|This page was last substantively updated or reviewed August 2022. (Rev. # 85759)|
|Public Incitement of Hatred|
|s. 319 of the Crim. Code|
|Election / Plea|
summary proceedings must initiate within 12 months of the offence (786(2))
Sup. Court w/ Jury (*)
|Avail. Disp.||Discharge (730)|
Conditional Sentence (742.1)
|Maximum||2 years less a day jail and/or a $5,000 fine (from Sept 19, 2019)|
|Avail. Disp.||same as summary|
|Maximum||2, 5 years incarceration|
Offences relating to public incitement of hatred are found in Part VIII of the Criminal Code concerning "Offences Against the Person and Reputation".
|Crown Election||Defence Election
|s. 318 [advocating genocide]||Indictable Offence(s)||N/A||(under 14 years max)|
|s. 319(1) [public incitement of hatred] and
s. 319(2) [wilful promotion of hatred]
|Hybrid Offence(s)||(* only if Crown proceeds by Indictment)||(under 14 years max)|
Offences under s. 318 [advocating genocide] are straight indictable. There is a Defence election of Court under s. 536(2) to trial in provincial court, superior court with a judge-alone or superior court with judge-and-jury.
Offences under s. 319(1) [public incitement of hatred] and (2) [wilful promotion of hatred] are hybrid with a Crown election. If prosecuted by indictment, there is a Defence election of Court under s. 536(2) to trial by provincial court, superior court judge-alone or superior court judge-and-jury.
by Peace Officer
by Judge or Justice
s. 508(1), 512(1), or 788
s. 498, 499, and 501
a Judge or Justice
on a Release Order
s. 515 to 519
|Direct to Attend |
for Fingerprints, etc.
Identification of Criminals Act
s. 2 ID Crim. Act
|s. 318 [advocating genocide]
s. 319 [public incitement of hatred and wilful promotion of hatred]
When charged under s. 318 [advocating genocide], 319(1) [public incitement of hatred] and (2) [wilful promotion of hatred] , the accused can be given an appearance notice without arrest under s. 497 or a summons. If arrested, he can be released by the arresting officer under s. 498 or 499 on an undertaking with or without conditions. He can also be released by a justice under s. 515.
- Reverse Onus Bail
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)).
- Fingerprints and Photos
A peace officer who charges a person under s. 318 and 319 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.
- Publication Bans
For all criminal or regulatory prosecutions, 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.
- Offence Designations
|AG Consent Required||Serious Criminality|
s. 36 IRPA
|s. 318 [advocating genocide]||(under 10 years max)|
|s. 319(1) [public incitement of hatred] and
s. 319(2) [wilful promotion of hatred]
|(under 10 years max)|
Offences under s. 318 [advocating genocide] and 319(1) and (2) require the consent of the Attorney General to prosecute.
See below in Ancillary Sentencing Orders for details on designations relating to sentencing orders.
Draft Form of Charges
|"THAT [accused full name] stands charged that, between the <DATE> day of <MONTH>, <YEAR> and <DATE> day of <MONTH>, <YEAR>***, at or near <COMMUNITY/TOWN/CITY>, <PROVINCE>, he [or she]..." OR|
|"THAT [accused full name] stands charged that, on or about the <DATE> day of <MONTH>, <YEAR>, at or near <COMMUNITY/TOWN/CITY>, <PROVINCE>, he [or she]..." OR|
|"AND FURTHER at the same time and place aforesaid, he [or she]..."|
|Code Section||Subject of Offence||Draft Wording|
|318||advocating genocide||"..., did advocate or promote genocide, to wit: [describe the conduct], contrary to section 318 of the Criminal Code."|
|319(1)||public incitement of hatred||"..., in a public place, did by communicating statements, to wit: [describe statement], incite hatred against an identifiable group, to wit: [group], with the likelihood of leading to a breach of peace contrary to section 319(1) of the Criminal Code."|
|319(2)||wilful promotion of hatred||"..., by communicating statements, to wit: [describe conduct], wilfully promote hatred against an identifiable group, to wit: [group], contrary to section 319(2) of the Criminal Code."|
|319(2.1)||Wilful promotion of antisemitism||"..., contrary to section 319(2.1) of the Criminal Code."|
Proof of the Offence
Proving advocating genocide under s. 318 should include:
Proving Public incitement of hatred under s. 319(1) should include:
Proving Public incitement of hatred under s. 319(2) should include:
Draft Form of Charges
Interpretation of the Offence
Promotion of Hatred
Wilful promotion of hatred requires the Crown to prove "beyond a reasonable doubt that the [accused] made some or all of the statements alleged in the information and whether the statements made, as a matter of fact, promoted hatred of the [identifiable group]".
