Government of Canada / Gouvernement du Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Search

Witness Protection Program Act (S.C. 1996, c. 15)

Act current to 2022-11-16 and last amended on 2021-08-12. Previous Versions

Protection of Information (continued)

Marginal note:Non-application — protected or other person

 Paragraph 11(1)(a) does not apply to

  • (a) a protected person who discloses information about themselves, if the disclosure could not result in substantial harm to any protected person; or

  • (b) a person who discloses information that was disclosed to them by a protected person, if the disclosure could not result in substantial harm to any protected person.

  • 2013, c. 29, s. 12

Marginal note:Exception — Commissioner

  •  (1) The Commissioner may make a disclosure described in paragraph 11(1)(a) that relates to

    • (a) a protectee, for the purpose of providing protection to them; or

    • (b) a designated program protectee, for the purpose of facilitating a change of identity for them.

  • Marginal note:Other exceptions

    (2) The Commissioner may make a disclosure described in paragraph 11(1)(a) that relates to a protected person if

    • (a) the protected person consents to the disclosure;

    • (b) the protected person has previously made such a disclosure or acted in a manner that results in such a disclosure;

    • (c) the Commissioner has reasonable grounds to believe that the disclosure is essential for the purposes of the administration of justice, including

      • (i) investigating a serious offence if there is reason to believe that the protected person can provide material information or evidence in relation to, or has been involved in the commission of, the offence,

      • (ii) preventing the commission of a serious offence, or

      • (iii) establishing the innocence of a person in criminal proceedings;

    • (d) the Commissioner has reasonable grounds to believe that the disclosure is essential for the purposes of national security or national defence; or

    • (e) the disclosure is made in accordance with an agreement or arrangement entered into under subsection 14.1(1).

  • Marginal note:Designated program protectee

    (3) The Commissioner is only permitted to make a disclosure under paragraph (2)(c) that relates to a current or former designated program protectee if, in the Commissioner’s opinion, the urgency of the situation requires the disclosure or if the appropriate provincial official consents to it.

  • Marginal note:Exception — other information

    (4) The Commissioner may make a disclosure described in paragraph 11(1)(b) or (c)

    • (a) that relates to the Program or a person associated with it, if the Commissioner has reasonable grounds to believe that the disclosure is essential for the purposes of the administration of justice, national security, national defence or public safety; and

    • (b) that relates to a current or former designated program or a person associated with it, if the Commissioner has reasonable grounds to believe that the disclosure is essential for the purposes of national security or national defence.

  • Marginal note:Prior notification — protected person

    (5) The Commissioner shall, before making a disclosure under paragraph (2)(b), (c) or (e), take reasonable steps to notify the protected person and allow them to make representations concerning the matter.

  • Marginal note:Non-application

    (6) Subsection (5) does not apply if, in the Commissioner’s opinion, the notification would impede the investigation of an offence, could compromise national security, national defence or public safety or could result in substantial harm to any protected person or to any person providing protection or directly or indirectly assisting in providing protection.

  • Marginal note:Prior notification — provincial official

    (7) The Commissioner shall notify the appropriate provincial official of a disclosure under paragraph (2)(a) or (b) that relates to a current or former designated program protectee before the disclosure is made.

  • Marginal note:Notification — provincial official

    (8) The Commissioner shall notify the appropriate provincial official of a disclosure referred to in subsection (3) as soon as feasible after making it, if it was made on the basis of the urgency of the situation.

  • 2013, c. 29, s. 12

Marginal note:Exception — provincial official

  •  (1) The appropriate provincial official may make a disclosure described in paragraph 11(1)(a) that relates to a designated program protectee for the purpose of providing protection to them.

