section 83.31(3)

INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION

This section requires an annual report on the use of section 83.3, including the number of arrests made without warrant and the period of detention or release of arrested persons.

SECTION WORDING

83.31(3) The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness shall prepare and cause to be laid before Parliament and the Minister responsible for policing in every province shall publish or otherwise make available to the public an annual report for the previous year on the operation of section 83.3 that includes (a) the number of arrests without warrant that were made under subsection 83.3(4) and the period of the arrested persons detention in custody in each case; and (b) the number of cases in which a person was arrested without warrant under subsection 83.3(4) and was released (i) by a peace officer under paragraph 83.3(5)(b), or (ii) by a judge under paragraph 83.3(7)(a).

EXPLANATION

Section 83.31(3) of the Criminal Code of Canada requires two things to happen in relation to the operation of section 83.3, which pertains to preventative arrests in certain circumstances. Firstly, the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness must prepare an annual report on the previous year's operation of section 83.3. This report must be laid before Parliament, thereby ensuring that the use of preventative arrests is subject to meaningful governmental oversight and public scrutiny. Secondly, the Minister responsible for policing in every province must publish an annual report for the previous year on the operation of section 83.3. This report should be made available to the public, so that citizens are also aware of how and when preventative arrests are being used. The information included in these reports is specific and important. The reports must include the number of arrests that were made without a warrant under subsection 83.3(4) of the Criminal Code, as well as the period of detention in custody for each arrested person. This ensures that both Parliament and the public are aware of how frequently preventative arrests are being used and how long arrested persons are being detained in custody. Additionally, the reports must include the number of cases in which a person was arrested without warrant under subsection 83.3(4) and was subsequently released either by a police officer or a judge. This information is critical in determining whether preventative arrests are being used appropriately and lawfully, and whether arrested persons are being treated fairly. Overall, section 83.31(3) ensures that the use of preventative arrests under section 83.3 of the Criminal Code is transparent and accountable. By requiring annual reports to be produced and made available to Parliament and the public, this section helps to maintain public trust in the use of preventative arrests to prevent terrorism and other serious crimes.

COMMENTARY

Section 83.31(3) of the Criminal Code of Canada outlines the annual report that must be prepared and laid before Parliament and made available to the public regarding the operation of section 83.3. This is a critical section of the Code that pertains to the arrest and detainment of individuals suspected of terrorism-related offenses. The report must include the number of arrests made without warrant under subsection 83.3(4), as well as the period of detention for each case. It is essential to keep track of these statistics to ensure that individuals' rights are being upheld, and that law enforcement agencies are not abusing their power to detain suspects without a justifiable reason. Additionally, the report must also include the number of cases in which a person was arrested without warrant under subsection 83.3(4) and subsequently released by either a peace officer under paragraph 83.3(5)(b) or by a judge under paragraph 83.3(7)(a). This information is also valuable as it showcases the fact that individuals' right to due process is being respected, and that decisions to release are made in a fair and unbiased manner. It is important to note that the report's release to the public ensures transparency and accountability. These reports provide insight into how often the police are using these exceptional powers and how they are being used. Moreover, it highlights that law enforcement agencies are following legal procedures correctly and that individuals' rights are being protected. However, one limitation of this section is its broadness and vague definition of what constitutes a terrorism-related offense. The offense can range from directing terrorism activities to simple participation in these activities. This lack of specificity can lead to the overuse of the powers granted under subsection 83.3(4) to detain suspects. As the report's annual compilation is not exhaustive, it fails to highlight detainments or misuse of powers not defined under this subsection, limiting accountability. Overall, the publication of an annual report is critical to monitor and evaluate law enforcement agencies' utilization of exceptional powers granted under the Criminal Code of Canada. This is essential to ensure accountability, transparency and to maintain public confidence in these agencies. While the annual reports are a step in the right direction, more needs to be done to ensure the protection of individuals' rights under the law.

STRATEGY

Section 83.31(3) of the Criminal Code of Canada is an important provision that mandates the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to prepare an annual report on the operation of section 83.3, which deals with the preventive arrest and detention of individuals suspected of terrorist activities. This provision is crucial in ensuring transparency and accountability in the use of preventive arrest and detention powers, which have significant implications for human rights and civil liberties. However, there are strategic considerations that law enforcement agencies and policymakers must take into account when dealing with this provision. One of the key strategic considerations is how to balance the need for effective counterterrorism measures with the protection of human rights and civil liberties. The use of preventive arrest and detention powers can be justified on grounds of preventing imminent terrorist attacks or other serious violent acts. However, these powers can also be abused and used to target individuals based on their religious beliefs, political affiliations, or other non-violent activities. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that the use of these powers is strictly limited to cases where there is credible evidence of a real and imminent threat to public safety. Another strategic consideration is how to ensure that the annual report is accurate, transparent, and comprehensive. The report should provide detailed information on the number of arrests made under section 83.3 of the Criminal Code, the duration of detention in custody, and the reasons for release or continuation of detention. The report should also include information on the demographics of the arrested persons, such as their race, ethnicity, religion, and immigration status. This information is crucial in assessing whether the use of preventive arrest and detention powers is being applied fairly and without discrimination. A third strategic consideration is how to ensure that law enforcement agencies and policymakers are aware of the limitations of preventive arrest and detention powers. There is a risk that these powers may provide a false sense of security and divert resources from other more effective counterterrorism measures, such as intelligence gathering, community engagement, and addressing the root causes of radicalization. Therefore, it is important to ensure that law enforcement agencies are aware of the limitations of these powers and that policymakers are willing to invest in more comprehensive and holistic approaches to countering terrorism. In terms of strategies that could be employed to deal with this provision, the following are some examples: 1. Developing clear guidelines and protocols for the use of preventive arrest and detention powers, including criteria for the use of these powers, the duration of detention, and the procedures for release or continuation of detention. 2. Ensuring that law enforcement officers receive adequate training on the use of preventive arrest and detention powers, including training on human rights and civil liberties. 3. Conducting regular audits or reviews of the use of preventive arrest and detention powers to ensure that they are being used in accordance with the law and policy, and that they are not being abused. 4. Engaging with community groups and civil society organizations to build trust and cooperation in countering terrorism and preventing radicalization. 5. Investing in more comprehensive and holistic approaches to countering terrorism, such as intelligence gathering, community engagement, and addressing the root causes of radicalization. In conclusion, section 83.31(3) of the Criminal Code of Canada is an important provision that mandates transparency and accountability in the use of preventive arrest and detention powers. However, there are strategic considerations that law enforcement agencies and policymakers must take into account when dealing with this provision. By developing clear guidelines and protocols, ensuring adequate training and conducting regular audits, engaging with communities and investing in more comprehensive approaches, law enforcement agencies and policymakers can ensure that preventive arrest and detention powers are used effectively and in accordance with human rights and civil liberties.