Interception

The offence of interception is outlined in section 184(1) of the Criminal Code.

A person commits the offence of interception when they use a device to listen in on or record a private communication without the consent of the parties to that communication or prior judicial authorization.

Examples

Person A secretly places a recording device in person B’s room and captures a private phone call that person B is having with person C.

Person D uses a radio scanner to hear person A’s private telephone conversations with person E.

Cases

R. v. Cheung, 1994 CanLII 2935 (BC SC)

In R. v. Cheung, audio recordings obtained through a device installed in the accused’s home were excluded from evidence because the warrant allowing for the interception of the accused’s telecommunications and oral communications did not allow for entry into the accused’s home, meaning these recordings obtained through the device were obtained by committing the offence of interference.

Offence Specific Defence(s)

To Prevent Imminent Harm

If a police officer believes that an interception is necessary to prevent a party to the communication from committing or being a victim to an offence that would cause serious and imminent harm to a person or property, they may not have completed the offence of interception by intercepting a private communication without the consent of the parties to that communication or prior judicial authorization.

To Prevent Bodily Harm

A peace officer may not have completed the offence of interception where they intercept a private communication with the consent of only one party to that communication to prevent bodily harm from occurring to this person.

Warrant

Where one party consents to the interception of their private communication, a peace officer, some public officers, or a judge may apply to a judge for authorization to intercept that private communication. This application will be granted where there are reasonable grounds to believe that an offence will be or has been committed and that information about that offence will be obtained through the interception. Where this application has been granted, a person may not have completed the offence of interception by listening in on or recording a private conversation in accordance with this authorization.

Consent

Where the person has the implied or express consent of either the person making the communication or the person receiving it, they may not have completed the offence of interception by using a device to listen in on or record the private communication.

Service Providers

Where the person intercepting the communication provides a telecommunication service to the public and is intercepting the communication to provide the service, monitor the quality of the service, or to protect the person’s rights relating to the provision of the service, they have not completed the offence of interception when they use a device to listen in on or record a private communication without the consent of the parties to that communication or prior judicial authorization.

Legal Information on Demand:

  • Affordable

  • 6 Modules
  • 1 Hour of Video
  • 3.5 Hour Audiobook
  • 125 Pages
  • Instant Access

More Legal Information

Law Newbie™ is a free legal assistant developed by our criminal lawyers to help you understand the law.

Fingerprint

In criminal cases, there are very strict rules governing what evidence can be used and how it can be used.

The rights enjoyed of all those within Canada are contained in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Criminal procedure is the process by which an accused person is arrested and brought through the justice system.

Sentencing refers to the punishment that is ordered when an individual is found guilty of a criminal offence.

Firearm Smoke

Offences in Canada are listed in the Criminal Code. They include crimes related to people, vehicles and weapons.