Regulations Amending the Contraventions Regulations (Schedule XVII): SOR/2020-123
Canada Gazette, Part II, Volume 154, Number 12
SOR/2020-123 June 1, 2020
P.C. 2020-404 May 30, 2020
Her Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Justice, pursuant to section 8 footnote a of the Contraventions Act footnote b, makes the annexed Regulations Amending the Contraventions Regulations (Schedule XVII).
Regulations Amending the Contraventions Regulations (Schedule XVII)
1 The Contraventions Regulations footnote 1 are amended by adding, after Schedule XVI, the Schedule XVII set out in the schedule to these Regulations.
Coming into Force
2 These Regulations come into force on the day on which the Regulations Amending the Canadian Aviation Regulations (Lasers) come into force but if they are registered after that day, they come into force on the day on which they are registered.
(Sections 1 to 3)
Possession of a hand-held laser that exceeds the specified power output rating in a specified area
Project or cause to be projected a directed bright light source into navigable airspace
REGULATORY IMPACT ANALYSIS STATEMENT
(This statement is not part of the Regulations.)
Hand-held lasers, when misused and directed at an aircraft, produce an intense, directional beam of optical radiation that can result in distraction, disruption, disorientation and flash blindness of the pilots. This impacts their ability to safely monitor flight instruments and maintain control of the aircraft during critical stages of flight, such as take-off, approach and landing. This has the potential for severe impacts on the safe operation of an aircraft, endangering the safety of the flight crew and passengers.
The Canadian Aviation Regulations prohibit the projection of a directed bright light source into navigable airspace and the possession of certain hand-held lasers in the vicinity of airports and heliports. To improve enforcement activities related to laser attacks, Transport Canada has delegated to a number of police services the authority to issue notices of administrative monetary penalties (AMPs) under the Aeronautics Act. This delegation of authority provides police services with an enforcement tool to penalize offenders found contravening the Canadian Aviation Regulations. However, in order to authorize a police service to issue notices of AMPs, Transport Canada needs to engage in discussions and issue letters of authorization to each police service. Transport Canada also needs to produce and distribute notice of violation booklets to the police services once an authorization letter is in place. The process is time consuming and ensuring that enforcement is standardized across the country is a challenge.
The Contraventions Act establishes a ticketing regime that allows enforcement authorities—in provinces in which the Contraventions Act has been implemented—to prosecute federal offences designated as “contraventions” by means of a ticket in accordance with existing provincial ticketing schemes and procedures. Police officers and constables are empowered to issue tickets under the Contraventions Act as they are considered enforcement authorities under that Act. In order to allow for the Contraventions Act ticketing regime to apply to the laser-related offences contained in the Canadian Aviation Regulations, these offences need to be designated as contraventions and included in the Contraventions Regulations.
Enacted in 1992, the Contraventions Act provides a procedure for the prosecution of federal offences designated as contraventions. This procedure reflects the distinction between criminal offences and regulatory offences and offers an alternative to the summary conviction procedure set out in the Criminal Code. It allows enforcement authorities to commence the prosecution of a contravention by means of a ticket with the option of voluntary payment of the prescribed fine, therefore avoiding the longer and more costly procedure set out in the Criminal Code. This spares the offender from the legal ramifications of a Criminal Code conviction while ensuring that court and criminal justice resources can be focussed on matters that require judicial consideration. This ticketing procedure is a more reasonable and effective approach for minor offences, and provides for fines that are more proportionate to the seriousness of these offences.
The Contraventions Act provides two mechanisms for implementing a ticketing regime for federal contraventions: first, it provides for the eventual creation of an autonomous and comprehensive federal procedural regime to process federal tickets; and second, it makes it possible for the federal government to rely instead on existing provincial ticketing schemes. Rather than duplicate existing provincial structures at the federal level, the federal government has opted to use its powers under the Contraventions Act to enter into agreements with the provinces and make existing provincial ticketing schemes applicable to federal contraventions. As a result, when a contravention ticket is issued by an enforcement authority, the ensuing process is mainly governed by the ticketing scheme of the province in which the offence occurred.
In practical terms, enforcement officers can start using a provincial ticketing scheme to enforce federal contraventions when both the following legal requirements are met: the incorporation by reference of the provincial legislation has been completed in accordance with the Application of Provincial Laws Regulations; and an agreement has been signed with the relevant provincial government, in conformity with the Contraventions Act. In the absence of either one of these two conditions, federal offences designated as contraventions continue to be enforced in a provincial jurisdiction using warnings or they are prosecuted under the Criminal Code summary conviction process. To date, the Contraventions Act has been implemented in all provinces except Alberta, Saskatchewan and the territories.