  • Marginal note:Other exceptions

    (2) The appropriate provincial official may make a disclosure described in paragraph 11(1)(a) that relates to a current or former designated program protectee if

    • (a) the current or former designated program protectee consents to the disclosure;

    • (b) the current or former designated program protectee has previously made such a disclosure or acted in a manner that results in such a disclosure;

    • (c) the provincial official has reasonable grounds to believe that the disclosure is essential for the purposes of the administration of justice, including

      • (i) investigating a serious offence if there is reason to believe that the current or former designated program protectee can provide material information or evidence in relation to, or has been involved in the commission of, the offence,

      • (ii) preventing the commission of a serious offence, or

      • (iii) establishing the innocence of a person in criminal proceedings; or

    • (d) the disclosure is made in accordance with an agreement or arrangement entered into under subsection 14.1(2).

  • Marginal note:Exception — other information

    (3) A provincial official may make a disclosure described in paragraph 11(1)(b) or (c) that relates to their designated program or to a person associated with it if the provincial official has reasonable grounds to believe that the disclosure is essential for the purposes of the administration of justice or public safety.

  • Marginal note:Prior notification — designated program protectee

    (4) The provincial official shall, before making a disclosure under any of paragraphs (2)(b) to (d), take reasonable steps to notify the current or former designated program protectee and allow them to make representations concerning the matter.

  • Marginal note:Non-application

    (5) Subsection (4) does not apply if, in the provincial official’s opinion, the notification would impede the investigation of an offence, could compromise public safety or could result in substantial harm to any current or former designated program protectee or to any person providing protection or directly or indirectly assisting in providing protection.

  • 2013, c. 29, s. 12

Marginal note:Exception — agreement or arrangement

  •  (1) A party, other than the Commissioner or a provincial official, who has entered into an agreement or arrangement under subsection 14.1(1) or (2) may make a disclosure described in paragraph 11(1)(a) in accordance with the agreement or arrangement.

  • Marginal note:Prior notification

    (2) The party shall, before making a disclosure under subsection (1), take reasonable steps to notify the protected person and allow them to make representations concerning the matter.

  • 2013, c. 29, s. 12

Marginal note:Further disclosures prohibited

  •  (1) Subject to this section, a person to whom information is disclosed under sections 11.2 to 11.4 is not authorized to disclose that information to anyone else.

  • Marginal note:Exception — Commissioner’s request

    (2) A person may, for the purpose of providing protection to a protectee or of changing a designated program protectee’s identity, disclose that information to the extent that is necessary to give effect to a Commissioner’s request that is made for that purpose.

  • Marginal note:Exception — provincial official’s request

    (3) A person may, for the purpose of providing protection to a designated program protectee, disclose that information to the extent that is necessary to give effect to a provincial official’s request that is made for that purpose.

  • Marginal note:Court — confidentiality

    (4) Once a disclosure described in subsection 11(1) is made to a court, the court shall take any measures that it considers necessary to ensure that the information remains confidential.

  • Marginal note:Exception — court

    (5) A court may make a disclosure described in subsection 11(1) for the purpose of preventing a miscarriage of justice, but in doing so it shall disclose only the information that it considers necessary for that purpose and shall disclose the information only to persons who require it for that purpose.

  • 2013, c. 29, s. 12

Marginal note:Factors to be considered

 The Commissioner or a provincial official shall consider the following factors in determining whether to make a disclosure under section 11.2 or 11.3, as the case may be, except for a disclosure under paragraph 11.2(2)(e) or 11.3(2)(d):

  • (a) the reasons for the disclosure;

  • (b) the danger or adverse consequences of the disclosure in relation to a person and the integrity of the Program or of a designated program, as the case may be;

  • (c) the likelihood that the information will be used solely for the purpose for which the disclosure is made;

  • (d) whether the need for the disclosure can be effectively met by another means; and

  • (e) whether there are effective means available to prevent further disclosure of the information.

  • 1996, c. 15, s. 12
  • 2013, c. 29, s. 13

Marginal note:Informer privilege

 Informer privilege at common law prevails over any authority to disclose information provided under this Act.

  • 2013, c. 29, s. 14

Marginal note:Claim — new identity

 A person shall not be liable or otherwise punished for making a claim that the new identity of a protected person, whose identity has been changed as a consequence of the protection provided under the Program or under a designated program, is and has been the protected person’s only identity.

