In the last issue it was reported that BILL S-7 dealing with warrantless searches of PED’s or personal electronic devices was introduced in the Senate. There were hearings into the proposed legislation. The CBA struck a diverse committee of privacy, criminal defence and immigration practitioners (including this writer) to make legal submissions to the Senate committee. The CBA appeared as a witness at the Senate hearings. The main focus of the question and answer session revolved around what the proper threshold should be for front line CBSA officers at ports of entry. The initial proposal called for an extremely low threshold couched in the following terms: “reasonable general concern”. The essential problem with this proposed threshold standard is that it does not exist in any common law jurisdiction. What is a “reasonable general concern”? If Parliament passed such a legislation that included such a standard, it is predicted by the CBA members that such would NOT survive a constitutional and or Charter challenge.
In the contrary, the CBA committee strongly recommended a more sensible threshold stated in the following manner: “reasonable grounds to suspect”
Having “reasonable grounds to suspect” puts the onus on the government agent to at least have some kind of reasonable ground to suspect that the traveller has contraband or the traveller is in violation of the customs act or immigration legislation. It is important to ensure that travellers are not unduly subjected to warrantless searches of their smart phones, laptops or tablets upon entry into Canada. The Senate committee recently completed its review before sending the Bill to the HOC (House of Commons) for further debate and in doing so they have adopted the proposed wording emanating from the CBA submissions package in which the threshold ought to be “reasonable grounds to suspect”. This certainly bodes well in light of recent litigation in Canadian courts such as Canfield a decision of the ABCA in October, 2020.

Minister Sean Fraser recently announced via twitter on June 24th, 2022 that the anticipated Post Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) extension will assist all foreign individuals dating back to September 20th, 2021. However, the Minister stated that all conditions for eligibility for this program will be announced on the government web site in the “coming weeks”.
In another tweet last month in May, 2022 it was announced that this new PGWP extension policy would be released in MID JUNE, 2022. It is long overdue as thousands of individuals who receive study visas to come to Canada for their education, are faced with mounting tuition debt and they rely on the issuance of a work permit post graduation to a large extent. The problem is even more acute as we exit the pandemic two year period which saw businesses halt operations which of course affected everyone but even more so for the foreigners who have travelled to Canada. It is no surprise to anyone, including our Immigration Minister, that Canada’s economic stream is largely filled by applicants who study, graduate and then work post graduation to later become permanent residents of Canada. The points system associated with provincial nominee programs such as the one in Manitoba and the Express Entry system provide extra bonus points for those who study and work in Canada compared to any other stream of immigration. It is important that our Canadian government recognizes this and provides a safe solution for all those who have spent literally thousands of dollars in the education system of Canada and are rewarded with a smooth path to permanent residency.
It is hoped that the Immigration Minister will continue to pay attention to international students as well as business applicants who contribute the most to Canada’s GDP. It is no shock to anyone, that our labour pool is getting older and we must act NOW to ensure essential jobs are filled by individuals flocking to this great country of ours.