section 56.1(2)

INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION

Section 56.1(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada outlines exceptions to the prohibition of possessing or trafficking in fraudulent identity documents.

SECTION WORDING

56.1(2) For greater certainty, subsection (1) does not prohibit an act that is carried out (a) in good faith, in the ordinary course of the persons business or employment or in the exercise of the duties of their office; (b) for genealogical purposes; (c) with the consent of the person to whom the identity document relates or of a person authorized to consent on behalf of the person to whom the document relates, or of the entity that issued the identity document; or (d) for a legitimate purpose related to the administration of justice.

EXPLANATION

Section 56.1(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada provides for exceptions to the offense of identity theft under section 56.1(1). The subsection lists a few scenarios in which a person may carry out an act that would otherwise be considered an offense under section 56.1(1). Firstly, a person may carry out an act in good faith, in the ordinary course of their business or employment, or in the exercise of their duties as an office bearer. For example, a bank may collect personal information from its clients in order to identify them and verify their identity. Such an act is necessary for the bank's business operations and is carried out in good faith. Secondly, a person may obtain an identity document for genealogical purposes. This could include obtaining birth, marriage or death certificates for family history research. Thirdly, an act may be carried out with the consent of the person to whom the identity document relates, or of a person authorized to give consent on their behalf, or of the entity that issued the identity document. This means that if a person consents to the use of their identity document for a particular purpose, such as for employment verification, then it would not be considered an offense. Finally, an act may be carried out for a legitimate purpose related to the administration of justice. This could include obtaining a person's identity document as part of an investigation or trial in court. In summary, Section 56.1(2) provides for certain exceptions that allow for the use of another person's identity document in certain circumstances. Such an act would not be considered an offense under Section 56.1(1) if carried out in accordance with one of the exceptions listed in subsection (2).

COMMENTARY

Section 56.1(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada provides important exceptions to the general rule against the possession, use, or trafficking of another person's identity documents. It recognizes the fact that there are legitimate and necessary reasons why people might need to collect, use, or disclose such documents, and that these reasons should not be criminalized as long as they are done in good faith and with appropriate safeguards. One of the key exceptions in this section is the good faith" exception. This means that if a person can show that they honestly believed that their actions were legal and were carried out in the course of their usual business or employment, then they may not be charged with an offence. This is an important safeguard because it recognizes that mistakes can happen despite best intentions, and that people should not be held criminally responsible for such mistakes. The exception for genealogical purposes" is also noteworthy, as it allows individuals to obtain and use identity documents for historical or family research purposes. This recognizes the importance of preserving and understanding one's own family history, cultural heritage, and personal identity. It also helps to ensure that vital records are not lost or destroyed, and that important genealogical data is accessible to those who need it. In addition, the section provides for a consent" exception, which allows for the lawful collection, possession or use of another person's identity documents if that person has given their express consent, or if consent has been given on their behalf by an authorized representative or issuing authority. This safeguard is important, as it helps to protect individuals from unauthorized use of their personal information, and ensures that consent is properly obtained before any collection or use takes place. Finally, the section permits the possession, use or trafficking of identity documents for legitimate purposes related to the administration of justice." This provision recognizes that law enforcement and other investigative agencies may sometimes require access to such documents in order to fulfill their duties, and that this access may be necessary to prevent or investigate criminal activities. At the same time, this exception is narrowly defined in order to prevent abuses of power or infringements on individual rights. Overall, Section 56.1(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada strikes a reasonable balance between the need to protect personal identity information and the need for legitimate and legal uses of such information. It recognizes that some actions may be justified under certain circumstances, while ensuring that appropriate safeguards are in place to prevent misuse or abuse of identity documents. As such, it represents an important contribution to the legal landscape surrounding personal privacy and security in Canada.

STRATEGY

Section 56.1(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada provides exceptions to the prohibited acts associated with identity documents. These exceptions play a critical role in allowing businesses, organizations, and government agencies to carry out their activities without infringing on the rights of individuals. As such, strategic considerations should be made when dealing with this section of the Criminal Code of Canada to ensure that individuals' rights are not violated, and the exceptions provided are used judiciously. One strategic consideration when dealing with section 56.1(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada is ensuring that individuals' consent is obtained before their identity documents are used in any way. Subsection 56.1(2)(c) explicitly notes that using an identity document is not prohibited if the person to whom it belongs or a person authorized to consent on their behalf has expressly agreed to its use. Before collecting or using any person's identity document, businesses, organizations, or government agencies should seek consent in writing or verbally to avoid any legal issues. Another strategic consideration is ensuring that any use of identity documents is legitimate and necessary. Subsection 56.1(2)(a) provides an exception for using an identity document in good faith in the ordinary course of business, employment, or duties of office. This exception is relatively broad, and there is the potential for exploitation if not carefully employed. As such, businesses, organizations, and government agencies should ensure that the use of identity documents is necessary and proportionate to the task at hand to avoid misusing this exception. Further, a well-defined purpose and documentation of why an identity document is necessary should be maintained to avoid any confusion or misinterpretation. This documentation evidence should be maintained to demonstrate that identity documents were used in full compliance with the Criminal Code provisions. Additionally, subsection 56.1(2)(b) allows using an identity document for genealogical purposes. This exception is narrow but requires careful consideration as such purposes cannot be used for unauthorized or other unintended purposes. Finally, subsection 56.1(2)(d) provides an exception for using an identity document for legitimate purposes related to the administration of justice. This could include background checks or identification proof before court appearances, etc. Businesses, organizations, or government agencies must seek legal guidelines and advice before using such documents for administering justice, as any misuse could result in charges against the user. In conclusion, strategic considerations should be implemented when dealing with section 56.1(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada. Obtaining individuals' consent, ensuring the legitimacy and necessity of such usage, maintaining proper documentation, and legal advice are essential to avoid any legal issues. Businesses, organizations, or government agencies should develop strategies and guidelines to ensure that this section is safely and accurately employed.

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