Canada Outlines Which Anime Can Cross Border
posted on by Egan Loo
On Monday, the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) posted the policies that the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) uses for searching "documents, personal papers, and electronic information" on laptops and other personal effects. BCCLA obtained the documents through an official Access to Information request that it filed on October 21, 2009.
In a slide-show-style presentation about "Classification of Child Pornography," one of the documents lists (on page 13) a brief bullet point: "Japanese Anime — most not porn." However, it adds that anime can be classified as child pornography in Canada "only if characters are explicitly depicted as children involved in sex acts e.g. lack of secondary sexual characteristics, breast development, pubic hair." Although these guidelines exist in the CBSA document, they are not part of the legal definition of child pornography in Canada.
Child pornography, whether involving persons real or imaginary, is illegal in Canada. The original law 1985, law C-46 section 163.1, was upheld and clarified in the 2001 R v. Sharpe case where the Supreme Court of Canada found that "[the law] should include visual works of the imagination as well as depictions of actual people. ... "person" in s. 163.1 includes both actual and imaginary human beings." Exceptions exist for cases where the work serves a "legitimate purpose related to the administration of justice or to science, medicine, education or art; and does not pose an undue risk of harm to persons under the age of eighteen years."
In 2005, an Edmonton area man pleaded guilty to importing manga containing explicit depictions of minors and was handed an 18-month conditional sentence, 100 hours of community service, and a C$150 fine. Canadian Bill C-2, passed in November 2005 (after the conviction), requires mandatory jail time for any person convicted of importing child pornography. In 2006, the Canadian National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre, a Canadian government initiative, created a hentai and anime "fact" sheet that did not differentiate between explicit and non-explicit forms of anime and manga.
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