Made under section 8 of the Contraventions Act, the Contraventions Regulations identify the federal offences designated as contraventions, provide the short-form description of these offences—reproduced by enforcement officers on the contraventions ticket—and prescribe the amount of the fine for each of these contraventions.
Made under the Aeronautics Act, the Canadian Aviation Regulations address the risks posed by the projection of handheld lasers into navigable airspace. Particularly, subsection 601.19(1) of the Canadian Aviation Regulations prohibits the possession of hand-held lasers with a power output rating greater than 1 milliwatt within the municipalities of the Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver regions, and within a 10 km radius of the geometric center of airports and heliports. Section 601.20 of the Canadian Aviation Regulations prohibits the projection of a directed bright light source into navigable airspace in a manner to create a hazard to aviation safety. In addition to the Contraventions Act, the two laser-related offences may be dealt with by way of AMPs under the Aeronautics Act. The AMPs are set at a maximum of $5,000 for an individual and $25,000 for a corporation.
The objective of these amendments to the Contraventions Regulations is to address the danger to aviation safety caused by laser attacks on aircraft by providing enforcement officers with an additional enforcement tool to improve compliance with the Canadian Aviation Regulations.
The amendments to the Contraventions Regulations designate as contraventions two laser-related offences contained in the Canadian Aviation Regulations:
- Possession of a hand-held laser that exceeds the specified power output rating in a specified area (subsection 601.19(1));
- Projecting or causing to be projected a directed bright light source into navigable airspace (section 601.20).
The fine amount for both of these new contraventions is $1,000.
In order to designate these offences as contraventions, a new schedule was added to the Contraventions Regulations titled “Schedule XVII, Aeronautics Act.”
A Notice of Proposed Amendment on Battery-powered hand-held laser (NPA 2019-005) was published on the Canadian Aviation Regulatory Advisory Council (CARAC) website and sent to CARAC members for comments during the summer of 2019. Stakeholders were consulted on enforcing laser-related offences under the Contraventions Act.
The consultation period lasted 69 days (from June 21 to August 30, 2019). Two stakeholder submissions were received for a total of 8 comments, none of which concerned the use of the Contraventions Act ticketing regime. No objections to the proposed regulations were raised.
Modern treaty obligations, and Indigenous engagement and consultation
An initial assessment of modern treaties was undertaken. The assessment did not identify any modern treaty implications or obligations.
These amendments to the Contraventions Regulations do not create new offences nor do they impose any new restrictions or burdens. These amendments designate existing offences as contraventions in order to allow enforcement officers to use the Contraventions Act ticketing regime as an enforcement tool.
In order to have these offences enforced through the Contraventions Act and to allow enforcement officers to issue contraventions tickets for these offences, they needed to be designated as contraventions and included in the Contraventions Regulations.
The Contraventions Regulations are routinely amended in order to designate new contraventions and to reflect amendments made to substantive regulations.
Benefits and costs
Using the Contraventions Act ticketing regime will allow police officers to issue contraventions tickets to offenders on the spot without having to obtain an authorization letter from Transport Canada. It is expected that the possibility of immediate issuance of contraventions tickets to offenders will deter members of the public from projecting a directed bright light source into navigable airspace, thereby leading to a reduction in the number of laser attacks.
There is consensus among all key players (federal institutions, enforcement authorities, the courts and the public) that ticketing provides the offenders, law enforcement and courts with a quick and efficient process for enforcing offences. The ticketing procedure established by the Contraventions Act allows enforcement authorities, including any police officer or constable, to issue contraventions tickets with a set fine to enforce offences designated as contraventions. The offender can choose to plead guilty and pay the fine without having to appear in court. The option of voluntary payment of the fine saves valuable time for the enforcement authorities and for the courts, which can be dedicated to surveillance and monitoring efforts and the prosecution of more serious offences. Furthermore, offenders will be subject to a process that is more appropriate and proportionate to the nature of the offence. The offender can pay the fine and avoid the burden of having to appear in court or, should they choose to plead not guilty, the ticket can be contested in court.
Small business lens
The small business lens does not apply to this initiative, as there are no administrative costs on small businesses.
The one-for-one rule does not apply as there is no incremental change in administrative burden on business.
Regulatory cooperation and alignment
This proposal is not related to a work plan or commitment under a formal regulatory cooperation forum.
Strategic environmental assessment
In accordance with the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals, a preliminary scan concluded that a strategic environmental assessment is not required.
Gender-based analysis plus (GBA+)
No differential impacts are expected on the basis of gender or other identity factors as these amendments simply designate existing offences as contraventions; they do not introduce any new requirements or burdens on individuals.
Implementation, compliance and enforcement, and service standards
These regulations come into force on the day on which they are registered.
The amendments to the Contraventions Regulations give enforcement officers an appropriate enforcement measure, allowing them to fulfil their mandate effectively and promote regulatory compliance.
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