Image of Justice building

Police Searches


Section 8 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects the right of individuals to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure. This means Canadians have the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures by the government, including the police.

The section reads as follows:

“Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure.”

This right is an essential part of the protection of privacy and personal autonomy in Canada. It ensures that individuals are free from arbitrary interference by the government in their lives and property.

To exercise this right, individuals must have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the thing or place being searched or seized. For example, a person would reasonably expect privacy in their home, but not necessarily in a public place.

If the government wants to search or seize something, they must have a lawful reason to do so, such as a warrant issued by a judge. The search or seizure must also be reasonable, which means that it must be necessary to achieve a specific purpose and be conducted in a manner that minimizes the impact on the individual’s privacy rights.

If an individual believes that their rights under section 8 have been violated, they can challenge the search or seizure in court. If the court finds that the search or seizure was unreasonable, any evidence obtained as a result of the search or seizure may be excluded from trial.