Minister Lametti ‘Open to’ Rewriting Mail Rules to Give Extra Powers to Postal Inspectors

The federal authorities is contemplating permitting Canada Submit inspectors to open suspicious letters, in accordance with Legal professional Common David Lametti.

At a assembly of the Standing Senate Committee on Authorized and Constitutional Affairs (LCJC) on Might 18, Lametti mentioned he would assessment modifications in federal legislation, which presently states beneath the Canada Submit Company Act that postal inspectors can solely open bigger packages suspected of carrying contraband, however not letter mail, as reported by Blacklock’s Reporter on Might 23.

“It is crucial not solely to legislation enforcement but additionally vital to the safety of human rights and rights to privateness beneath the constitution,” mentioned Lametti. “It’s a little trickier than a package deal so it wants extra time.”

Police chiefs have been asking for authorized authority to grab mail in transit since at the very least 2015. On the time, civil liberties advocates warned that the method could be ripe for issues.

Cara Zwibel of the Canadian Civil Liberties Affiliation instructed the CBC in August 2015 that somebody “who hasn’t but acquired it [an intercepted package containing illicit goods] and who truly could not know that it’s coming, or could not have requested for it,” or could not comprehend it accommodates unlawful objects, might face felony penalties.

“We ought to be cautious about eroding the sort of protections that we put round what will get despatched by means of the mail—and what will get despatched electronically,” she mentioned.

The present rules prohibit the inspection of letters weighing 30 grams or beneath. Police additionally can’t intercept any letter, package deal, or mail of any type if it’s nonetheless in transit. To intercept and seize an merchandise suspected of containing an unlawful drug or a handgun, for instance, a police officer should wait till it’s delivered to the addressee or returned to the sender.

Lametti mentioned he was “open to ” rewriting the rules.

Medicine by Letter Mail

In a Might 5 submission to the Senate LCJC committee, the Canadian Affiliation of Chiefs of Police mentioned drug sellers are delivery contraband by letter mail.

“Too many criminals are exploiting the present loophole on this legislative framework, making giant earnings utilizing Canada Submit to commit felony acts and placing Canadian lives in danger,” wrote the police affiliation.

In accordance with committee member Senator Denis Batters, police have mentioned that “criminals exploit an antiquated authorized loophole that bars them from looking packages despatched by means of Canada Submit.” Present rules guarantee “a Crown company will stay the shipper of selection for fentanyl sellers,” steered Batters on the Might 18 assembly.

Lametti replied, “I agree with you that it is a vital query,” noting that “I’m open to that transferring ahead.”

Senator Marty Klyne requested Lametti, “How vital is it for inspectors to have the ability to intercept letters?”

“I admire the depth of your concern,” replied Lametti. “I share these considerations in addition to a common need to be sure that our professional techniques of communication aren’t getting used for unlawful functions, particularly one as tragic as trafficking fentanyl,” he mentioned, including that “I share your perception within the significance of it.”

Proposed Postal Security Act

Senator Pierre Dalphond, one other LCJC committee member, sponsored a public invoice in November 2022 that’s presently earlier than the Senate.

Invoice S-256, An Act to Amend the Canada Submit Company Act, or the Canadian Postal Security Act, would permit police to cease suspicious mail in transit, together with letters, if they think unlawful materials.

“Whereas an merchandise is within the mail, the one choice the police have is to work carefully with one of many 25 inspectors at Canada Submit25 to cowl the entire nation,” Dalphond, a former choose, beforehand instructed the Senate in a speech in November 2022, firstly of the second studying of the invoice. “What are we ready for?”

Dalphond mentioned that, with the passage of the Submit Workplace Act in 1867, “it was inconceivable to intervene with the operations of the Royal Mail or to learn the content material of letters one was tasked with delivering,” as “the target of this legislation was to guard privateness.”

In 2022, Canada Submit, initially often called Royal Mail Canada, delivered 6.6 billion items of mail, parcels, and letters to 17.2 million addresses nationwide, in accordance with a Might 17 written submission to the Senate committee from the federal Crown company.

“For fairly a while, solely a postal inspector might detain an merchandise, as an illustration if it wasn’t sufficiently stamped for the category of mail or if it contained objects that have been unlawful to ship by submit. It might be greater than 100 years earlier than any exceptions to the precept of prohibiting interference with mail objects have been adopted,” Dalphond mentioned in his speech.

This was carried out by means of passage of the Canadian Safety Intelligence Service Act in 1984, an modification to the Customs Act in 1986, and the passage of the Proceeds of Crime (Cash Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act in 2000, in accordance with Dalphond.

“Below the modification to the Customs Act, a cargo coming into Canada could also be topic to inspection by border providers officers if they’ve motive to suspect that its contents are prohibited from being imported into Canada. If so, the cargo, whether or not a package deal or an envelope, could also be seized,” added Dalphond.

“Nevertheless, an envelope mailed in Canada to somebody who resides at a Canadian handle can’t be opened by the police and even by a postal inspector,” he mentioned.