American Judges Association


Date of this Version



2019 Authors


Copyright American Judges Association. Used by permission.


The searching of media outlets by the police in Canada is, as elsewhere, a controversial topic. For instance, a recent decision of the Supreme Court of Canada (R. v. Vice Media Canada Inc., 2018 SCC 53), which compelled a reporter to produce material to the police concerning an alleged crime, was described by one Canadian media outlet as a decision that will have a “damaging effect on investigative reporting across the country and weaken Canadian democracy” (see Global News,

In this column, I intend to review the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Vice Media and recent legislation enacted by Parliament, which now governs the authority of the police to search media outlets for evidence. As will be seen, the concern about democracy being weakened in Canada because of the Supreme Curt’s decision is somewhat overstated.