May 03, 2017

President Herman Van Ommen, QC, has sent a letter to the federal government on behalf of the Law Society expressing concern about searches of electronic devices at the Canadian border. The Customs Act allows Canada Border Services Agency officers to demand passwords and search electronic devices. However, a CBSA operational document does not specifically advise agents that access to privileged information should be excluded from such requests. In his letter President Van Ommen urges federal ministers to provide assurances that CBSA agents will not seek to obtain passwords from lawyers to their electronic devices, and that if such a request is made and a lawyer refuses it border agents will not confiscate the electronic device or otherwise detain the lawyer. The letter is available here.