CPIC only reports indictable and hybrid offences

Canadian Police Information Centre

In Canada, a criminal record is a documented guilty conviction with registration of the offenders name in CPIC (Canadian Police Information Centre).

CPIC Content

“Canada’s repository of criminal records relates to individuals that have been charged with indictable and/or hybrid offences. Since the Identification of Criminals Act only allows the taking of fingerprints in relation to indictable or hybrid offences, and the RCMP National Repository of Criminal Records is fingerprint-based, the National Repository only contains information relating to these two categories of offences. Summary conviction offences are only included in the National Repository if submitted as part of an occurrence involving an indictable or hybrid offence.” [source: rcmp-grc.gc.ca/en/dissemination-criminal-record-information-policy  (20 Jan 16)]

Hybrid Offences

Hybrid Offences or Dual-Procedure Offences may proceed as either summary conviction offences or indictable offences. The Crown chooses the mode of prosecution but usually prosecutes the less serious of these as summary conviction offences. The crown may proceed on the hybrid offences as more serious indictable offences when the  circumstances make the crime more serious.

Unreliability of Eye Witnesses

Some jurisdictions allow expert testimony about the unreliable nature of eye witness testimony.  One example is Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Benjamin Walker, No. 28 EAP 2011-Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

I recommend that anyone interested in this subject read The Invisible Gorilla: How Our Intuitions Deceive Us which is about attention, perception, memory, reasoning, and how they can cause problems in eye witness testimony.

Another book to read is Picking Cotton: Our Memoir of Injustice and Redemption which is about a man falsely accused of rape by a woman who said that she memorized certain characteristics about her attacker so she “wouldn’t forget”.

Canadian Criminal Court Documents

The following lists the court documents that you should order when reviewing an accused’s involvement in a criminal prosecution in Canada.

In Canada, the charges are contained in the ‘Information‘. A person must swear under oath that the information about the crimes committed is true. This document usually contains a list of appearances and a synopsis of the verdict. It also identifies the victim and any co-accused.

The Bail or Recognisance will explain the conditions of the accused’s pretrial release. This may identify the sureties, where the accused must live, and other conditions such a a prohibition of having weapons.

Search warrants are a treasure trove of useful information because the police will meticulously explain their need for the warrant. However, court staff often try to prevent you access to these, but they are public record unless sealed by a court order.

Probation orders are like the Bail document in that they set out conditions. However, they also may indicate where the subject lived. In some cases, the probation order will be sent to another province. In that case, you know that during his probation, he was living in that province and a search of criminal court records in that province is indicated to see if he abided by the conditions of his probation.

Exhibits also represent a valuable source of information. Once a case is concluded, you may view the exhibits. Like search warrants, the court staff often tries to deny your access to exhibits. Persevere and demand access to the exhibits and you will eventually get to view them.

King John’s Ontario

Ontario wants to launch the Administrative Monetary Penalty (AMP) system. It’s a cute name for an extortion racket.

AMP will treat Highway Traffic Act (HTA) offences as a tax that you must pay. The accused cannot contest the charge; only discuss the amount of the penalty or perhaps the number of demerit points. This discussion will occur online with an ‘independent arbiter’.

The arbiter isn’t there to provide justice. You’re already guilty—you can only discuss the amount of the penalty. The money goes to the municipality and the municipality employs the so-called ‘independent arbiter’. The independence is a fiction.

The entire thing is an effort to bilk drivers. The government knows we must drive vehicles to exist in Ontario. Economists call this an inelastic demand. In such a demand, the quantity demanded is the same at any price because we must have it, and therefore, it may be taxed at any rate. The provincial government creates this tax by replacing the judicial process with automatic convictions and arbiters with a quota to meet—true government efficiency at last!

In 2011, the Law Society of Upper Canada specifically told the Law Commission of Ontario that AMP was not appropriate for HTA offences. The Ontario Para Legal Association rightly calls this an egregious violation of our legal rights. In rebuttal, the Ontario government imperiously states that there was a six-week public consultation about AMP that ended a couple of months ago, but I never heard of it and I haven’t found anybody else who heard about it either–some public consultation that was.

This will cause a drastic increase in the cost of insurance for residents of rent-seeking municipalities, as they will acquire artificially bad driver’s records. The term rent-seeking isn’t typically applied to government but I don’t see any alternative. Rent-seeking is seeking to increase your share of existing wealth by using the political process while not creating any new wealth. A rent-seeking government uses its discretionary and legislated authority to extract ‘rent’ for its own benefit.

What economists might call ‘rent-seeking’ is a coercive extortion racket, plain and simple. King John would feel a deep kinship with today’s Ontario government, since this type of behaviour brought about the Magna Carta eight hundred years ago.

UPDATE–1 May 2016:

Ontario scraps idea to take traffic ticket system out of the courts

“Ontario has scrapped a proposal to have people pay traffic tickets online or dispute them outside of court.”

