OTTAWA, June 27, 2012 – The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and Mr. Chungsen Leung, M.P., Parliamentary Secretary to the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, today announced that Bill C-26, the Citizen’s Arrest and Self-defence Act, is expected to receive Royal Assent on June 28, 2012.
“Our Government is committed to putting the real criminals behind bars. Canadians who have been the victim of a crime should not be re-victimized by the criminal justice system,” said Minister Nicholson. “Canadians want to know that they are able to protect themselves against criminal acts and that the justice system is behind them, not against them.”
The existing citizen’s arrest legislation is too restricted and allows for a citizen’s arrest to be made only if an individual is caught actively engaged in a criminal offence on or in relation to one’s property.
“The so-called Lucky Moose Bill reinforces the right of business owners to protect their property,” said Mr. Leung. “Canadians demanded that we change the law after David Chen was arrested for defending his property and we’ve responded by saying that we agree with their common sense.”
Once this legislation comes into force, the existing power to make a citizen’s arrest will be expanded. An owner, a person in lawful possession of property, or a person authorized by them will be allowed to arrest a person within a reasonable amount of time after having found a person committing a criminal offence either:
- on their property (e.g. the offence occurs in their yard); or
- in relation to their property (e.g. their property is stolen from a public parking lot).
The new citizen’s arrest authority will only apply in circumstances when it is not feasible for a police officer to make the arrest. The police will continue to be Canada’s first and foremost criminal law enforcement body.
This legislation will also reform the “self-defence” and “defence of property” provisions in the Criminal Code which the police, prosecutors and the courts have acknowledged to be confusing and overly complex. These provisions will be simplified to more easily determine whether individuals who claim to have defended themselves, others, or their property, should be charged with or convicted of a criminal offence.
This Act will come into force on a day or days to be fixed by order of the Governor in Council.
An online version of the An Act to Amend the Criminal Code (Citizen’s Arrest and the Defences of Property and Persons) (Bill C-26), is available at www.parl.gc.ca.
- Julie Di Mambro
Office of the Minister of Justice
- Media Relations
Department of Justice