Backgrounder: Criminality in Canada
-- There were almost two million Criminal Code violations reported to police in 2011.(1)-- There were more than 424,400 violent incidents reported to police in 2011. Violent crime accounted for about one-fifth of the offences reported to police in 2011.(2)-- Although most types of violent crime decreased or remained stable in 2011, there was a 7% increase in the rate of homicides.(3)-- There was an increase of 2% in impaired driving, with close to 90,300 incidents of impaired driving in 2011 reported to police. That represents 3000 more incidents than the year before, and is the fourth time the rate has increased in the past five years.(4)-- There was a 3% increase in total drug offences in 2011.(5)-- Fifteen percent of the offenders committed 58% of the crimes; 43 percent of offenders released from federal prison were re-incarcerated within two years.(6)-- The costs of policing and delays in our courts put serious strain on the justice system. Policing costs $8.6B per year; corrections costs $4.8B per year; and the total costs of crime have been estimated at $99.6B per year - the majority of which ($82.5B or 83%) was borne by victims.(7)-- A 2006 Study commissioned by the Department of Justice (Latimer and Lawrence) found that most adults found Not Criminally Responsible on account of mental disorder (NCR) or Unfit to Stand Trial (UST) had been charged with a violent crime, with assaults being the most common. Murders and attempted murders account for more than 11% of offences committed by persons found NCR or UST and sexual offences account for approximately 6% of offences committed by persons found NCR or UST.(8)
Canada's legal and operational framework for extradition and mutual legal assistance is in need of significant reform to address delays and capacity issues. These challenges are compounded by growth in transnational crime (such as terrorism, cybercrime, drug trafficking, human trafficking, child pornography, and money laundering) and the complexity of multi-jurisdictional investigations and prosecutions.
For example, the average time for a Canadian criminal proceeding for more serious matters (e.g. homicide) from first appearance to case completion is 391 days.(9) By comparison, it takes on average approximately 2 1/2 years to process an extradition case from the time the extradition request is received in Canada to the time the person is surrendered to the requesting state. In exceptional circumstances, this can take much longer. For example, in the case of Rakesh Saxena, it took 13 years to surrender him to Thailand to face fraud charges.
(1) Brennan, S. 2012. Police-Reported Crime Statistics in Canada, 2011. Ottawa, ON: Statistics Canada. Last accessed February 1, 2013, from http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-002-x/2012001/article/11692-eng.pdf(2) Ibid.(3) Ibid.(4) Ibid.(5) Ibid.(6) Carrington, P., Matarazzo, A., and deSouza, P. (2005). Court careers of a Canadian birth cohort. Crime and justice research paper series. (Cat. No. 85-561-MIE - No. 006). Ottawa, ON: Statistics Canada. Retrieved March 29, 2010 from http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-561- m/85-561-m2005006-eng.pdf.(7) Zhang, T. (2008). The Costs of Crime in Canada, 2008. Ottawa, ON: Department of Justice Canada. Retrieved February 1, 2013, from: http://canada.justice.gc.ca/eng/pi/rs/rep-rap/2011/rr10_5/index.html.(8) Latimer, J.and Lawrence, A. (2006). The Review Board Systems in Canada: An Overview of Results from the Mentally Disordered Accused Data Collection Study. Ottawa, ON: Department of Justice Canada. Retrieved February 1, 2013, from http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/pi/rs/rep-rap/2006/rr06_1/rr06_1.pdf.(9) Dauvergne, M. (2012). Adult criminal court statistics in Canada 2010/2011. Retrieved February 1, 2013 from www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85- 002-x/2012001/article/11646-eng.pdf.
Julie Di Mambro
Office of the Minister of Justice
Department of Justice