See:  http://www.ottawasun.com/2016/05/01/ontario-scraps-idea-to-take-traffic-ticket-system-out-of-the-courts

Alberta Court Stikes Down Trespass to Premises Act

An Alberta Court struck down the provincial Trespass to Premises Act (TPA) as “unconstitutional” as it relates to public property in R v S.A. This decision prevents Transit Authorities across Alberta from using the Trespass to Premises Act to ban individuals from using their facilities.

R v S.A was about a young woman who was banned from all Edmonton LRT stations due to her involvement in an altercation at a single station. This eliminated her ability use public transit in Edmonton.

This is a long and thoughtful decision addresses the Liberty interest found in S.7 of the Charter. On reading the decision, I believe this decision will, over time, extend to all public places where the Trespass to Premises Act might be used by any public authority in Alberta.

Since 1976, Canadian courts have been whittling away at the right of private property owners to keep out trespassers under provincial trespass legislation. The reasoning presented in this decision may become the norm throughout Canada and it may have unforeseen implications for private landowners.

Security and facility management should begin reviewing trespass policies, operating practices, and training in the light of the direction and standards outlined in this case. It seems that the prudent course is to ensure trespass bans are objectively defensible and proportionate to the inappropriate behaviour. Implementing an appeal process for a trespass ban also seems judicious.

Please note that this decision is currently under appeal. It is also from a Provincial Court and not binding. However, understand that landowners rarely get expanded rights from the courts; it usually goes in the other direction.

Financial Incentives for False Crime Lab Test Results

A recent analysis published in the Criminal Justice Ethics academic journal suggests when technicians perform forensic analysis of blood and other evidence for cases such as drunk driving, the results can be influenced by built-in financial incentives to produce a conviction. If false conviction rates are very low, a 3 percent error rate could put 33,000 innocent individuals behind bars (in the U.S.) every year.

The primary problem, according to the paper, is that fourteen states reward crime labs with a bonus for each conviction they generate. When there is a reward for a guilty result, a lab technician will not double-check test results that are in the guilty range, though he would be more likely to double-check results that show innocence.

For example, in 2009, a crime lab in Colorado Springs, Colorado was caught certifying at least 82 DUI blood tests with falsely high readings. A whistleblower in Washington, DC revealed in 2010 that the city had been using faulty breathalyzer machines for more than a decade.

View the full text at http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/0731129X.2013.817070

Ontario Civil Court Searching

Ontario does not offer any way to search all the province’s civil courts from a central index. It is usually better to search the courts with jurisdiction over the subject’s residence and business addresses.

All civil matters are disposed of in the Superior Court, with the exception of family court matters that are within the jurisdiction of the Ontario Court of Justice. The Superior Court presides in 51 locations in Ontario, from Kenora in the Northwest to Cornwall in the East and from Cochrane in the Northeast to Windsor in the Southwest, an area well over 1 million square kilometres in size.

What CPIC Doesn’t Report

The Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) was created in 1966 as an information system for Canadian law enforcement agencies. It is the sole nationwide repository of criminal convictions in Canada. Many employers require a search of CPIC before hiring.

When a search is conducted for employment, you must understand what it doesn’t report.

A Canadian Police Criminal Record Check WILL NOT include:

  • Outstanding entries, such as charges and warrants, judicial orders, Peace Bonds, Probation and Prohibition Orders.
  • Absolute and Conditional Discharges.
  • Convictions where a pardon has been granted.
  • Convictions under provincial statutes.
  • Local Police contacts.
  • Ministry of Transportation information.
  • Family Court Restraining Orders.
  • Foreign information.
  • Charged and processed by other means such as Diversion.
  • Any reference to incidents involving mental health contact that did not result in a conviction.
  • Any information under the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA ).

Pre-employment Criminal Record Checks

The Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) was created in 1966 as an information system for Canadian law enforcement agencies. It is the sole nationwide repository of criminal convictions in Canada. Many employers require a search of CPIC before hiring. However, this system is not foolproof.

Auditor-General reports going back to 2000 have criticized the CPIC system (see para. 7.86) regarding timely delivery of criminal record data.

The most recent Auditor-General report estimates that the RCMP takes an average of 14 months to update an existing English criminal record in CPIC. The French updates take an average of 36 months. The stated goal is updating a record in 24 hours. Unfortunately, reality is an average time of 334 working days (see para. 5.59 & 5.60). For a new criminal record, the average time to process was 27 working days ( see para. 5.60).

If the employer hires someone with a minor criminal record, they may getting someone with a much more serious, but undisclosed, conviction. If the employer hires someone with no criminal record, the employer may be getting someone with an undisclosed conviction for a serious offence.


