Lawful Access Take 2: Bills C-50, C-51 & C-52 (Winter 2010)

Towards the end of 2010, the government introduced three complementary bills into the House of Commons with the aim of increasing the investigative powers of police:

  • Bill C-50, Improving Access to Investigative Tools for Serious Crimes Act;
  • Bill C-51, Investigative Powers for the 21st Century Act; and
  • Bill C-52, Investigating and Preventing Criminal Electronic Communications Act.

With provisions reducing judicial scrutiny of surveillance activities and granting the police the power to obtain subscriber information from internet service providers (ISPs) without a warrant, the bills raised many privacy alarm bells. For example, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and the provincial privacy commissioners collectively sent a letter to Public Safety, one of the bill's sponsoring federal departments, expressing reservations about the proposed legislation.

However, when Parliament dissolved under a non-confidence motion in March 2010, none of the bills had yet made their way through Parliamentary debate. The bills died on the order paper.