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Canadian Criminal Law

Canadian Criminal Law Topics on this page:

Criminal Law

Types of Offences

Procedure if an an offence is Alleged

Young Offenders




Links to More Information

Canadian Criminal Law


Canadian Criminal law is concerned with acts or omissions deemed illegal by legislature. Criminal law offences range from crimes such as murder, assault, robbery and theft to driving with a blood alcohol level over the legal limit.

In Canada criminal law is enacted by the Federal Parliament. Canadian Criminal Law procedure in Canada is concerned with:


Canadian Criminal Law - Types of Offences

Offences are set out in the The Canadian Criminal Code
and are divided into two broad types: "summary" and "indictable". Summary offences tend to be less serious ones, indictable more serious.


Canadian Criminal Law - Procedure if an an offence is Alleged

Complaint is Sworn
The police swear a complaint and present it to a judge. If the judge feels the person should be made to come and answer the accusation that has been made the judge will issue either a summons, or a warrant for arrest.

A summons is usually delivered personally by a police officer. It sets out what the charge is, and when the person must appear in court to answer the charge. If the offence charged is one that can be proceeded with by indictment, the person may also be told to go to the police station for finger-printing. Failure to show up for finger-printing can lead to a warrant for arrest being issued.

An arrest can be made by the police under the following circumstances:

Conduct of Police after the Arrest

Conduct of Arrested Person
An arrested person is not obliged to answer questions put to him or her by the police. This is a right of the person and no blame or suspicion will be placed on the person for exercising this right.

The best action the arrested person can take is to get advice from a lawyer as soon as possible, and before talking to the police.

Lawyers may recommend making a limited statement in some circumstances:

First Appearance at Court

After a person has been arrested he is entitled to appear promptly before a judge to answer any charges that are being laid. The person is to appear before a judge within 24 hours. The person is entitled to have a lawyer to speak to whether the person should be released and, if so, whether there should be bail.

The first court appearance may result in the following:


Canadian Criminal Law - Young Offenders

We have a separate page on this Topic

Canadian Criminal Law - Parole

The Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA) was enacted on November 1, 1992.

Who has jurisdiction?

The National Parole Board (NPB/Board) is an independent administrative tribunal that has exclusive authority under the Corrections and Conditional Release Act to grant, deny, cancel, terminate or revoke day parole and full parole. The NPB may also order certain offenders to be held in prison until the end of their sentence.

The National Parole Board has an operating budget of more than $30 million a year. There are about 95 board members; 45 full-time members and 50 part-time. Besides the members, the Board employs 285 people at the national and in the five regional offices. The Board makes about 25,000 decisions a year. At any given time, about 9,500 people are serving out their sentences in the community under supervision.

British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec have their own parole boards that have authority to grant releases to offenders serving less than two years in prison.

The Board's Primary Objective
The Board'sprimary objective is the long term protection of society. The NPB believes that law-abiding behaviour can best be achieved by timely and supervised conditional release and the effective administration of sentences.

National Parole Board Offices

The NPB'snational office is located in Ottawa and there are five regional offices located in: Moncton (New Brunswick), Montreal (Quebec), Kingston (Ontario), Saskatoon (Saskatchewan), Abbotsford (British Columbia) and Edmonton (Alberta). The Appeal Division of the Board is also located in the national office.

The National Parole Board deals with early release programmes as follows:

The Role and Entitlement of Victims and the Public

Victims have the legal right to receive information about specific offenders. The Act requires the NPB to disclose information about an offender when victims, as defined by the Act, request it. Victims are also allowed to submit an impact statement in writing for the Board's consideration in its decision-making.

The Act also provides the NPB with authority to permit observers at hearings. Victims and victims' groups have represented 40 per cent of the observers at hearings. The legislation also makes it possible for other interested parties, including the media and members of the general public, to attend parole hearings as observers.


Canadian Criminal Law - Pardons

What They Do:

What They Don't Do:

More information and to how to apply for a pardon.


Canadian Criminal Law Extradition

Extradition is covered by the Extradition Act, which came into force in 1999.

Extradition from Canada
A foreign country or entity is allowed to make a request for extradition of a person who is wanted to stand trial or to serve a sentence, under the following conditions:

Arrest Procedure

Procedure if the Authority to Proceed is Issued

Procedure at the Extradition Hearing

Canadian Criminal Law - Procedure if Surrender is Ordered

The Minister of Justice makes the decision with respect to whether the person will be surrendered to the extradition partner. At this phase of the process, commonly referred to as the executive or ministerial phase, the Minister will receive and consider any submissions from the person committed for extradition or counsel with respect to why he or she should not be surrendered, or concerning any conditions that should be attached to the surrender.

Possible Appeals

The person may appeal the decision of the extradition judge and/or apply for judicial review of the Minister's decision to a Court of Appeal. If the appellate Court upholds the decisions of the extradition judge and the Minister, the person may seek leave to appeal either or both decisions to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Extradition to Canada

The extradition process is also used when Canada requires the extradition of a person to Canada from another country to stand trial or serve a sentence in Canada:


Canadian Criminal Law - Links to More Information

The Canadian Criminal Code

More Information and to how to apply for a pardon.

Extradition Act


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