|s. 449, 450, and 452 of the Crim. Code|
|Election / Plea|
Sup. Court w/ Jury (*)
|Types of Release||Judicial Release Only|
|Maximum||14 years incarceration|
- 1 Overview
- 2 Offence Wording
- 3 Proof of the Offence
- 4 Interpretation of the Offence
- 5 Digests
- 6 Participation of Third Parties
- 7 Sentencing Principles and Ranges
- 8 Ancillary Sentencing Orders
- 9 See Also
Offences relating to counterfeiting are found in Part XII of the Criminal Code relating to "Offences Relating to Currency".
|Offence(s)|| Attendance Notice
| Release By
On Attendance Notice
| Release By
On a Promise to Appear
Undertaking or Recognizance
| Release By
a Judge or Justice
on a PTA, Undertaking or Recog.
| Direct to Attend |
for Fingerprints, etc.
Identification of Criminals Act
s. 2 ID Crim. Act
|s. 449, 450, or 452|
When charged under s. 449, 450, or 452, the accused cannot be released by police under s. 497 or 498 and so must be held in custody when arrested. They must then be brought before a judge or justice under s. 503 and are only to be released by an order of a judge or justice pursuant to s. 515. A youth will be subject to a maximum penalty of 3 years under s. 42(15) of the Youth Criminal Justice Act and so may be given an attendance notice or a summons without a s. 496 arrest, and if arrested, can be released by the arresting officer under s. 497 on a attendance notice or by an officer-in-charge under s. 498 on a promise to appear or recognizance. The youth can also be released by an order of a judge or justice under s. 515.
If police decide to bring the accused before a Justice pursuant to s. 503, there will be a presumption against bail (i.e. a reverse onus) if the offence, prosecuted by indictment, was committed:
- while at large under s. 515 [bail release], 679 or 680 [release pending appeal or review of appeal] (s. 515(6)(a)(i));
- "for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association" with a criminal organization (s. 515(6)(a)(ii));
- where the offence involved a firearm, cross-bow, prohibited weapon restricted weapon, prohibited device, ammunition, prohibited ammunition or explosive substance, while the accused was subject to a prohibition order preventing possession of these items (s. 515(6)(a)(viii)); or
- where the accused is not "ordinarily a resident in Canada" (s. 515(6)(b)).
A peace officer who charges a person under s. 449, 450, or 452 of the Code can require that person to attend for the taking of fingerprints, photographs or other similar recordings that are used to identify them under the Identification of Criminals Act.
For all offences there is a discretionary general publication ban available on application of the Crown, victim or witness to prohibit the publishing of "any information that could identify the victim or witness" under s. 486.5(1) where it is "necessary" for the "proper administration of justice". Other available publication bans include prohibitions for publishing evidence or other information arising from a bail hearing (s. 517), preliminary inquiry (s. 539) or jury trial (s. 648). There is a mandatory publication ban in all youth prosecutions on information tending to identify young accused under s. 110 of the YCJA or young victims under s. 111 of the YCJA.
Offences under s. 449, 450, and 452 are designated offences eligible for wiretap under s. 183.
See below in Ancillary Sentencing Orders for details on designations relating to sentencing orders.
449. Every one who makes or begins to make counterfeit money is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years.
R.S., c. C-34, s. 407.
Possession, etc., of counterfeit money
450. Every one who, without lawful justification or excuse, the proof of which lies on him,
- (a) buys, receives or offers to buy or receive,
- (b) has in his custody or possession, or
- (c) introduces into Canada,
counterfeit money is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years.
R.S., c. C-34, s. 408.
Uttering, etc., counterfeit money
452. Every one who, without lawful justification or excuse, the proof of which lies on him,
- (a) utters or offers to utter counterfeit money or uses counterfeit money as if it were genuine, or
- (b) exports, sends or takes counterfeit money out of Canada,
is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years.
R.S., c. C-34, s. 410.
Proof of the Offence
Proving making counterfeit money under s. 449 should include:
Proving possession counterfeit money under s. 450 should include:
Proving uttering counterfeit money under s. 452 should include:
Interpretation of the Offence
A lack of intention to spend the money is not a defence.
