I’ve been reading a book I got at the local Chapters Bookstore today (Ezra Levant, Shakedown: How Our Government Is Undermining Democracy in the Name of Human Rights, McClelland & Stewart, 2009), and came to learn some interesting things about my own province. At first, I thought the author had to be making it up, so I went to the House of Assembly Website to check on the Human Rights Code for my homeland, and found that Mr. Levant was in fact correct.
Below is section 22.1 of said Human Rights Code, as listed today on the House of Assembly website:
Powers of investigation
22. (1) The executive director and a person appointed or designated by the executive director may, at all reasonable times, so long as it is reasonably necessary to determine compliance with this Act, enter a building, factory, workshop or other premises or place in the province
(a) to inspect, audit and examine books of account, records and documents; or
(b) to inspect and view a work, material, machinery, an appliance or article found there,
and the persons occupying or in charge of that building, factory, workshop, premises or place shall
(c) answer all questions concerning those matters put to them; and
(d) produce for inspection the books of account, records, documents, material, machinery, appliance or article requested
by the executive director or a person appointed or designated by the executive director.
Now, I readily admit that I am not a practicing lawyer, but my foggy memory of law school said that a police officer doesn’t have the right to enter a premises for investigation unless they can produce a warrant (something that the HRC at least notes for the copying of documentation in section 22.3 &4). That’s even if the question is one of criminal law. The only exception I remember is just cause based on the reasonable belief that a crime is in the process of being committed.
So why do the human rights people in my province apparently have the right to perform warrantless investigations, demanding even the ability to compel response without the presence of a lawyer, on private property for the sake of a quasi-judicial complaint, when the police can’t even do that when investigating (one would assume more egregious) criminal activity?
I may need to write a letter to my MHA.