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Is it a Crime to Hate?

In Canada you may face criminal offence charges for hateful conduct.

In Canada you may face criminal offence charges for hateful conduct.

  • You may be charged with a criminal offence for expressing hateful views in Canada.
  • In Canada our freedom of expression is not absolute and is limited both by the Criminal Code and by the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
  • In Ontario, the Ontario Human Rights Commission hears and remedies complaints of hateful conduct in Ontario.
  • These limitations are controversial, as some people believe that your freedom of expression should trump protection from hate, while some value the right to be protected over their right to express themselves hatefully.
  • Section 318 and 319 cover criminal offences you may face for expressing hateful views:
Advocating genocide
  • 318 (1) Every one who advocates or promotes genocide is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years.
  • Marginal note:Definition of genocide

    (2) In this section, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy in whole or in part any identifiable group, namely,

    • (a) killing members of the group; or
    • (b) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction.
  • Marginal note:Consent

    (3) No proceeding for an offence under this section shall be instituted without the consent of the Attorney General.

  • Marginal note:Definition of identifiable group

    (4) In this section, identifiable group means any section of the public distinguished by colour, race, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or mental or physical disability.

Public incitement of hatred
  • 319 (1) Every one who, by communicating statements in any public place, incites hatred against any identifiable group where such incitement is likely to lead to a breach of the peace is guilty of
    • (a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years; or
    • (b) an offence punishable on summary conviction.
  • Marginal note:Wilful promotion of hatred

    (2) Every one who, by communicating statements, other than in private conversation, wilfully promotes hatred against any identifiable group is guilty of

    • (a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years; or
    • (b) an offence punishable on summary conviction.
  • Marginal note:Defences

    (3) No person shall be convicted of an offence under subsection (2)

    • (a) if he establishes that the statements communicated were true;
    • (b) if, in good faith, the person expressed or attempted to establish by an argument an opinion on a religious subject or an opinion based on a belief in a religious text;
    • (c) if the statements were relevant to any subject of public interest, the discussion of which was for the public benefit, and if on reasonable grounds he believed them to be true; or
    • (d) if, in good faith, he intended to point out, for the purpose of removal, matters producing or tending to produce feelings of hatred toward an identifiable group in Canada.
  • Marginal note:Forfeiture

    (4) Where a person is convicted of an offence under section 318 or subsection (1) or (2) of this section, anything by means of or in relation to which the offence was committed, on such conviction, may, in addition to any other punishment imposed, be ordered by the presiding provincial court judge or judge to be forfeited to Her Majesty in right of the province in which that person is convicted, for disposal as the Attorney General may direct.

  • Marginal note:Exemption from seizure of communication facilities

    (5) Subsections 199(6) and (7) apply with such modifications as the circumstances require to section 318 or subsection (1) or (2) of this section.

  • Marginal note:Consent

    (6) No proceeding for an offence under subsection (2) shall be instituted without the consent of the Attorney General.

  • Marginal note:Definitions

    (7) In this section,

    communicating includes communicating by telephone, broadcasting or other audible or visible means; (communiquer)
    identifiable group has the same meaning as in section 318; (groupe identifiable)
    public place includes any place to which the public have access as of right or by invitation, express or implied; (endroit public)
    statements includes words spoken or written or recorded electronically or electro-magnetically or otherwise, and gestures, signs or other visible representations. (déclarations)
  • Independent of section 318 and 319,  according to section 320.1 of the Criminal Code you may be forced to remove hateful propaganda from the internet by a judge should they deem that the intent of the content to advocate genocide or willfully promote hatred.
  • If you have been charged with a criminal offence contact Kostman and Pyzer, Barristers today fro your free consultation.

 

 

15 Aug 2017

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