Protocol On Foreign Criminal Investigators In Canada
This Protocol sets out Canada’s notification and approval requirements for regulating the entry and monitoring of foreign criminal investigators pursuing foreign criminal investigations in Canada. It also describes the respective roles and responsibilities of foreign criminal investigators, foreign embassies, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT), the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and Canada’s federal, provincial and municipal police services in the implementation of this Protocol.
For the purposes of the Protocol:
“ Foreign criminal investigators ” includes: police officers, law enforcement officers, crown attorneys, attorneys or persons acting on their behalf of a foreign state engaging in the questioning, interviewing or statement taking from witnesses, suspects or accused persons which may lead to criminal court proceedings in a foreign state or jurisdiction.
“ Federal law enforcement services ” includes, for the Canadian Forces, the Military Police.
The objectives of this Protocol are as follows:
This Protocol applies to all foreign criminal investigations pursued in Canada by foreign criminal investigators except for those activities which are already governed by other notification and approval requirements under other bilateral or multilateral arrangements between the Government of Canada and the Government of a foreign state or between their respective national departments and agencies.
This Protocol does not apply to the following activities:
It should be reiterated that the Protocol does not change or supersede other arrangements between the Government of Canada and the Government of a foreign state or between their respective national departments and agencies, if those arrangements contain notification and approval requirements.
This Protocol is consistent with the approach taken by many countries, which requires foreign criminal investigators or persons acting on their behalf who wish to enter a foreign state for criminal investigative purposes to give reasonable notification to the foreign state and obtain approval prior to their entry.
The various roles and responsibilities of the parties involved in the successful administration of this Protocol are outlined below.
Foreign criminal investigators wishing to pursue a criminal investigation in Canada must make a request to their home foreign ministry/office to ensure that the request is forwarded to the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade through diplomatic channels (i.e. via the Canadian mission abroad, or through their foreign mission in Canada) in order to facilitate the process in obtaining timely Canadian approval.
The request must identify the names of the foreign criminal investigators or persons acting on their behalf, their coordinates and respective agencies; the planned dates of arrival and departure to and from Canada; the location of the planned criminal investigation; the nature of the criminal investigation and the identity of witnesses and suspects. Since foreign criminal investigators or persons acting on their behalf do not possess peace officer status or jurisdiction in Canada, they are required to rely on the assistance and supervision of the appropriate Canadian police force of local jurisdiction when they are pursuing their investigation in Canada.
At all times while pursuing a foreign criminal investigation in Canada, foreign criminal investigators must comply with Canadian law and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Foreign missions/embassies are responsible for notifying the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, via diplomatic note, at least two weeks in advance of the prospective visit from criminal investigators in their respective jurisdictions. In exceptional cases where it is not feasible to provide two weeks notice, Canada may still consider such requests and grant approval on a case-by-case basis.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT)
Under this Protocol, DFAIT has the lead on all international matters and is Canada’s principal point of contact for receiving requests from foreign states through diplomatic channels (i.e. from a foreign embassy) about planned visits by foreign criminal investigators in Canada.
DFAIT receives foreign criminal investigators’ requests for permission to enter Canada for the purpose of pursuing a criminal investigation from a foreign state via a diplomatic note.
DFAIT logs all requests to enter Canada under this Protocol and forwards them to the RCMP for coordination. If necessary, DFAIT will follow-up on requests that require further clarification on the nature of the criminal investigation.
Once advised by the RCMP on whether a request can be supported, DFAIT, after conducting its own assessment, makes the final decision and notifies the foreign mission that Canada agrees or objects to the proposed activities of the foreign criminal investigators in Canada, including any applicable condition. This concurrence does not exempt foreign criminal investigators from following applicable Canadian legislation, including legislation that sets out the requirements for entering Canada.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
The Interpol Office at the RCMP plays an important national coordination role in communicating foreign requests to pursue criminal investigations in Canada to the appropriate police services.
Under this Protocol, once advised by DFAIT of a request, the Interpol Office reviews and determines what form of action or assistance is required, including:
In the event that an RCMP office, in whose jurisdiction the foreign criminal investigation would take place, receives a direct request from a foreign criminal investigator wishing to enter Canada for criminal investigative purposes, the RCMP office shall communicate Canada’s Protocol for requesting entry and advise RCMP HQ of the request to ensure national coordination. In these cases, the RCMP will advise DFAIT of the request.
Federal, Provincial, and Municipal Law Enforcement Services in Canada
Under this Protocol, once advised by the RCMP of a request to pursue a foreign criminal investigation within its jurisdiction, the law enforcement agency of jurisdiction reviews and determines what form of action or assistance is required, including:
In the event that a federal, provincial or municipal criminal law enforcement agency in whose jurisdiction the foreign criminal investigation would take place receives a direct request from a foreign criminal investigator wishing to enter Canada for criminal investigative purposes, the law enforcement agency communicates Canada’s Protocol for requesting entry and advises the RCMP of the request to ensure national coordination. In these cases, the RCMP will advise DFAIT of the request.