Liberals Propose Increased Border Searches By Eliminating Anti-Counterfeiting Personal Exception

The Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology held its clause-by-clause review of Bill C-8, the anti-counterfeiting bill yesterday. I appeared before the committee last month to express concerns about some lobbyist demands for reforms, including removing the exception for personal goods of travelers, the inclusion of statutory damages for trademark infringement, and targeting in-transit shipments.

While the committee did not complete the review of the bill – it will resume on Wednesday – the surprise of the day involved Liberal MP Judy Sgro proposing that the government remove the exception for personal travelers. Given that personal use exceptions are even included in the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, it is shocking to see any party proposing their removal, which would result in longer delays at the border and increased searches of individual travelers. The proposal failed since it was rejected by both the Conservatives and NDP, with the NDP noting that “this was one of the important provisions that brought some balance to the bill.”

The Liberals also proposed a “simplified procedure” for the seizure of goods, another demand of lobby groups that would remove court oversight in the destruction of goods in a greater number of cases. Both the Conservatives and Liberals noted that this would alter the balance in the bill and rejected the proposal.

The committee did pass several amendments proposed by the Conservatives that include allowing for information to be shared by border officials and rights holders for the purposes of settlements and expanding those goods encompassed by the law that are not yet trademark protected (the example given was the use of a trademark on a related item). The NDP proposed a misuse provision by rights holders be added to the bill, but that was defeated. The review of the bill continues on Wednesday, but the big story of the first day of review was the Liberal’s support of lobby groups seeking to crack down on consumers.


  1. Nice try…
    There is a difference between cracking down on dangerous counterfeit goods and cracking down on “consumers”…nice try Michael Geist…

  2. Michael Geist says:

    The Liberals reference point for the need for the personal exception change was Coach handbags.

  3. Steven Scott says:

    @Michael Geist: Does this mean the Liberals wanted to be able to stop a traveler with a knock-off Coach handbag, and have it destroyed since it would be a counterfeit item?

  4. uncle wiggily says:

    Sounds like the spirit Sam Bulte lives on amongst the Libs.

  5. Even worse, how on earth, can Customs (CBSA) tell with 100% certainty, while you are standing there waiting, that something in your possession is counterfeit anyway. Of course, there are obvious items, but most are not always easily recognizable as fake, most would require a rights holder or expert to identify these items, something that cannot be done while you are waiting at the airport. This part of the legislation will not work as proposed.

  6. When will the people of Canada wake up and BAN these lobby groups.
    They are only there to support themselves and don’t give a damn
    about Canadian citizens.

  7. I can see it already
    The legit stuff can cost a tonne of money. And all it takes is bad judgement on the part of the customs officer to have it seized or destroyed. Can’t wait for the story of the musician who got his 3k+ guitar destroyed because the custom officer swore it was a fake Chinese Gibson.

  8. The incident suggests that the Liberals have the stupidity to match Conservative evil.

  9. Seams as though the lobbyists have been watching the polls

  10. Watch the birdy
    No really… let’s all argue about Liberals vs. Conservatives.

    No really, it’s what’s best for the country; let’s all get angry at the other guy for their vote preference.

  11. “dangerous counterfeit goods”?
    “dangerous counterfeit goods”? Really? For the most part counterfeit goods are clothing and accessories which pose no danger other than to the pocketbooks of the trademark holders.

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