Types of Offences
Procedurally, there are three classes of offence:
There is a further division between offences that are divided between full criminal offences and those that are "quasi-criminal" or regulatory. Those that are in the latter category are often provincially legislated offences, such as provincial Occupational Health and Safety legislation. They will always be classified as a form of summary offence.
Any offence which is not explicitly described as an indictment or indictable offence is a summary offence.
Penalties associated with provincial offences have a maximum penalty range from 6 months to 2 years less a day.
Procedure for Summary Offences is governed by Part XXVII of the Code entitled "Summary Convictions".
- see s. 34(1)(b) of the Interpretation Act, RSC 1985, c I-21 which reads "Where an enactment creates an offence,...the offence is deemed to be one for which the offender is punishable on summary conviction if there is nothing in the context to indicate that the offence is an indictable offence;"
s. 787 of the Code designates "summary conviction" offences as having maximum penalty of a fine and/or 6 months imprisonment
see also Maximum and Minimum Sentences
- see s. 785 to 840
Procedure for Indictable Offences to be tried by a judge without a jury is governed by Part XIX of the Code entitled "Indictable Offences — Trial Without Jury". Procedure for indictable offences with a jury are governed by Part XX of the Code entitled "Procedure in Jury Trials and General Provisions".
The maximum penalties for indictable offences will vary by increments of 2 or more years. The maximum sentences include 2, 5, 7, 10, or 14 years or life.
- see s. 552 to 573.2
- see s. 574 to 672.95
Section 469 Offences
Court of criminal jurisdiction
469 Every court of criminal jurisdiction has jurisdiction to try an indictable offence other than
- (a) an offence under any of the following sections:
- (i) section 47 (treason),
- (ii) section 49 (alarming Her Majesty),
- (iii) section 51 (intimidating Parliament or a legislature),
- (iv) section 53 (inciting to mutiny),
- (v) section 61 (seditious offences),
- (vi) section 74 (piracy),
- (vii) section 75 (piratical acts), or
- (viii) section 235 (murder);
- (b) the offence of being an accessory after the fact to high treason or treason or murder;
- (c) an offence under section 119 (bribery) by the holder of a judicial office;
Crimes against humanity
- (c.1) an offence under any of sections 4 to 7 of the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act;
- (d) the offence of attempting to commit any offence mentioned in subparagraphs (a)(i) to (vii); or
- (e) the offence of conspiring to commit any offence mentioned in paragraph (a).
R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 469; R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 62; 2000, c. 24, s. 44.
Hybrid or Electable Offences
Under s. 34(1)(a) of the Interpretation Act, a hybrid offence is deemed to be treated as indictable until such time as a summary election is made. This principle has a number of effects. It means that the many powers of police in relation to indictable offences will include hybrid offences for the purpose of their investigation. It also means that the requirements of personal attendance at court for indictable offences applies well. Anywhere in the Code that refers to "indictable offences" will include hybrid offences.
A conviction for a hybrid offence elected as a summary conviction cannot be treated as an indictable offence.
- s. 34(1)(a) reads "Where an enactment creates an offence,...the offence is deemed to be an indictable offence if the enactment provides that the offender may be prosecuted of the offence by indictment."
- section 34(1)(c) of the Interpretation Act