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Common Law Police Powers Generated from 2010-2019:

With cell phones becoming commonplace in people's lives, Canadian courts generated 2 police powers relating to cell phones in the 2010s (R v Hiscoe, 2011 NSPC 84, R v Fearon, 2014 SCC 77). For instance, police have been provided with the power to search a suspect's cell phone incident to arrest and without judicial authorization, as long as there is a "valid law enforcement objective" (Fearon, at paragraph 41). 

In this decade, police were given broader discretion in relation to issues around search and seizure which falls under section 8 of the Charter. 15 of the 26 powers that were created in the 2010s authorized searches without a warrant and warrantless seizure of property. Police were also given the authority to perform penile swabs on suspects without judicial authorization (R v Saeed, 2016 SCC 24), and the power to enter a dwelling house in order to perform a safety search without a warrant (R v MacDonald, 2014 SCC 3).

A look into the case law from 2019 highlights an emergent trend in the jurisprudence that may impact decisions in this area of the law. Fleming v Ontario, a 2019 Supreme Court decision, chose to decline a new police power under investigative detention. The data shortly after this decision suggests that courts have declined to deploy investigative detention powers at a higher rate than before. It may indicate that courts have shifted their stance on investigative detentions and are becoming more reluctant to continue the expansion of police detention powers. 

Hover over the boxes below to reveal the cases that generated police powers in each year.

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