An intention "not intend to use [coins] as currency" but rather to "hold" coins "for the purpose of selling them as numismatic curiosities" is not a valid defence.
It is a defence to raise a doubt that the accused knew of the "counterfeit nature" of the money.
The reverse onus found in s. 450, 451, 452, and 454 do not violate s. 11(d) of the Charter.
448. In this Part,
“counterfeit money” includes
- (a) a false coin or false paper money that resembles or is apparently intended to resemble or pass for a current coin or current paper money,
- (b) a forged bank-note or forged blank bank-note, whether complete or incomplete,
- (c) a genuine coin or genuine paper money that is prepared or altered to resemble or pass for a current coin or current paper money of a higher denomination,
- (d) a current coin from which the milling is removed by filing or cutting the edges and on which new milling is made to restore its appearance,
- (e) a coin cased with gold, silver or nickel, as the case may be, that is intended to resemble or pass for a current gold, silver or nickel coin, and
- (f) a coin or a piece of metal or mixed metals that is washed or coloured by any means with a wash or material capable of producing the appearance of gold, silver or nickel and that is intended to resemble or pass for a current gold, silver or nickel coin;
R.S., c. C-34, s. 406.
The Crown must prove that the accused had knowledge that the bill was counterfeit at the time it was in his possession.
Proof of Counterfeit Character
Special Provisions as to Proof
When counterfeit complete
461 (1) Every offence relating to counterfeit money or counterfeit tokens of value shall be deemed to be complete notwithstanding that the money or tokens of value in respect of which the proceedings are taken are not finished or perfected or do not copy exactly the money or tokens of value that they are apparently intended to resemble or for which they are apparently intended to pass.
Certificate of examiner of counterfeit
(2) In any proceedings under this Part, a certificate signed by a person designated as an examiner of counterfeit by the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, stating that any coin, paper money or bank-note described therein is counterfeit money or that any coin, paper money or bank-note described therein is genuine and is or is not, as the case may be, current in Canada or elsewhere, is evidence of the statements contained in the certificate without proof of the signature or official character of the person appearing to have signed the certificate.
Cross-examination and notice
(3) Subsections 258(6) and (7) apply, with such modifications as the circumstances require, in respect of a certificate described in subsection (2).
R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 461; 1992, c. 1, s. 58; 2005, c. 10, s. 34.
Section 448 defines "current" as "lawfully current in Canada or elsewhere by virtue of a law, proclamation or regulation in force in Canada or elsewhere as the case may be;"
Section 448 states that “utter” "includes sell, pay, tender and put off."
Section 2 defines "bank-note".
Participation of Third Parties
Certain persons who testify are entitled to make application for the use of testimonial aids: Exclusion of Public (s. 486), Use of a Testimonial Screen (s. 486), Access to Support Person While Testifying (s. 486.1), Close Proximity Video-link Testimony (s. 486.2), Self-Represented Cross-Examination Prohibition Order (s. 486.3), and Witness Security Order (s. 486.7).
A witness, victim or complainant may also request publication bans (s. 486.4, 486.5) and/or a Witness Identity Non-disclosure Order (s. 486.31). See also, Publication Bans, above.
On Finding of Guilt
Under s. 738, a judge must inquire from the Crown before sentencing whether "reasonable steps have been taken to provide the victims with an opportunity to indicate whether they are seeking restitution for their losses and damages".
Under s. 722(2), the judge must inquire "[a]s soon as feasible" before sentencing with the Crown "if reasonable steps have been taken to provide the victim with an opportunity to prepare" a victim impact statement. This will include any person "who has suffered, or is alleged to have suffered, physical or emotional harm, property damage or economic loss" as a result of the offence. Individuals representing a community impacted by the crime may file a statement under s. 722.2.
Sentencing Principles and Ranges
|s. 449, 450 and 452||N/A||14 years custody|
Offences under s. 449, 450 and 452 are straight indictable. The maximum penalty is 14 years incarceration.
