The SCC also noted that a warrantless search using sniffer dogs would be justified in the case where the police held a reasonable suspicion; but in this case there was no proper justification for the search. The search was deemed unreasonable and the SCC upheld the earlier judgment of the Ontario Court of Appeal and dismissed the appeal.
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The case adds another layer to the issue of searches in our high schools. The top court ruled that a warrantless and unreasonable search by drug-sniffing dogs is not constitutional. However, drug-sniffing dogs could conduct searches, even warrantless searches if reasonable grounds were established prior to conducting the search.
The Abbottsford School District conducted several warrantless searches in its high schools between and and has stated that it will consider searches for the school year notwithstanding the decision of the SCC. Further cases will be required to establish more precise guidelines for school administrators and students with respect to searches in our schools. You may call any lawyer you want. There is a hour telephone service available which provides a legal aid duty lawyer who can give you legal advice in private. This advice is given without charge and the lawyer can explain the legal aid plan to you.
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For example, they can ask students to turn out their pockets to see the contents. They can search the belongings of students in places such as. You should know that you can't expect complete privacy at school, especially in places that the school makes available to you. School staff cannot search unless they have " reasonable grounds " to search. This means they must have good reasons to think that a student is breaking or has broken the law or a school rule, and that the search will turn up evidence of this. This evidence might be, for example, drugs or a weapon.
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A search might be considered reasonable when information or observations come from these sources:. The search must be done in the most respectful way possible , for example, by searching on top of clothing.
If the rules about searches are not respected, the evidence turned up during the search might not be allowed in court. To learn more about this, you can ask a lawyer. The courts have not yet answered these questions. But the Supreme Court of Canada has made some important decisions. One of these decisions dealt with searches at school in general, and the other decision dealt with strip searches.
This article explains in a general way the law that applies in Quebec. This article is not a legal opinion or legal advice.