Report No. 38
Position in Canada Regarding Interception of Postal Articles
In Canada, the following statutory provisions seem to be relevant regarding interception:
Section 7, (Canada) Post Office Act, 1951.
Section 6(f) and 6(g), (Canada) Post Office Act, 1951-empowers the making of regulations regarding the conditions under which mailable matter may be sent, and for excluding non-mailable matter from mails.
Section 59, (Canada) Post Office Act, 1961, punishes a person sending any explosive, dangerous, etc., substance.
Section 41, (Canada) Post Office Act, 1951-"Notwithstanding anything in any other Act or laws, nothing is liable to demand, seizure or detention while in the course of post except as provided in this Act or the regulations."
Extract of Section 7, Canadian Post Office Act, 1951
Use of Mails for Unlawful purposes
"7. Unlawful use of mails.-(1) Whenever the Postmaster-General believes on reasonable grounds that any person-
(a) is, by means of the mails,
(i) committing or attempting to commit an offence, or
(ii) aiding, counselling or procuring any person to commit an offence, or
(b) with intent to commit an offence, is using the mails for the purpose of accomplishing his object, the Postmaster-General may make an interim order (in this section called an "interim prohibitory order") prohibiting the delivery of all mail directed to that person (in this section called the "person affected") or deposited by that person in a post office.
(2) Prohibitory Order Notice.-Within five days after the making of an interim prohibitory order the Postmaster- General shall send to the person affected a registered letter at his last known address informing him of the order and the reasons therefor and notifying him that he may within ten days of the date of registered letter was sent, or such longer period as the Postmaster-General may specify in the letter, request that the order be inquired into, "and upon receipt within the said ten days or longer period of a written request by the person affected that the order be inquired into, the Postmaster-General shall refer the matter, together with the material and evidence considered by him in making the order, to Board of Review consisting of three-persons nominated by the Postmaster-General one of whom shall be a member of the legal profession.
(3) Board of Review.-The Board of Review shall inquire into the facts and circumstances surrounding the interim prohibitory order and shall give the person affected a reasonable opportunity of appearing before the Board of Review, making representation to the Board and presenting evidence.
(4) Powers of Board.-The Board of Review has all the powers of a Commissioner under Part I of the Inquiries Act, and, in addition to the material and evidence referred to the Board by the Postmaster-General, may consider such further evidence, oral or written, as it deems advisable.
(5) Opening of mail by consent.-Any mail detained by the Postmaster-General pursuant to sub-section (8) may be delivered to the Board by Review, and, with the consent of the person affected, may be opened and examined by the Board.
(6) Report of Board.-The Board of Review, shall, after considering the matter referred to it, submit a report with its recommendation to the Postmaster-General, together with all evidence and other material that was before the Board, and upon receipt of the report of the Board, the Postmaster-General shall reconsider the interim prohibitory order and he may revoke it or declare it to be a final prohibitory order, as he sees fit.
(7) Revocation of order.-The Postmaster-General may revoke an interim or final prohibitory order when he is satisfied that the person affected will not use the mails for any of the purposes prescribed in sub-section (1), and the Postmaster-General may require an undertaking to that effect from the person affected before revoking the order.
(8) Effect of order.-Upon the making of an interim or final prohibitory order and until it is revoked by the Postmaster-General.
(a) no postal employee shall without the permission of the Postmaster-General
(i) deliver any mail directed to the person affected, or
(ii) accept any mailable matter offered by the person affected for transmission by post,
(b) the Postmaster-General may detain or return to the sender any mail directed to the person affected and anything deposited at a post office by the person affected, and
(c) the Postmaster-General may declare any mail detained pursuant to paragraph (b) to be undeliverable mail, and any mail so declared to be undeliverable mail shall be dealt with under the regulations relating thereto.
(9) Interim order deemed final order.-Where no request that an interim prohibitory order be inquired into is received by the Postmaster-General within the period mentioned in sub-section (2), the order shall, at the expiration of the said period, be deemed to be a final prohibitory order [(1951), C. 57, section 7]".