These offences have no mandatory minimum penalties.
s. 718.3, 787
| Custody and
| Custody and
| Conditional |
|s. 449, 450, 452||N/A|
If convicted under s. 449, 450 or 452 a discharge is not available under s. 730(1) as it is "an offence for which a minimum punishment is prescribed by law or an offence punishable by imprisonment for fourteen years or for life". Offences under these sections are ineligible for a conditional sentence order under s. 742.1(c), when prosecuted by indictment, as the maximum period of incarceration is 14 years or life.
There are no statutory requirements that the sentences be consecutive.
Counterfeiting is seen as a deliberate and sophisticated crime. The main motivator is typically greed.
In circumstances of major offences, the Crown has presented evidence of the prevalence and effect of counterfeiting in Canada and the World.
- R v Flynn, 2012 BCPC 313 (CanLII)
- see also: Counterfeiting (Sentencing Cases)
Ancillary Sentencing Orders
462. (1) Counterfeit money, counterfeit tokens of value and anything that is used or is intended to be used to make counterfeit money or counterfeit tokens of value belong to Her Majesty.
(2) A peace officer may seize and detain
- (a) counterfeit money,
- (b) counterfeit tokens of value, and
- (c) machines, engines, tools, instruments, materials or things that have been used or that have been adapted and are intended for use in making counterfeit money or counterfeit tokens of value,
and anything seized shall be sent to the Minister of Finance to be disposed of or dealt with as he may direct, but anything that is required as evidence in any proceedings shall not be sent to the Minister until it is no longer required in those proceedings.
R.S., c. C-34, s. 420.
|DNA Orders||s. 449, 450 or 452||
|Forfeiture or Seized Counterfeit Items (s. 463)|
General Sentencing Orders
|Non-communication order while offender in custody (s. 743.21)||any||The judge has discretion to order that the offender be prohibited "from communicating...with any victim, witness or other person" while in custody except where the judge "considers [it] necessary" to communicate with them.|
|Restitution Orders (s. 738)||any||A discretionary Order is available for things such as the replacement value of the property; the pecuniary damages incurred from harm, expenses fleeing a domestic partner; or certain expenses arising from the commission of an offence under s.402.2 or 403.|
|Victim Fine Surcharge (s. 737)||any||A mandatory surcharge under s. 737 of 30% of any fine order imposed, $100 per summary conviction or $200 per indictable conviction. If offence occurs on or after October 23, 2013, the order is discretionary based on ability to pay and the minimum amounts are smaller (15%, $50, or $100).|
General Forfeiture Orders
|Forfeiture of Proceeds of Crime (s. 462.37(1) or (2.01))||any||Where there is a finding of guilt for an indictable offence under the Code or the CDSA in which property is "proceeds of crime" and offence was "committed in relation to that property", the property shall be forfeited to Her Majesty the Queen on application of the Crown.|
|Fine in Lieu of Forfeiture (s. 462.37(3))||any||Where a Court is satisfied an order for the forfeiture of proceeds of crime under s. 462.37(1) or (2.01) can be made, but that property cannot be "made subject to an order", then the Court "may" order a fine in "an amount equal to the value of the property". Failure to pay the fine will result in a default judgement imposing a period of incarceration.|
|Forfeiture of Weapons or Firearms (s. 491)||any||Where there is finding of guilt for an offence where a "weapon, an imitation firearm, a prohibited device, any ammunition, any prohibited ammunition or an explosive substance was used in the commission of [the] offence and that thing has been seized and detained", or "that a person has committed an offence that involves, or the subject-matter of which is, a firearm, a cross-bow, a prohibited weapon, a restricted weapon, a prohibited device, ammunition, prohibited ammunition or an explosive substance has been seized and detained, that the item be an enumerated weapon or related item be connected to the offence", then there will be a mandatory forfeiture order. However, under s. 491(2), if the lawful owner "was not a party to the offence" and the judge has "no reasonable grounds to believe that the thing would or might be used in the commission of an offence", then it should be returned to the lawful owner.|
|Forfeiture of Offence-related Property (s. 490.1)||any||Where there is a finding of guilt for an indictable offence, "any property is offence-related property" where (a) by means or in respect of which an indictable offence under this Act or the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act is committed, (b) that is used in any manner in connection with the commission of such an offence, or (c) that is intended to be used for committing such an offence". Such property is to be forfeited to Her Majesty in right of the province.|