May 23, 1989



The attached document represents the revised procedures of the Department of National Revenue, Customs and Excise, related to the administration of the hate propaganda provisions of Tariff Code 9956 of Schedule VII to the Customs Tariff. The Honourable Otto Jelinek, Minister of National Revenue, directed the Department to review its procedures regarding complaints about material that could possibly constitute hate propaganda.

The Minister abolished the long-standing border procedure whereby headquarters officials would instruct field officers to detain commercial shipments of books until a review was undertaken to determine whether the material contravened Canada's hate propaganda legislation. To replace these procedures, the Minister directed headquarters officials to provide advance rulings to members of the Canadian book industry when complaints about books of interest to the industry are received. These revised procedures will assure that commercial shipments of books to the Canadian book industry will not be delayed by inappropriate administrative procedures. Mr. Jelinek also directed headquarters officials to seek expert advice from the Department of Justice, as necessary, in arriving at the decision as to whether material constitutes hate propaganda.

Further details or clarification may be obtained from the Prohibited Importations Unit, Ottawa, telephone

(613) 954-7049.




This directive outlines the procedures and responsibilities of the Prohibited Importations Unit and Customs officers in the field in initiating and conducting reviews of material suspected of being hate propaganda under Tariff Code 9956 (b) of Schedule VII to the Customs Tariff which references subsection 320(8) of the Criminal Code.

The procedures are designed to avoid situations where commercial shipments of books being imported by the book industry in Canada might be detained pending a decision as to whether the material should be classified under the hate propaganda provisions of Tariff Code 9956. These procedures require close cooperation between headquarters officials and knowledgeable members of the Canadian book industry.



Customs officials in the Prohibited Importations Unit in headquarters who have been specially trained in the interpretation and application of the Criminal Code provisions related to hate propaganda and relevant legal jurisprudence will continue to make all determinations as to whether material is to be classified under the hate propaganda provisions of Tariff Code 9956.

Headquarters officials will continue to provide advance rulings on the admissibility of material under the hate propaganda provisions of Tariff Code 9956 at the request of any importer who wishes a Departmental ruling prior to an importation. This service is designed to encourage and promote voluntary compliance with legislation in this area.

All complaints by members of the public that material may constitute hate propaganda will be directed to the Prohibited Importations Unit at headquarters for action. Headquarters officials will determine whether the material which is the subject of a complaint has been previously reviewed and, if so, take appropriate action to inform the complainant of the results of that review.


Procedures for Dealing with Complaints from the Public

This section outlines the proper procedures to be followed by departmental officials when complaints are received that material, which appears to be a book (as opposed to a leaflet for example), may constitute hat propaganda and no previous review of the material has been undertaken:


All Other Cases of Hate Propaganda

When field officers, in the performance of their duties and based on their experience with hate propaganda, have reason to suspect that attempted importations of other material (a leaflet for example) might constitute hate propaganda, they should continue to send copies of the material to Ottawa for review prior to release from Customs' control. In addition, field officers will continue to prohibit the importation of material on which headquarters officials have made a determination that the hate propaganda provisions of Tariff Code 9956 apply. Field officers continue to play an important role in ensuring that the Department carries out its statutory responsibilities to administer the hate propaganda provisions of Tariff Code 9956.
Should any question arise as to whether the provisions of section III, number 6, or section IV should be applied by field officers, the Director or Manager of the Prohibited Importations Unit should be immediately contacted for advice on the appropriate action to be taken.

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* The above text has been reproduced as faithfully as humanly possible from the original document. However, this reproduction is not, nor intended to be, the official version of the original.