I was wondering if any of you know the closest act/statute that is equivalent to 18 USC 1831/1832/1837? These sections all relate to the theft of trade secrets and in the US, it is considered to be a criminal charge.

In Canada, trade secrets are a civil offense, and I was wondering what would be the exact equivalent? I know of the Uniform Trade Secrets Act and the Security of Information Act, which are I assume are extremely similar to 18 USC 1831/1832/1837. Would they be equivalent? As in, if you stole trade secrets in Canada, would you be prosecuted under these acts or something?

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1 Answer 1


As far as criminal acts are concerned, sections 19 & 23 of the Security of Information Act are roughly equvalent to 18 USC § 1831. As for extraterritorial jurisdiction (18 USC § 1837), section 26 is roughly equivalent, though if I'm reading the two laws correctly, the Canadian one goes further in subsection (d) as any alleged offender would immediately be liable upon entry into Canada. I can find no criminal equivalent to 18 USC § 1832.

The civil situation is quite different. With one exception that employees must act in good faith, trade secrets are not distinct from confidential information. Additionally, trade secrets fall under the exclusive domain of the provinces, not the federal level. Except for Quebec, they have not legislated on the issue and have generally left it up to common law. According to Wikipedia, there are 5 types of actions within common law that can be used to protect trade secrets:

  1. breach of contract (expressed or implied provision),
  2. breach of confidence,
  3. breach of fiduciary duty,
  4. unjust enrichment and
  5. wrongful interference with the contractual relations of others.

That linked Wikipedia article provides a good starting point to further explore Canadian law on trade secrets.

  • Your example for Quebec doesn't make sense - they follow a civil law system. Could you elaborate?
    – Zizouz212
    Dec 29, 2017 at 16:08
  • @Zizouz212 My answer is specifically excluding Quebec as I'm not too familiar with their situation. If anyone feels like adding an answer covering Quebec feel free to do so.
    – DPenner1
    Dec 29, 2017 at 16:11
  • In that case, I'd recommend against mentioning Quebec, because they have definitely not left it up to common law if it's a civil matter.
    – Zizouz212
    Dec 29, 2017 at 22:01
  • @Zizouz212 I certainly can't say all provinces so I wanted to specifically exclude Quebec. I thought the wording "Except for Quebec" made it sufficiently clear. Do you have a suggestion on better wording for this?
    – DPenner1
    Dec 30, 2017 at 0:34

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