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  1. Sealing and Unsealing Judicial Authorizations.
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  6. Toronto Star Newspapers Ltd. Privacy Policy Terms and Conditions. Back in , the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that search warrant files are public documents as long as the search has been completed and evidence was seized.

    Youth Criminal Justice Act

    Openness is the rule, the court declared, and access can be denied only to safeguard important interests such as the privacy of innocent parties. Journalists can be forgiven for thinking most search warrants remain off limits. Section Courts in Ontario, Manitoba and Quebec quickly struck down the ban as a violation of the Charter right of freedom of the press and, even though the section remains on the books, media law experts consider it a dead letter.

    If a search has been completed and evidence was seized, the file is open to public scrutiny.

    New Ontario courts website lets you search court dates online

    But other restrictions may apply. If the documents have been sealed, Section Media lawyers have urged the courts to see sealing orders for what they are, a form of publication ban, and to deal with them as they do other restrictions on publication. More victories followed in The case is headed to the Supreme Court of Canada, which could set a new access precedent as significant as the MacIntyre ruling of two decades ago.

    A court challenge is likely to bring much of the information to light. An earlier version of this column appeared in Media , the magazine of the Canadian Association of Journalists.

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