INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION
83.31(4) The annual report shall not contain any information the disclosure of which would (a) compromise or hinder an ongoing investigation of an offence under an Act of Parliament; (b) endanger the life or safety of any person; (c) prejudice a legal proceeding; or (d) otherwise be contrary to the public interest. 2001, c. 41, s. 4; 2005, c. 10, s. 34; 2013, c. 9, s. 11.
Section 83.31(4) of the Criminal Code of Canada is an important provision that sets out the limitations on the information that can be disclosed in an annual report concerning terrorism-related activities. The section outlines four specific circumstances in which information should be withheld from public disclosure. These include the need to protect an ongoing investigation, to safeguard the life or safety of individuals, to avoid prejudicing a legal proceeding, or to ensure that the disclosure is not contrary to the public interest. The annual report is a critical document that outlines the Canadian government's efforts to combat terrorism and prevent individuals and groups from engaging in terrorist activities. As such, it plays an essential role in providing citizens with information about the government's ongoing efforts in this area. However, this information cannot be provided at the cost of compromising ongoing investigations, endangering innocent lives, or interfering with legal proceedings. The provisions outlined in section 83.31(4) reflect the delicate balance between transparency and national security. It recognizes the importance of providing citizens with access to information about the government's operations while also acknowledging that certain information must be kept confidential for compelling reasons. This section ensures that the Annual Report serves its intended purpose while also being careful not to put Canada's national security or safety at risk. In summary, section 83.31(4) of the Criminal Code of Canada is a crucial provision that sets out the parameters for the disclosure of information in the Annual Report concerning terrorism-related activities. Its importance lies in ensuring that the government strikes the right balance between transparency and secrecy when it comes to national security.
Section 83.31(4) of Canada's Criminal Code is an important aspect of Canada's counter-terrorism efforts. This section pertains to the annual report that is submitted by the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness to the Parliament. This report is an important instrument in ensuring greater transparency regarding the activities of the government agencies tasked with counter-extremism and counter-terrorism efforts. Given the sensitive nature of counter-terrorism and counter-extremism activities, it is essential that the annual report not compromise any ongoing investigations. This is because the premature disclosure of such information can alert and enable those involved in these activities to take preventive measures that would hinder ongoing investigations. Similarly, the disclosure of such information could endanger the lives of individuals involved in the investigations. Furthermore, Section 83.31(4) stipulates that the dissemination of information that could prejudice a legal proceeding is prohibited. This ensures that the legal process remains fair and just and that all parties involved in the proceedings have equal access to information, without any undue advantage to any one party. Another aspect of Section 83.31(4) is the prohibition of dissemination of information that is contrary to public interest. This serves as a catch-all provision that encompasses any and all information that is considered harmful to the public interest, and therefore should not be part of the annual report. This could include information that could cause panic among the public or harm the reputation of the government and its agencies. Section 83.31(4) also highlights the importance of maintaining the privacy of individuals who may be involved in counter-extremism and counter-terrorism activities. This is crucial because the disclosure of such information could lead to the stigmatization of individuals who may not have committed any offences. Similarly, the indiscriminate leaking of information by agencies and individuals undermines the trust of the public in the government's ability to protect their privacy and safety. Overall, Section 83.31(4) of the Criminal Code of Canada strikes a balance between transparency and the need to protect ongoing investigations and safeguard public interest. It serves as a reminder that while an informed public is crucial to effective governance, it must come within the framework of existing laws and regulations. By ensuring greater transparency, the government can enhance public trust, while ensuring the safety and security of its citizens.
When dealing with section 83.31(4) of the Criminal Code of Canada, organizations and individuals must be strategic to ensure they comply with the law while achieving their goals. The section prohibits the disclosure of any information that compromises or hinders an ongoing investigation of an offence under an Act of Parliament; endangers the life or safety of any person; prejudices a legal proceeding; or is contrary to the public interest. Here are some strategic considerations and strategies that can be employed: 1. Understanding the scope of the section: Understanding the scope of this section is critical in ensuring that sensitive information is not disclosed. Organizations and individuals must identify what information falls within the limit of this section and ensure that such information is not shared. 2. Risk assessment: It is crucial to assess any potential risks that could arise from the disclosure of information. Organizations and individuals must conduct a risk assessment to determine whether it is worth disclosing particular information or not. 3. Confidentiality agreements: Where sharing information is necessary, organizations can use confidentiality agreements to ensure that the information is not disseminated beyond the intended recipient. Confidentiality agreements should specify the type of information that can be shared, who can receive the information, and the purpose for which the information can be used. 4. Segregate information: Organizations may consider segregating information and sharing only non-sensitive information. This will minimize the risk of disclosure of sensitive information which may be contrary to the public interest. 5. Prioritize privacy law compliance: Organizations must prioritize compliance with privacy laws such as The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) and any other relevant laws that govern the collection, use, and disclosure of personal information. 6. Establish a process for disclosure: Organizations may consider developing a process for disclosure. Such a process should outline the steps to be taken when sharing information, who should authorize the disclosure, and what type of information can be shared. 7. Consult with legal experts: Organizations can seek legal advice on how best to navigate this provision. Legal experts can provide guidance on the type of information that can be shared, strategies for disclosure, and risks that might arise from sharing certain information. 8. Training: Organizations can train their employees on the importance of secrecy and confidentiality when dealing with sensitive information. Training employees on the relevant laws and procedures will reduce the risk of unintentional disclosure of sensitive information. In conclusion, compliance with section 83.31(4) of the Criminal Code of Canada law is essential to protecting the integrity of investigations and the public interest. By employing the right strategies and considerations, organizations and individuals can avoid the risk of disclosing information that could compromise ongoing investigations and endanger people's lives. These strategies should aim at ensuring compliance with the relevant laws, assessing risks, and sharing only information that is necessary and safe to share.