  • 1996, c. 15, s. 13
  • 2013, c. 29, s. 14

Marginal note:Claim — providing protection

 A person who provides protection or directly or indirectly assists in providing protection under the Program or under a designated program shall not be liable or otherwise punished for making a claim that they do not

  • (a) provide or assist in providing protection; or

  • (b) know a protected person or know that a person is a protected person.

  • 2013, c. 29, s. 14

Agreements and Arrangements

Marginal note:Commissioner’s agreements

  •  (1) The Commissioner may enter into an agreement

    • (a) with a law enforcement agency to enable a witness who is involved in activities of the law enforcement agency to be admitted to the Program;

    • (b) with the Attorney General of a province in respect of which an arrangement has been entered into under section 20 of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act to enable a witness who is involved in activities of the Force in that province to be admitted to the Program; and

    • (c) with any provincial authority in order to obtain documents and other information that may be required for the protection of a protectee.

  • Marginal note:Ministerial arrangements

    (2) The Minister may enter into a reciprocal arrangement with the government of a foreign jurisdiction to enable a witness who is involved in activities of a law enforcement agency in that jurisdiction to be admitted to the Program, but no such person may be admitted to Canada pursuant to any such arrangement without the consent of the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration nor admitted to the Program without the consent of the Minister.

  • Marginal note:Arrangements

    (3) The Minister may enter into an arrangement with an international criminal court or tribunal to enable a witness who is involved in activities of that court or tribunal to be admitted to the Program, but no such person may be admitted to Canada pursuant to any such arrangement without the consent of the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, nor admitted to the Program without the consent of the Minister.

  • 1996, c. 15, s. 14
  • 2000, c. 24, s. 74
  • 2013, c. 29, s. 20(F)

Marginal note:Agreement or arrangement — Commissioner

  •  (1) The Commissioner may enter into an agreement or arrangement with a federal department, agency or service regarding disclosures — that are described in paragraph 11(1)(a) and that relate to a current or former protectee — to each other or to another federal department, agency or service or any provincial department, agency or service.

  • Marginal note:Agreement or arrangement — provincial official

    (2) A provincial official may enter into an agreement or arrangement with a provincial department, agency or service of the same province as that official regarding disclosures — that are described in paragraph 11(1)(a) and that relate to a current or former designated program protectee — to each other or to another department, agency or service of the same province or any federal department, agency or service.

  • Marginal note:Factors to be considered

    (3) The Commissioner or a provincial official shall consider the factors set out in paragraphs 12(a) to (e) in determining whether to enter into an agreement or arrangement and in establishing its terms.

  • Marginal note:Mandatory terms

    (4) An agreement or arrangement shall include the following terms:

    • (a) a party is not permitted to make a disclosure unless it is for a purpose that is essential for the administration of justice or public safety and that is specified in the agreement or arrangement; and

    • (b) the parties shall take whatever steps are necessary, including any steps specified in the agreement or arrangement, to protect information that is disclosed from being disclosed beyond what is strictly necessary in the circumstances.

  • Marginal note:Multiple departments, agencies or services

    (5) More than one department, agency or service may be party to a single agreement or arrangement.

  • 2013, c. 29, s. 16

General

Marginal note:Delegation — Commissioner

  •  (1) The Commissioner may delegate to any member of the Force any of his or her powers, duties and functions under this Act, except the power to delegate under this section and the power to

    • (a) determine whether to disclose information under any of paragraphs 11.2(2)(b) to (d) and subsection 11.2(4);

    • (b) enter into an agreement or arrangement under subsection 14.1(1);

    • (c) designate an Assistant Commissioner to be responsible for the Program; and

    • (d) determine whether to admit a witness to the Program, to change the identity of a protectee and to terminate the protection provided to a protectee.

  • Marginal note:Assistant Commissioner

    (2) The Commissioner may designate an Assistant Commissioner to be responsible for the Program and, despite paragraph (1)(d), may delegate the powers set out in that paragraph to that Assistant Commissioner.

  • 1996, c. 15, s. 15
  • 2000, c. 24, s. 75(E)
  • 2013, c. 29, s. 17
 
Date modified: