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Criminal Code (R.S.C., 1985, c. C-46)

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Act current to 2022-09-11 and last amended on 2022-06-23. Previous Versions

PART VIIIOffences Against the Person and Reputation (continued)

Duties Tending to Preservation of Life (continued)

Marginal note:Duty of persons undertaking acts dangerous to life

 Every one who undertakes to administer surgical or medical treatment to another person or to do any other lawful act that may endanger the life of another person is, except in cases of necessity, under a legal duty to have and to use reasonable knowledge, skill and care in so doing.

  • R.S., c. C-34, s. 198

Marginal note:Duty of persons undertaking acts

 Every one who undertakes to do an act is under a legal duty to do it if an omission to do the act is or may be dangerous to life.

  • R.S., c. C-34, s. 199

Marginal note:Duty of persons directing work

 Every one who undertakes, or has the authority, to direct how another person does work or performs a task is under a legal duty to take reasonable steps to prevent bodily harm to that person, or any other person, arising from that work or task.

  • 2003, c. 21, s. 3

Marginal note:Abandoning child

 Every one who unlawfully abandons or exposes a child who is under the age of ten years, so that its life is or is likely to be endangered or its health is or is likely to be permanently injured,

  • (a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years; or

  • (b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

Criminal Negligence

Marginal note:Criminal negligence

  •  (1) Every one is criminally negligent who

    • (a) in doing anything, or

    • (b) in omitting to do anything that it is his duty to do,

    shows wanton or reckless disregard for the lives or safety of other persons.

  • Definition of duty

    (2) For the purposes of this section, duty means a duty imposed by law.

  • R.S., c. C-34, s. 202

Marginal note:Causing death by criminal negligence

 Every person who by criminal negligence causes death to another person is guilty of an indictable offence and liable

  • (a) where a firearm is used in the commission of the offence, to imprisonment for life and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of four years; and

  • (b) in any other case, to imprisonment for life.

  • R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 220
  • 1995, c. 39, s. 141

Marginal note:Causing bodily harm by criminal negligence

 Every person who by criminal negligence causes bodily harm to another person is guilty of

  • (a) an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 10 years; or

  • (b) an offence punishable on summary conviction.

Homicide

Marginal note:Homicide

  •  (1) A person commits homicide when, directly or indirectly, by any means, he causes the death of a human being.

  • Marginal note:Kinds of homicide

    (2) Homicide is culpable or not culpable.

  • Marginal note:Non culpable homicide

    (3) Homicide that is not culpable is not an offence.

  • Marginal note:Culpable homicide

    (4) Culpable homicide is murder or manslaughter or infanticide.

  • Marginal note:Idem

    (5) A person commits culpable homicide when he causes the death of a human being,

    • (a) by means of an unlawful act;

    • (b) by criminal negligence;

    • (c) by causing that human being, by threats or fear of violence or by deception, to do anything that causes his death; or

    • (d) by wilfully frightening that human being, in the case of a child or sick person.

  • Marginal note:Exception

    (6) Notwithstanding anything in this section, a person does not commit homicide within the meaning of this Act by reason only that he causes the death of a human being by procuring, by false evidence, the conviction and death of that human being by sentence of the law.

  • R.S., c. C-34, s. 205

Marginal note:When child becomes human being

  •  (1) A child becomes a human being within the meaning of this Act when it has completely proceeded, in a living state, from the body of its mother, whether or not

    • (a) it has breathed;

    • (b) it has an independent circulation; or

    • (c) the navel string is severed.

  • Marginal note:Killing child

    (2) A person commits homicide when he causes injury to a child before or during its birth as a result of which the child dies after becoming a human being.

  • R.S., c. C-34, s. 206

Marginal note:Death that might have been prevented

 Where a person, by an act or omission, does any thing that results in the death of a human being, he causes the death of that human being notwithstanding that death from that cause might have been prevented by resorting to proper means.

  • R.S., c. C-34, s. 207

Marginal note:Death from treatment of injury

 Where a person causes to a human being a bodily injury that is of itself of a dangerous nature and from which death results, he causes the death of that human being notwithstanding that the immediate cause of death is proper or improper treatment that is applied in good faith.

  • R.S., c. C-34, s. 208

Marginal note:Acceleration of death

 Where a person causes to a human being a bodily injury that results in death, he causes the death of that human being notwithstanding that the effect of the bodily injury is only to accelerate his death from a disease or disorder arising from some other cause.

  • R.S., c. C-34, s. 209

Marginal note:Exemption for medical assistance in dying

  •  (1) No medical practitioner or nurse practitioner commits culpable homicide if they provide a person with medical assistance in dying in accordance with section 241.2.

  • Marginal note:Exemption for person aiding practitioner

    (2) No person is a party to culpable homicide if they do anything for the purpose of aiding a medical practitioner or nurse practitioner to provide a person with medical assistance in dying in accordance with section 241.2.

  • Marginal note:Reasonable but mistaken belief

    (3) For greater certainty, the exemption set out in subsection (1) or (2) applies even if the person invoking it has a reasonable but mistaken belief about any fact that is an element of the exemption.

  • Marginal note:Non-application of section 14

    (4) Section 14 does not apply with respect to a person who consents to have death inflicted on them by means of medical assistance in dying provided in accordance with section 241.2.

  • Marginal note:Definitions

    (5) In this section, medical assistance in dying, medical practitioner and nurse practitioner have the same meanings as in section 241.1.

  • R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 227
  • R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 34
  • 1997, c. 18, s. 9
  • 1999, c. 5, s. 9
  • 2016, c. 3, s. 2

Marginal note:Killing by influence on the mind

 No person commits culpable homicide where he causes the death of a human being

  • (a) by any influence on the mind alone, or

  • (b) by any disorder or disease resulting from influence on the mind alone,

but this section does not apply where a person causes the death of a child or sick person by wilfully frightening him.

  • R.S., c. C-34, s. 211

Murder, Manslaughter and Infanticide

Marginal note:Murder

 Culpable homicide is murder

  • (a) where the person who causes the death of a human being

    • (i) means to cause his death, or

    • (ii) means to cause him bodily harm that he knows is likely to cause his death, and is reckless whether death ensues or not;

  • (b) where a person, meaning to cause death to a human being or meaning to cause him bodily harm that he knows is likely to cause his death, and being reckless whether death ensues or not, by accident or mistake causes death to another human being, notwithstanding that he does not mean to cause death or bodily harm to that human being; or

  • (c) if a person, for an unlawful object, does anything that they know is likely to cause death, and by doing so causes the death of a human being, even if they desire to effect their object without causing death or bodily harm to any human being.

 [Repealed, 2019, c. 25, s. 78]

Marginal note:Classification of murder

  •  (1) Murder is first degree murder or second degree murder.

  • Marginal note:Planned and deliberate murder

    (2) Murder is first degree murder when it is planned and deliberate.

  • Marginal note:Contracted murder

    (3) Without limiting the generality of subsection (2), murder is planned and deliberate when it is committed pursuant to an arrangement under which money or anything of value passes or is intended to pass from one person to another, or is promised by one person to another, as consideration for that other’s causing or assisting in causing the death of anyone or counselling another person to do any act causing or assisting in causing that death.

  • Marginal note:Murder of peace officer, etc.

    (4) Irrespective of whether a murder is planned and deliberate on the part of any person, murder is first degree murder when the victim is

    • (a) a police officer, police constable, constable, sheriff, deputy sheriff, sheriff’s officer or other person employed for the preservation and maintenance of the public peace, acting in the course of his duties;

    • (b) a warden, deputy warden, instructor, keeper, jailer, guard or other officer or a permanent employee of a prison, acting in the course of his duties; or

    • (c) a person working in a prison with the permission of the prison authorities and acting in the course of his work therein.

  • Marginal note:Hijacking, sexual assault or kidnapping

    (5) Irrespective of whether a murder is planned and deliberate on the part of any person, murder is first degree murder in respect of a person when the death is caused by that person while committing or attempting to commit an offence under one of the following sections:

    • (a) section 76 (hijacking an aircraft);

    • (b) section 271 (sexual assault);

    • (c) section 272 (sexual assault with a weapon, threats to a third party or causing bodily harm);

    • (d) section 273 (aggravated sexual assault);

    • (e) section 279 (kidnapping and forcible confinement); or

    • (f) section 279.1 (hostage taking).

  • Marginal note:Criminal harassment

    (6) Irrespective of whether a murder is planned and deliberate on the part of any person, murder is first degree murder when the death is caused by that person while committing or attempting to commit an offence under section 264 and the person committing that offence intended to cause the person murdered to fear for the safety of the person murdered or the safety of anyone known to the person murdered.

  • Marginal note:Murder — terrorist activity

    (6.01) Irrespective of whether a murder is planned and deliberate on the part of a person, murder is first degree murder when the death is caused by that person while committing or attempting to commit an indictable offence under this or any other Act of Parliament if the act or omission constituting the offence also constitutes a terrorist activity.

  • Marginal note:Murder — criminal organization

    (6.1) Irrespective of whether a murder is planned and deliberate on the part of a person, murder is first degree murder when

    • (a) the death is caused by that person for the benefit of, at the direction of or in association with a criminal organization; or

    • (b) the death is caused by that person while committing or attempting to commit an indictable offence under this or any other Act of Parliament for the benefit of, at the direction of or in association with a criminal organization.

  • Marginal note:Intimidation

    (6.2) Irrespective of whether a murder is planned and deliberate on the part of a person, murder is first degree murder when the death is caused by that person while committing or attempting to commit an offence under section 423.1.

  • Marginal note:Second degree murder

    (7) All murder that is not first degree murder is second degree murder.

  • R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 231
  • R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), ss. 7, 35, 40, 185(F), c. 1 (4th Supp.), s. 18(F)
  • 1997, c. 16, s. 3, c. 23, s. 8
  • 2001, c. 32, s. 9, c. 41, s. 9
  • 2009, c. 22, s. 5

Marginal note:Murder reduced to manslaughter

  •  (1) Culpable homicide that otherwise would be murder may be reduced to manslaughter if the person who committed it did so in the heat of passion caused by sudden provocation.

  • Marginal note:What is provocation

    (2) Conduct of the victim that would constitute an indictable offence under this Act that is punishable by five or more years of imprisonment and that is of such a nature as to be sufficient to deprive an ordinary person of the power of self-control is provocation for the purposes of this section, if the accused acted on it on the sudden and before there was time for their passion to cool.

  • Marginal note:Questions of fact

    (3) For the purposes of this section, the questions

    • (a) whether the conduct of the victim amounted to provocation under subsection (2), and

    • (b) whether the accused was deprived of the power of self-control by the provocation that he alleges he received,

    are questions of fact, but no one shall be deemed to have given provocation to another by doing anything that he had a legal right to do, or by doing anything that the accused incited him to do in order to provide the accused with an excuse for causing death or bodily harm to any human being.

  • Marginal note:Death during illegal arrest

    (4) Culpable homicide that otherwise would be murder is not necessarily manslaughter by reason only that it was committed by a person who was being arrested illegally, but the fact that the illegality of the arrest was known to the accused may be evidence of provocation for the purpose of this section.

  • R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 232
  • 2015, c. 29, s. 7
 
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