How to End the War of Drugs — Part 2


As I have indicated, the severe sentences for drug offences drives-up the price of illegal drugs and ensures that for every trafficker incarcerated, there are two eager to take his place. Clearly, this strategy is not working.

The power of the court should be used to enforce treatment programmes while reserving penal sentences for only the most recalcitrant offenders. I would also create drug courts presided over by judges with training in drug addiction. Perhaps this will reduce the cost of incarceration for what is essentially self destructive behaviour. With resources devoted to treatment empowered by the courts, we should see a reduced consumtive demand which will reduce revenue for the traffickers.


The New Ontario Tort of Intrusion Upon Seclusion

The case of Jones v. Tsige, 2012 ONCA 32 before the Ontario Court of Appeal created a new tort in Ontario. Ontario civil law allows individuals to sue for breach of privacy based on proof of:

1. an intentional unauthorized intrusion;­
2. which is an intrusion upon private affairs or concerns (i.e. that breaches a reasonable expectation of privacy); and
3. that is made in circumstances that are highly offensive to the reasonable person, causing distress, humiliation or anguish.

However, proof of harm to a recognized economic interest is not an element of the cause of action.

With Ontario allowing this tort, we now have four provinces that allow a tort for intruding upon someone’s personal life by accessing private data.

In this case, Winnie Tsige, a colleague of Sandra Jones at the Bank of Montreal, accessed her banking records on 174 occasions over four years. Tsige had been in a relationship with Jones’ former husband and become involved in a financial dispute with him.

I fear that the court has opened the sluicegates for all kinds of invasion of privacy cases that were not previously recognized. My first concern is that the court didn’t set any parameters for what constitutes reckless behaviour on the part of the person divulging the data or the person reporting it, and this should be of particular concern to the Private Investigator. Secondly, this may also open the floodgates for privacy related class actions seeking a much higher amount.

The Private Investigator

This will have an impact on employers and organisations that experience data breaches. However, it is the impact on Private Investigators (PI) that I will address here.

Read more

The Cost of Investigative Internet Research

Why does it cost so much just to look on the Internet?”

I get this question a lot, and too often from “professionals” who should know better. I will list a few of the reasons here.

To begin with, I never know how the research results will be used in the future. That means that the results must be properly documented so that it would be reproducible if someone else with similar skill did the searches at the same time as I did.

If at some future date what I find becomes important evidence, then how it was found, where it was found, when it was found, and what it actually looked like becomes very important. My report and the supporting material may be the only proof of the existence of the material being entered into evidence.

The computers must be free of malicious code (S. 31 Canada Evidence Act). We often set aside a computer for this purpose after doing some Spring-Cleaning.

The logic of the research process must be clear and easy to explain to anyone. This logic must be explained in the report. Search statements must be recorded. The project directory and file naming and structures must be logical and properly documented. The evidence must have a clear and documented chain of custody.

Providing this evidence requires skill, training, experience, software, computers, office space, support staff, and time.  Finally, did you know it takes at least twice as long to do the report as it does to do the research?


Bulk Sales & the PI


Sales of large quantities of stock or the sale of assets and equipment of the business itself outside the regular course of business are considered a sale “in bulk”. The Bulk Sales Act is designed to protect the creditors of a business owner by requiring the owner to follow the procedures of the Act for sales outside the regular course of business.

If a buyer wishes to purchase the assets and equipment of a business, the seller “in bulk” must provide an affidavit stating that all creditors have been paid, or they will be paid from the proceeds of the sale.  In some cases the buyer pays an assigned trustee and creditors of the business may wish to waive their rights in which case the proceeds are paid.

A ‘Bulk Sales search‘ determines if a bulk sales affidavit has been filed with the relevant Ontario Superior Court of Justice office.

The Private Investigator (PI)

If you are interested in an Ontario business’s assets, debts, cash flow, and general financial condition, then a a Bulk Sale Act search is an important search.  It may tell you if the business is failing or if it has suffered a set-back.  You may learn of an abandoned line or the sale of a production facility.  You may learn of a legal action in another jurisdiction by contacting or researching the other parties to the bulk sale. Any sale that indicates that creditors will be paid from the proceeds of the sale may indicate a judgment that is being satisfied or it may be part of the settlement of a claim.


Two Scams Investigators Fall For

Cell Phone Pings

Some companies claim to be able to perform real-time “ping” geo-location tracking of almost any cell phone. After paying, the Investigator is told that the cell phone is being pinged but has not answered and the Investigator is out hundreds of dollars. This is not how Location Based Services work in a mobile phone network.

Canadian Criminal Records

Some companies, usually in the U.S.A., claim that they can do CPIC searches. The normal answer is that nothing was found. Of course no search of any kind was performed. They also charge for searches by province when CPIC covers all of Canada. Sometimes, the single-province searches are advertised as CPIC but actually search the provincial court case management system.