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Criminal Code (Canada)
Criminal Code (Canada)

The Criminal Code[1] (French: Code criminel[2]) is a law that codifies most criminal offences and procedures in Canada. Its official long title is "An Act respecting the criminal law" (R.S.C. 1985, c. C-46, as amended). Section 91(27) of the Constitution Act, 1867 establishes the sole jurisdiction of Parliament over criminal law in Canada.

The Criminal Code contains some defences, but most are part of the common law rather than statute. Important Canadian criminal laws not forming part of the code include the Firearms Act, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Canada Evidence Act, the Food and Drugs Act, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and the Contraventions Act.

One of the conveniences of the Criminal Code was that it constituted the principle that no person would be able to be convicted of a crime unless otherwise specifically outlined and stated in a statute. This legal document has played a major part in Canada's history and has also helped form other legal acts and laws, for example, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.[3]


The main body of the Criminal Code is divided into the following major components:

  • Part I – General
  • Part II – Offences Against Public Order
  • Part II.1 – Terrorism
  • Part III – Firearms and Other Weapons
  • Part IV – Offences Against the Administration of Law and Justice
  • Part V – Sexual Offences, Public Morals and Disorderly Conduct
  • Part VI – Invasion of Privacy
  • Part VII – Disorderly Houses, Gaming and Betting
  • Part VIII – Offences Against the Person and Reputation
  • Part VIII.1 - Offences Relating to Conveyances
  • Part IX – Offences Against Rights of Property
  • Part X – Fraudulent Transactions Relating to Contracts and Trade
  • Part XI – Wilful and Forbidden Acts in Respect of Certain Property
  • Part XII – Offences Relating to Currency
  • Part XII.2 – Proceeds of Crime
  • Part XIII – Attempts-Conspiracies-Accessories
  • Part XIV – Jurisdiction
  • Part XV – Special Procedure and Powers
  • Part XVI – Compelling Appearance of an Accused Before a Justice and Interim Release
  • Part XVII – Language of Accused
  • Part XVIII – Procedure on Preliminary Inquiry
  • Part XVIII.1 - Case Management Judge
  • Part XIX – Indictable Offences-Trial Without a Jury
  • Part XIX.1 – Nunavut Court of Justice
  • Part XX – Procedure in Jury Trials and General Provisions
  • Part XX.1 – Mental Disorder
  • Part XXI – Appeals-Indictable Offences
  • Part XXI.1 – Applications for Ministerial Review-Miscarriages of Justice
  • Part XXII – Procuring Attendance
  • Part XXII.1 - Remediation Agreements
  • Part XXIII – Sentencing
  • Part XXIV – Dangerous Offenders and Long-Term Offenders
  • Part XXV – Effect and Enforcement of Recognizances
  • Part XXVI – Extraordinary Remedies
  • Part XXVII – Summary Convictions
  • Part XXVIII – Miscellaneous

The main body is followed by schedules (i.e. appendices) relating to some of the above-mentioned Parts and a series of prescribed legal forms, such as Form 5 which sets out the proper legal wording for a search warrant.

History and evolution

The Criminal Code has been revised numerous times, and has also seen its application affected by other significant legislation:

See also

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