Special Search Warrant Issues

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Computer Investigations

Searches That May Intrude on Solicitor-client Privilege

Journalist Records and Sources

Other Privileged Records

See also: Privilege

Confidential records kept by a First Nations Band persuant to a Band Counsel Resolution can be subject to a search warrant.[1]

When a peace officer is "applying for" and "executing search warrants should be alive to ensuring that solicitor-client privilege is protected to the greatest extent possible, whenever the circumstances so warrant".[2]

  1. R v Tomah, 1996 CanLII 4847 (NBCA), per curiam at p. 5
  2. R v Ciarniello, 2004 CanLII 23110 (ON SC), per Dawson J at para 77

Assistance Orders

Assistance order
487.02 Where an authorization is given under section 184.2 [consent wiretap], 184.3, 186 [wiretap] or 188, a warrant is issued under this Act or an order is made under subsection 492.2(2) [transmission data recorder warrant], the judge or justice who gives the authorization, issues the warrant or makes the order may order any person to provide assistance, where the person’s assistance may reasonably be considered to be required to give effect to the authorization, warrant or order.
1993, c. 40, s. 15; 1997, c. 18, s. 43.
[annotations added]


Section 490.02 can be used to compel employees of an office to locate and gather items and provide them to police.[1]

  1. R v National Post, 2004 CanLII 8048 (ON SC), per Benotto J, at para 32

Taking Pictures at the Scene

An officer may take photos at the scene of their investigation of what they believed to be a crime. Generally, they are entitled to record a scene that they are lawfully allowed to make observations of. [1] It also follows that no violation of s. 10(b) could be found where an officer takes a picture of an accused while at the scene.[2]

  1. R v Nguyen, 2013 BCSC 950 (CanLII), per Williams J at paras 109-114
    R v Ly, 2012 BCSC 504 (CanLII), per Barrow J at para 42
  2. Ly, ibid.
    Nguyen, supra

Motor Vehicle Searches

See also: Ancillary Powers Doctrine

Random Roadside Searches
Random roadside detentions and searches violate s. 8 right against unreasonable search and seizure. [1]

  1. R v Hufsky, [1988] 1 SCR 621, 1988 CanLII 72 (SCC), per Le Dain J
    R v Dedman, 1985 CanLII 41 (SCC), [1985] 2 SCR 2, per Le Dain J - not authorized at common law

Disclosing Evidence Seized Under a Warrant

Generally, law enforcement will be able to disclose information and evidence to other law enforcement agencies without the need of a judicial authorization.[1]

  1. Wakeling v United States of America, [2014] 3 SCR 549, 2014 SCC 72 (CanLII), per Moldaver J

Executing Search Warrants in Another Province

See also: Special Jurisdiction for Offences Over Water

Execution in another province
487.03 (1) If a warrant is issued under section 487.01 [general warrants], 487.05 [DNA samples] or 492.1 [tracking warrants] or subsection 492.2(1) [transmission data recorder warrant] in one province, a judge or justice, as the case may be, in another province may, on application, endorse the warrant if it may reasonably be expected that it is to be executed in the other province and that its execution would require entry into or on the property of any person, or would require that an order be made under section 487.02 with respect to any person, in that province.
(1.1) The endorsement may be made on the original of the warrant or on a copy of the warrant that is transmitted by any means of telecommunication and, once endorsed, the warrant has the same force in the other province as though it had originally been issued there.
(2) [Repealed, 2007, c. 22, s. 7]
1993, c. 40, s. 15; 1995, c. 27, s. 1; 2000, c. 10, s. 13; 2007, c. 22, s. 7; 2008, c. 18, s. 12.
[annotations added]


The execution of a wiretap warrant in a different province is governed by s. 188.1(2):

Execution in another province
(2) Where an authorization is given under section 184.2, 184.3, 186 or 188 in one province but it may reasonably be expected that it is to be executed in another province and the execution of the authorization would require entry into or upon the property of any person in the other province or would require that an order under section 487.02 be made with respect to any person in that other province, a judge in the other province may, on application, confirm the authorization and when the authorization is so confirmed, it shall have full force and effect in that other province as though it had originally been given in that other province.
1993, c. 40, s. 9.


Section 487 Warrants

See also: Section 487 Search Warrants

487 (1) ...
Endorsement of search warrant
(2) If the building, receptacle or place is in another territorial division, the justice may issue the warrant with any modifications that the circumstances require, and it may be executed in the other territorial division after it has been endorsed, in Form 28, by a justice who has jurisdiction in that territorial division. The endorsement may be made on the original of the warrant or on a copy of the warrant transmitted by any means of telecommunication.
Effect of endorsement
(4) An endorsement that is made in accordance with subsection (2) is sufficient authority to the peace officers or public officers to whom the warrant was originally directed, and to all peace officers within the jurisdiction of the justice by whom it is endorsed, to execute the warrant and to deal with the things seized in accordance with section 489.1 or as otherwise provided by law.
R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 487; R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 68; 1994, c. 44, s. 36; 1997, c. 18, s. 41, c. 23, s. 12; 1999, c. 5, s. 16; 2008, c. 18, s. 11.


"Territorial division" is defined in s. 2 of the Code.[1]

Exercise of Police Powers Outside of Canada

See also: Special Jurisdiction for Offences Over Water

Exercising powers of arrest, entry, etc.
477.3 (1) Every power of arrest, entry, search or seizure or other power that could be exercised in Canada in respect of an act or omission referred to in section 477.1 may be exercised, in the circumstances referred to in that section,

(a) at the place or on board the ship or marine installation or structure, within the meaning of section 2 of the Oceans Act, where the act or omission occurred; or
(b) where hot pursuit has been commenced, at any place on the seas, other than a place that is part of the territorial sea of any other state.

Arrest, search, seizure, etc.
(2) A justice or judge in any territorial division in Canada has jurisdiction to authorize an arrest, entry, search or seizure or an investigation or other ancillary matter related to an offence

(a) committed in or on the territorial sea of Canada or any area of the sea that forms part of the internal waters of Canada, or
(b) referred to in section 477.1

in the same manner as if the offence had been committed in that territorial division.

(3) Where an act or omission that is an offence by virtue only of section 477.1 is alleged to have been committed on board any ship registered outside Canada, the powers referred to in subsection (1) shall not be exercised outside Canada with respect to that act or omission without the consent of the Attorney General of Canada.
1990, c. 44, s. 15; 1996, c. 31, s. 70. 477.4 (1) and (2) [Repealed, 1996, c. 31, s. 71]