Advocate Daily logo

Self-defence laws in Canada can be complicated.

Canada’s Criminal Code is the main source of law in Canada that deals with self-defence. Under the Criminal Code, self-defence is justified when it is used to protect oneself or another person against an imminent threat of death or bodily harm. The definition of bodily harm includes wounding, maiming, disfiguring, and any other physical injury.

Section 34 (1) of the Code states that a person is not guilty of an offence if they believe “on reasonable grounds” that force is necessary to protect themselves or another person. However, the use of force must be “no more than is necessary” in order to defend against the perceived threat.

Self-Defence Laws in Canada

Conditions under which self-defence is legally justified

When faced with criminal charges, a person can use self-defence as a defence if they feel that their actions were necessary in order to protect themselves or another person from harm. The burden of proof rests on the Crown prosecutor to show beyond a reasonable doubt that you did not act out of necessity for self-preservation and protection.

The determination of whether an act was “reasonable in the circumstances” within the scope of s.34(1)(c) of the Code is informed by the factors enumerated in s.34(2).

It is important to note that although self-defence can be legally justified in certain situations, it cannot be used as a defence if:

  1. There is no imminent threat of death or bodily harm;
  2. The amount of force used by the accused was more than necessary to protect themselves or another person;
  3. The accused provoked the use of force in order to justify their own use of force;
  4. The accused was engaging in criminal activity at the time they acted in self-defence; or
  5. There were reasonable alternatives available that would have prevented the accused from committing a crime.

It is important to remember that self-defence is only applicable in certain situations, and it is always best to consult with an experienced criminal defence lawyer if you find yourself in a situation where you must decide whether or not self-defence is your best option.

Emphasize the use of “reasonable force”

In Canada, a person can use force to protect themselves or another person from an attack if they feel threatened. However, the force used in self-defence must be reasonable and proportional to the threat. The law emphasizes that only “reasonable” and “proportional” force should be used in order to defend oneself against an imminent threat of harm or death.

For example, if someone were to break into your home with a weapon, it would be justified to use force – such as the discharge of a firearm – to defend yourself.

However, the law stipulates that you cannot use more force than is necessary to protect against the perceived threat. If the intruder does not have a weapon and is unarmed, then using deadly force might not be justified. The individual fact scenario will determine the nature of justified force.

It’s important to remember that self-defence is a defence against criminal charges, not a licence to act in whatever way you see fit. It must be used judiciously and only when absolutely necessary under the circumstances.

Owning a Gun in Canada

Gun ownership and usage in Canada are subject to strict regulations under the gun laws. These laws aim to strike a balance between allowing law-abiding individuals to possess and use firearms legally while prioritizing public safety.

By implementing these regulations, the government seeks to ensure that the rights of responsible gun owners are upheld while minimizing potential risks to the community.

In order to possess a firearm, individuals must obtain a government license. There are two types of licenses: Possession and Acquisition Licenses (PAL) and Possession Only Licenses (POL). While the POL solely grants holders the right to possess firearms they already own, the PAL permits the holder to both acquire and possess firearms.

To become licensed, applicants must successfully complete a safety course, have a clean criminal record, and have no history of mental illness.

Guns and self-defence in Canada

Canadian law is quite severe regarding the use of guns for self-defence. Although it is lawful for a licensed individual to carry weapons in Canada, the use of weapons for self-defence is strictly restricted, and anybody using them must be able to prove that doing so was both necessary and reasonable given the situation.

To legally use a handgun for self-defence in Canada, one must be able to avoid death or serious bodily damage to oneself or another. In other words, it must be used only as a last resort.

Possess a handgun for self-defence

Regardless of the circumstances, it is important to remember that firing a gun carries with it an immense responsibility. Even if you are legally allowed to possess a handgun for self-defence, using one can have irreversible consequences which should never be taken lightly.

If you are ever in a situation requiring self-defence, it is essential to be aware of your rights and responsibilities regarding firearms use in Canada. Knowing the rules can help ensure that you stay safe while protecting yourself and those around you.

We hope you found this guide on self-defence laws in Canada useful.

Seeking guidance from a criminal lawyer is crucial when it comes to legal matters. If you have questions, you can contact a law firm such as Kahlon Law for advice.