In Canada, there are five provinces which regulate whether an offender can profit from the recounting of their crimes (for example, by writing a book about their crimes and receiving the money made by selling that book).

These provinces are Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Nova Scotia, and Manitoba.

The provincial acts which regulate this law state only that an offender convicted of designated crimes is prohibited from profiting from the recounting of their crimes, and does not ban them from the act of actually recounting them. This means that a person can retell their crimes in any way that they would like to, but that they cannot profit from it (for example, they could write the book, but can’t receive any of the sales profits).

Designated crimes (offences which an offender cannot profit from recounting) vary from province to province, but all include:

  • An indictable offence for which the maximum penalty is 5 years or more and that involves the use of violence against another person.
  • Or, (i) that involved conduct which can endanger the life or safety of another person, or that inflicted or is likely to inflict severe psychological damage on another person, (ii) is an offence or attempt to commit an offence under section 271, 272 or 273 of the Criminal Code of Canada, or (iii) is a serious property offence.
  • This applies to offences committed in Canada, as well as similarly described offences outside of Canada (If a person committed a murder outside of Canada, and then returned to Ontario for example, under Ontario law they could not then profit from the recounting of that crime).

Additional designated offences in Nova Scotia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba include offences found in section 151, 152, and 153 of the Criminal Code of Canada. In Alberta, additional offences include offences found under the Crimes Against Humanity and War Times Act of Canada, as well as serious drug offences for which an offender could receive a sentence of 7 years in prison or more. In Saskatchewan, additional crimes include those associated with § 163.1, and 172.1 of the Criminal Code of Canada.

As mentioned, if a person decides to retell their crime they cannot collect a profit from doing this. If a profit is made from the recounting of a crime, this money must be paid to and received by the appropriate Minister of the province (such as the Attorney General) where the criminal is residing and not the offender. The Minister will then distribute the money to the provincial victim’s fund or other programs designed to assist victims and their families, depending on the circumstances within each province.

The above information also applies to memorabilia used, owned, possessed, autographed, made or manufactured, or produced by a person convicted of a designated offence. An offender cannot receive any profit made by the selling or auctioning of any of those items. The actual act of selling or auctioning the item is not prohibited, only the receipt of profit. Thus, if an offender was to auction an autographed piece of personal clothing (such as a t-shirt), they would only be permitted to receive the amount of money that this item would be worth if it had not been signed by the offender. For example, if an offender signed a t-shirt that he or she bought for $15.00 and then signed it and sold it for $50.00, he or she could only receive the original amount of $15.00 and the rest would be collected by the Minister and used in the same way as outlined above.

The text of each provincial act:

Alberta – Alberta Criminal Notoriety Act, S.A. 2005, c. C-32.5:
www.canlii.org/en/ab/laws/stat/sa-2005-c-c-32.5/latest/

Saskatchewan – Saskatchewan Profits of Criminal Notoriety Act, S.S. 2009, c. P-28.1:
www.canlii.org/en/sk/laws/stat/ss-2009-c-p-28.1/latest/

Ontario – Ontario Prohibiting Profiting from Recounting Crimes Act 2002, S.O. 2002, c.2:
www.canlii.org/en/on/laws/stat/so-2002-c-2/latest/

Nova Scotia – Nova Scotia Criminal Notoriety Act, S.A. 2005, c. C-32.5:
www.canlii.org/en/ns/laws/stat/sns-2006-c-14/latest/

Manitoba – The Profits of Criminal Notoriety Act, CCSM, c. P141:
http://canlii.ca/t/kbc4

 

Last modified: February 24, 2016