- Totality of Circumstances
The judge must consider the "totality of the evidence".
This may include factors such as:
- terminology and history of the ethnic group
- Location where the rally was held
- actions and speech of the rally members
- the contexts fo the speech or words spoken
- symbols and banners
- the "ethnic flavour" of the event
- Mens Rea
The minimum mens rea required is wilful blindness and not mere reckelssness.
This should require:
- a subjective realization
- of the likely result of his actions
- deliberately avoid actual knowledge while engaging in or pursuing the activity.
- R v Krymowski, 2005 SCC 7 (CanLII),  1 SCR 101, per Charron J
Krymowski, ibid., at para 19
R v Ahenakew, 2008 SKCA 4 (CanLII), 227 CCC (3d) 428, per Richards JA (3:0), at para 21 (" in considering a charge under s. 319(2), a trial judge must consider not only the words used by the accused, but the circumstances and context in which they were spoken.")
- Krymowski, ibid., at para 19
- R v Harding, 2001 CanLII 21272 (ON CA), 160 CCC (3d) 225, per Weiler JA (3:0)
- Harding, ibid., at para 63
The offence under s. 319 only concerns the "most intense forms of dislike".
The section does not require proof that the communication caused actual hatred or violence.
- Wilful Promotion
It is necessary for the Crown to prove that:
- the accused's "conscious purpose .. was to promote hatred against [the identifiable group]", or
- "they foresaw that the promotion of hatred against that group was certain or morally certain to result from the [prohibited act]" despite doing the act "as a means of achieving" an ancillary purpose
Section 319(2) was found to violate the freedom of expression under .s 2(b) but was upheld under s. 1.
The reverse onus found in s. 319(3)(a) violates the presumption of innocence under s.11(d) of the Charter but was upheld as a reasonable limitation.
- Mugesera v Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2005 SCC 40 (CanLII),  2 SCR 100, per McLachlin C.J. and Major, Bastarache, Binnie, LeBel, Deschamps, Fish and Charron JJ
- Mugesera, ibid.
- R v Buzzanga and Durocher, 1979 CanLII 1927 (ON CA), 49 CCC (2d) 369, per Martin JA
- R v Keegstra, 1990 CanLII 24 (SCC),  3 SCR 697, per Dickson CJ
- R v Keegstra, 1996 CanLII 221 (SCC),  1 SCR 458, per Iacobucci J
Promotion of Hatred
The promotion of hatred is a question of fact determined by the judge.
"The word ‘promotes’ indicates active support or instigation" as well as "foment or stir up". It "indicates more than simple encouragement or advancement."
To promote hatred, more than "mere encouragement" is required.
It is not necessary to prove that the communication actually caused hatred.
To determine whether the communication promotes hatred the court must "consider the [communication] objectively but with regard for the circumstances in which the [communication] was given, the manner and tone used, and the persons to whom the message was addressed." The standard is different from the "reasonable observer" standard as it takes into account the nature of the audience itself.
- R v Krymowski, 2005 SCC 7 (CanLII),  1 SCR 101, per Charron J, at para 18
- R v Keegstra, 1990 CanLII 24 (SCC),  3 SCR 697, per Dickson CJ, at pp. 776-777
- Mugesera v Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2005 SCC 40 (CanLII),  2 SCR 100, per McLachlin C.J. and Major, Bastarache, Binnie, LeBel, Deschamps, Fish and Charron JJ at 100-7
- Mugesera, ibid., at paras 100 to 107
- Mugesera, ibid., at para 106
- Mugesera, ibid., at para 109
The offence under s. 319(2) excludes any communication that is in "private conversation".
