Le juge en chef — Nous sommes toutes et tous d’avis de rejeter l’appel, pour les motifs exposés par le juge Miller de la Cour d’appel de l’Ontario.
[G]iven the serious nature of an entrapment allegation and the substantial leeway given to the state to develop techniques to fight crime, a finding of entrapment and a stay of proceedings should be granted only in the “clearest of cases”: Mack, at pp. 975-76. The accused must establish the defence on a balance of probabilities
16] The defence of entrapment flows from the doctrine of abuse of process. It is not a substantive defence to allegations of criminal wrongdoing, but instead allows for a conviction to be stayed where the investigative conduct of the police was exploitative or corrupting. As the Supreme Court explained in R. v. Mack, 1988 CanLII 24 (SCC),  2 S.C.R. 903, “[i]n certain cases the police conduct will be offensive because it exploits human characteristics that as a society we feel should be respected”: at p. 963. The court provided the following example of police conduct that would constitute entrapment, at p. 963:
[I]f the law enforcement officer or agent appeals to a person’s instincts of compassion, sympathy and friendship and uses these qualities of a person to effect the commission of a crime, we may say this is not permissible conduct because it violates individual privacy and the dignity of interpersonal relationships, and condemns behaviour that we want to encourage.
 This court recently summarized the branches of the entrapment doctrine in R. v. Ahmad, 2018 ONCA 534, 141 O.R. (3d) 241, at para. 32, rev’d in part but not on this point, 2020 SCC 11:
In Mack, at pp. 964-65, the Supreme Court set out the two principal categories of entrapment. The defence is available when either:
1) “the authorities provide a person with an opportunity to commit an offence without acting on a reasonable suspicion that this person is already engaged in criminal activity or pursuant to a bona fide inquiry”; or
2) “although having such a reasonable suspicion or acting in the course of a bona fide inquiry, they go beyond providing an opportunity and induce the commission of an offence.”
 At para. 31 of Ahmad, this court explained the onus on the accused in an entrapment application:
[G]iven the serious nature of an entrapment allegation and the substantial leeway given to the state to develop techniques to fight crime, a finding of entrapment and a stay of proceedings should be granted only in the “clearest of cases”: Mack, at pp. 975-76. The accused must establish the defence on a balance of probabilities: Mack, at p. 975.
 In R. v. Barnes, 1991 CanLII 84 (SCC),  1 S.C.R. 449, the Supreme Court affirmed the “basic rule” articulated in Mack, that “the police may only present the opportunity to commit a particular crime to an individual who arouses a suspicion that he or she is already engaged in the particular criminal activity”: at p. 463. It also affirmed an exception to this rule where police are undertaking “a bona fide investigation directed at an area where it is reasonably suspected that criminal activity is occurring”: at p. 463. Where police neither have reasonable suspicion of an individual already engaged in crime, nor are investigating a location that is reasonably suspected of being a hub of criminal activity, presenting an opportunity to commit a particular crime amounts to random virtue testing, and is not permitted. The Supreme Court most recently affirmed these principles in Ahmad, in which a majority of the court held that the entrapment framework from Mack has “stood the test of time” and applies with full force to contexts such as child luring: at para. 23.
 In this appeal, there was no allegation that the police acted in a way to induce the appellant to commit an offence. The application turned solely on the first branch: whether the police provided the appellant with an opportunity to commit an offence, and if so, whether the police were undertaking a bona fide investigation in an area where they had a reasonable suspicion that crime was occurring. It is common ground that the police had no individualized reasonable suspicion that the appellant himself was engaged in criminal activity when PC Hutchinson responded to his question “asl?”.
Much of the entrapment case law focuses on the distinction between presenting an individual with an opportunity to commit an offence, and merely taking a step in investigating criminal activity. The former is entrapment unless the police first have reasonable suspicion. The latter is permissible police conduct
The narrow conception of “providing an opportunity” excludes investigative techniques where the originating criminal spark comes from the accused
 Much of the entrapment case law focuses on the distinction between presenting an individual with an opportunity to commit an offence, and merely taking a step in investigating criminal activity. The former is entrapment unless the police first have reasonable suspicion. The latter is permissible police conduct.
