Court and Tribunal Openness

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation v. Canada (Border Services Agency), 2021 NSPC 48

On April 28, 2020 the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, filed a “Notice of Application” in the Provincial Court, seeking to lift a Sealing Order over ITO’s. In particular, it suggested, a general warrant had been issued pursuant to Section 487.01 of the Criminal Code permitting the search of property belonging to Gabriel Wortman with an associated Sealing Order.

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) became a Respondent represented by the Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC), as representing Her Majesty the Queen in the Right of Canada.

In their respective written submissions on the “merits”, counsel addressed the applicability of the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights to the unsealing applications.

“The Court finds that the cumulative effect of the debates on the Bill in the House of Commons, the language of the U.N. Declaration and the language of the Act itself, is that the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights applies to this unsealing application and such rights are both procedural and substantive.

…if at trial, the CBVR applies and all protections are afforded, it would be too late if an unsealing application was ordered without the protections afforded victims having been applied.

There is nothing within the CVBR, when coupled with s. 487.3(2)(iv) and the debate leading up to its adoption, that could in any way be interpreted as not being applicable to the unsealing of judicial authorizations.”

The court concludes the CVBR applies to unsealing ITOs.