On June 18, 2009, the Minister of Justice tabled a new statute, Bill C-46, also known as the Investigative Powers for the 21st Century Act, proposing amendments to the Criminal Code, the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal 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 or communications.
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 officers).
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.