 The case law has struggled to articulate the basis for the distinction, preferring to make concrete factual findings about what has constituted an opportunity and what has not. This court recognized that the distinction will “sometimes be difficult to draw”: R. v. Bayat, 2011 ONCA 778, 108 O.R. (3d) 420, at para. 19. One source of the difficulty is that, conceptually, providing an individual with an opportunity to commit an offence is, in a literal sense, a step in investigating criminal activity. If such a broad conception of “providing an opportunity” were to be adopted, the distinction would collapse. As one commentator has pointed out, “the mere presence of a plainclothes officer creates an opportunity, loosely defined, for someone to offer them illegal drugs and thereby commit an offence”: Brent Kettles, “The Entrapment Defence in Internet Child Luring Cases” (2011) 16 Can. Crim. L. Rev. 89, at p. 91.
 The case law, however, has specified a narrow conception of “providing an opportunity,” with the analysis often focusing on whether the police or the accused took the initiative in the interaction and when: Bayat; R. v. Imoro, 2010 ONCA 122, 251 C.C.C. (3d) 131; R. v. Swan, 2009 BCCA 142, 244 C.C.C. (3d) 198. The narrow conception of “providing an opportunity” excludes investigative techniques where the originating criminal spark comes from the accused.
 The trial judge held that the police did not provide an opportunity to commit the offence. At paras. 51-55 of the Entrapment Ruling, he pointed to several facts in support of this conclusion, including:
(1) it was the appellant who initiated the conversation with Mia;
(2) it was the appellant who asked Mia’s age; and
(3) it was the appellant who, being repeatedly told Mia was 14, turned the conversation to sexual inquiries.
 The trial judge drew support from Bayat for the proposition that where it is the accused who takes the lead in conversation and turns it toward the commission of an offence, the police have not provided the accused with an opportunity to commit the offence: Entrapment Ruling, at para. 54; Bayat, at para. 21.
 The appellant argues that the trial judge used an inappropriately narrow conception of providing an opportunity. The appellant argues that the conception of an opportunity to commit an offence from Mack is the mere chance to commit an offence, such that the moment the appellant was confronted with a 14-year-old girl in a place where he had no reason to expect to meet a 14-year-old girl, he was provided with an opportunity to commit an offence. But for the presence of a 14-year-old girl in an adult chat room, he argues, he would not have had an opportunity to commit the offence of luring a 14-year-old girl.
 In support of the argument for this broad conception of providing an opportunity, the appellant argues that on the narrower conception, the category of taking an investigative step would expand and the category of providing an opportunity would effectively disappear. The entrapment doctrine would collapse into inducing the offence, which is always prohibited, and taking an investigative step, which is generally permitted even without reasonable suspicion.
 The broad conception of “providing an opportunity” advanced by the appellant is a lonely one, unsupported by the case law and conflicting with binding authority. On this basis alone, the appeal must fail.
 Providing an opportunity is not established by but-for causation – that but for the presence of the investigating officer posing as a 14-year-old girl, the appellant would not have had the opportunity to commit the offence. In Ahmad, this court cautioned against “an overly technical approach to the entrapment doctrine” that detaches the doctrine from its purpose of preventing police investigations that offend against decency and fair play: at para. 39.
 In Ahmad, the Supreme Court held that in order to allow the police flexibility to investigate crime, an officer’s actions must be “sufficiently proximate to conduct that would satisfy the elements of the offence” in order to constitute an opportunity: at para. 64. In this case, the offence was not in talking with a 14-year-old girl. The offence was communicating with a child for the purposes of committing an offence, such as sexual touching. The appellant’s argument could only succeed, it seems to me, in a world where any 14-year-old girl who agrees to chat on-line with an adult male in a general interest chat room thereby communicates that she is potentially receptive to a sexual encounter. That is not our world.
 Accordingly, I do not agree that the trial judge committed any error. Where, as here, the police conduct is nothing other than placing a potential victim in an accused’s line of vision, and where the accused is given no reason to believe that the victim would be a willing participant in the offence committed, the police have not provided an opportunity to commit an offence. It was the appellant who initiated contact with the undercover officer masquerading as a 14-year-old girl. It was the appellant who sought to ascertain her age. Having learned that she was underage, it was the appellant who ventured into sexual topics and suggested an in-person meeting. Throughout these interactions, the undercover officer repeatedly raised the issue of the fictional victim’s youth, but the appellant persisted.