when dealing with this section is the need to establish jurisdiction. This means that the Canadian government must establish that the act or omission in question falls within the purview of federal law and that it meets one of the criteria outlined in the section. This could pose a challenge, especially if the act or omission was committed in a jurisdiction that does not have the same legal standards as Canada. Another strategic consideration is the need to balance competing interests. On the one hand, the government has a duty to enforce its laws and protect its citizens, even when they are abroad. On the other hand, it must also respect the sovereignty of other states and ensure that its actions comply with international law. This could be particularly challenging if the act or omission in question was committed in a jurisdiction that has a strained relationship with Canada. To address these challenges, several strategies could be employed. One strategy is to establish partnerships with other countries to facilitate the exchange of information and cooperation in enforcing extra-territorial jurisdiction. This could involve signing mutual legal assistance treaties or forming joint task forces to investigate and prosecute transnational crimes. Another strategy is to increase the use of technology and digital forensics to gather evidence and build cases against suspects who are abroad. This could involve tracking financial transactions, monitoring social media activity, or using satellite imagery to gather evidence of environmental crimes. A third strategy is to engage in outreach and education to raise awareness of Canada's extra-territorial jurisdiction and encourage compliance with Canadian laws. This could involve working with non-governmental organizations, civil society groups, and other stakeholders to build a culture of respect for the rule of law and promote greater accountability for transnational crimes. In conclusion, Section 477.1 of the Criminal Code of Canada provides an important tool for enforcing Canadian law abroad, but it presents complex legal and strategic challenges. Addressing these challenges requires a multifaceted approach that leverages partnerships, technology, and outreach to ensure that Canada's extra-territorial jurisdiction is respected and upheld.