Interception of Private Communications

Interception of Private Communications

DATE: May 20, 2008



This practice memo sets out the approvals required and the criteria to be applied in applications in relation to the interception of private communication.


The Criminal Code requires that all the documents leading to and including the authorization to intercept a private communication are confidential regardless of whether or not a charge is laid against the person who has been the object of an interception. Because disclosure of such documents must be restricted solely to those persons who absolutely need to know, the access to and handling of all documents must be subject to stringent physical control. Specially designated prosecutors in each crown office are trained to review documentation and bring applications.


All applications in relation to the interception of private communications brought by the police should be referred to the Chief Crown in the area in which the investigation is to be undertaken. The Chief Crown will refer the application to a designated wiretap agent for review.

The specially designated agent is responsible for ensuring that all applications for judicial authorization are lawful and fully meet all requirements of the Criminal Code. It is the duty of the designated agent to review all documentation submitted by the police and if the designated agent is not satisfied that the application is warranted, he or she should either request further information and changes to the Affidavit or refuse to further the application.

Where one authorization involves Criminal Code offences and offences prosecuted by the federal Department of Justice, the designated agent may apply jointly with a Federal designated agent for one authorization.