This suggests that an "expression of hatred in a place accessible to the public is not sufficient". There needs to be a subjective mens rea, and as a result a "conversation or communication intended to be private does not satisfy the requirements of the provision if through accident or negligence an individual's expression of hatred for an identifiable group is made public."
The mens rea of the offence requires "either an intent to promote hatred or knowledge of the substantial certainty of such".
R v Keegstra, 1990 CanLII 24 (SCC),  3 SCR 697, per Dickson CJ at 785
Mugesera v Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2005 SCC 40 (CanLII),  2 SCR 100, per McLachlin C.J. and Major, Bastarache, Binnie, LeBel, Deschamps, Fish and Charron JJ, at para 104
- R v Harding, 2001 CanLII 28036 (ON SC), 40 CR (5th) 119, per Dambrot J and upheld at 2001 CanLII 21272 (ON CA), 160 CCC (3d) 225, per Weiler JA
- Harding, ibid.
The statutory defences are set out in s. 319 (b), which states:
Participation of Third Parties
- Testimonial Aids
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
s. 606(4.1) [SPIO]
for Interest in Agreement
s. 606(4.2) [5+ years]
|Victim Notice |
of Impact Statement
|s. 318 [advocating genocide]|
|s. 319 [public incitement of hatred and wilful promotion of hatred]|
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
- Maximum Penalties
|s. 318 [advocating genocide]||N/A||5 years incarceration|
|s. 319 [public incitement of hatred and wilful promotion of hatred]||summary election||2 years less a day jail and/or a $5,000 fine (from Sept 19, 2019)|
|s. 319 [public incitement of hatred and wilful promotion of hatred]||Indictment Election||2 years incarceration|
Offences under s. 318 [advocating genocide] are straight indictable. The maximum penalty is 5 years incarceration.
Offences under s. 319 [public incitement of hatred and wilful promotion of hatred] are hybrid. If prosecuted by indictment, the maximum penalty is 2 years incarceration. If prosecuted by summary conviction, the maximum penalty is 2 years less a day jail and/or a $5,000 fine (from Sept 19, 2019).
- Minimum Penalties
These offences have no mandatory minimum penalties.
- Available Dispositions
s. 718.3, 787
|s. 318 [advocating genocide]||N/A|
|s. 319 [public incitement of hatred and wilful promotion of hatred]||any|
All dispositions are available.The judge may order a discharge (s. 730), suspended sentence (s. 731(1)(a)), fine (s. 731(1)(b)), custody (s. 718.3, 787), custody with probation (s. 731(1)(b)), custody with a fine (s. 734), or a conditional sentence (s. 742.1).
- Consecutive Sentences
There are no statutory requirements that the sentences be consecutive.
Ancillary Sentencing Orders
- Offence-specific Orders
|DNA Orders||s. 318||
- General Sentencing Orders
|Non-communication order while offender in custody (s. 743.21)||any||The judge has the 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 discretionary surcharge under s. 737 of 30% of any fine order imposed, $100 per summary conviction or $200 per indictable conviction. If the offence occurs on or after October 23, 2013, the order has smaller minimum amounts (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 His Majesty the King on application of the Crown. NB: does not apply to summary offences.|
|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. NB: does not apply to summary offences.|
Section 319 provides its own manner of forfeiture:
Record Suspensions and Pardons
Convictions under s. 318 and 319 are eligible for record suspensions pursuant to s. 3 and 4 of the Criminal Records Act after 5 years after the expiration of sentence for summary conviction offences and 10 years after the expiration of sentence for all other offences. The offender may not have the record suspended where the offender was (1) convicted of 3 or more offences with a maximum penalty of life, and (2) for each 3 offences he "was sentenced to imprisonment for two years or more".
- Related Offences
- Publishing False News (s. 181)
- Defamation and Libel (s. 297 to 317)