On June 18, 2009, the Minister of Justice tabled a new statute,
Bill C-46, also known as the Investigative Powersfor
the 21st Century Act, proposing amendments to the Criminal
Code, the Mutual Legal Assistance inCriminal Matters
Act, and the Competition Act. The stated purpose of
the new Bill, which has received first reading in Parliament, is to
enhance the investigative powers of law enforcement agencies in
order that they may keep pace with modern communications
technologies. Amendments to the Criminal Code are intended
to give investigators better tools to perform complex
investigations into communications that have occurred over the
Internet and/or electronic communication networks. Among other
things, Bill C-46 will create a new concept of "transmission
data," and extend investigative powers currently restricted to
telephone data to all means of telecommunications. The Bill will
enhance the power of investigators to seek court orders to compel
the production of data with respect to the transmission of
communications, and the location of transactions and individuals.
Government investigators will also be given powers to seek orders
for the preservation of electronic evidence and warrants to help
track transactions and individuals.
Amendments to the Competition Act will allow for the
above-noted changes to the Criminal Code to become
effective to competition-law related investigations. Through the
proposed changes to the Criminal Code, the Commissioner of
Competition will be able to obtain orders for the preservation of
computer data as well as orders compelling the production of
documents which are related to the transmission of financial data
Under the changes to the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal
Matters Act, judges will soon be permitted to authorize the
Commissioner of Competition (or a representative) to execute
foreign search warrants (previously the preserve of peace
The Department of Justice views the amendments as enhancing the
Competition Bureau's capacity to deal with technology-related
challenges in obtaining evidence, highlighting in particular
challenges in obtaining such evidence in the context of enforcing
the deceptive marketing practices and false / misleading
representations provisions of the Competition Act.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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The HR Guidelines focus attention on an area that is not typically regarded as an antitrust "hot spot" but has been the subject of several high-profile proceedings in recent years in the United States.
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