Comparative law and justice/Canada

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Basic Information


Canada's population is 33,487,208, of that population it consists of many different races. British Isles origin consists of 28% of the population, French origin make up 23%, other European make up 15%, Indian and Inuit make up 2%, 6% is made up for Asian, African and Arab, and then 26% is mixed back grounds. The official language consist of two languages, English 59.3%, French 23.2%, and the other 17.5 % is a mix of other languages.In this mix of diversity there is also a mix of religions.43% of the population is Roman Catholic, 23% is Protestant, 4% is Christian, 2% is Muslim, and the other 16% is none.[1]

Map of Canada

Aaron Latham Canada is located The Geography of Canada is that it covers most of the North American Continent,it is larger than the United States. Canada's geography varies depending on what direction you go in. To the east are the Maritime Provinces. These provinces have an irregular coastline on the Gulf of the St. Lawrence and the Atlantic. The St. Lawrence River alone covers most of southern Quebec and Ontario. To the West heading towards the Pacific, British Columbia, Yukon and Alberta are covered with many mountain ranges. The Pacific border is filled with different channels and fjords.[1] Canada's locations is Northern North America, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean to the east the North Pacific Ocean to the west, to the north you will find the Artic Ocean. the Geographic Coordinates are 60 00N 95 00 W. The area in total is 9,984,670 square kilometers. The climate of Canada ranges but mostly it is temperate in the South and subarctic in the north. The Arable Land available in Canada is 4.57%. Canada ranks second largest in the world, the first being Russia. The Vast majority of the population is concentrated within 160 km of the United States border. [2]

Economic Development, Health, and Education


Canada's median age is 40.4 years old and the birth rate is 10.3 for every 1,000, the death rate is 7.74 to every 1,000. Life expectancy in Canada is age 81.23, the breakdown is 78.69 for males and 83.91 for females. People living with HIV in Canada is 73,000 which is ranked 55th in the world. The school expectancy is 17 years of education.[2]

The infant mortality rate is 5.0/1000. The life expectancy rate is 81.2 . The literacy rate in Canada is 99%. The birth rate is 10.2/1000 . The total population of Canada is 33,387,208 people.[3]

Canada has a GDP of $1.266 trillion a year, the GDP per Capita is $38,400. Its exports include: motor vehicles and parts, industrial machinery, aircraft, telecommunications equipment, chemicals, plastics, fertilizers, wood pulp, timber, crude petroleum, natural gas, electricity and aluminium. Canada's imports: machinery and equipment, motor vehicles and parts, crude oil, chemicals, and durable consumer goods. The key industries in Canada are: transportation, equipments, chemicals, processed/unprocessed minerals, food products, paper products, fish products, petroleum and the natural gas.

Brief History


Canada obtained independence over years of constitutional changes. Canada was founded by the Vikings by accident, they were making a sailing mission from Iceland to Greenland when they were blown off track to find what we know as today Canada. John Cabot was the person who gave England the rights to Canada in his findings, he found the waters were rich with fish. Canada was discovered by France because of Jacques Cartier.[3] Jacques Cartier left his followers to return back to France turning his back on the Canadian Project. For almost 60 years France ignored the Canadian project until Champlain came along. Champlain pleaded with his leader to allow him to go and settle on the St. Lawrence (Quebec). Quebec was settled in 1604.[4]

One of the largest cities in Canada is Montreal. The city itself was started for a mission. This city was the basis for the Canadian Missionary movement. Catholics set up posts all around this area in an attempt to convert the Hurons. The Hurons being a Native American tribe were being threatened by the Iroquois. The Christians attempted to help the Hurons but both were killed in the Iroquois final invasion in Huronia. The Iroquois tribe posed as a threat to all settlers until finally in 1660 Adam Dollard des Ormeaux led a group of men to defend the land. Only few Frenchmen died but many Native Americans did, the Iroquis retreated and were no longer a threat. [4]

Jean Talon played a very important part in Canadian History. In the beginning Canada did not resemble anything of what could be considered a democratic government. The job of intendant was to run things in the territory. Jean Talon became intendant in 1665, he encouraged great changes in "New France". He encouraged business, agriculture, crafts, exploration of the land and immigration. In 1666 Talon took a census of the land, he found that the population of "New France" was only 3,215. England had gained control of more land and had a larger population. The rivalry was then started between France and England.[4]

England saw the money that the French were making because of the fur trade and decided that they also wanted to involved in this endeavour. They took over the Hudson Bay and it's resources to help better their trade. The French for years threatened them until 1686 when they finally invaded and regained control of the Hudson Bay territory. England and France signed a peace treaty in 1713, but the rivalry was still there and then another fresh war broke out between the two for control of "New France". In the midst of things a strong British Force stepped in and gained control. This started the early British Rule.[4]



Canada has a government that would be labeled as a constitutional monarchy, and it is governed by its own house of commons. Canada has a constitution that consists of written acts, customs and traditions. A part of it is the Constitution Act of 29 March 1867. This specific act made a federation with four provinces. Another important act of the Canadian Constitution is Act 17 April 1982. This Act transferred over power from Britain to Canada, along with this shift of power they added a "Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom".[5]

The government of Canada is organized with 3 branches. The Executive branch which is headed by a monarch, this position is hereditary, there is no elections for this position. Also in this branch is the Governor General, who is appointed by the monarch. Then there is the Prime Minister who is mainly there for advice on issues, who is the leader of the major party of the winner in the legislative elections. The second branch of the Canadian Government is the Judicial Branch. This branch is made up of the Supreme Court Of Canada, the judges are appointed by the Governor General with advice from the Prime Minister. The third branch is the Legislative Branch. This Branch is a bicameral Parliament. The two parts of the Parliament are the Senate and the House Of Commons. The Senate is whom ever the Governor General appoints, they serve till they are 75 years of age. The House of Commons are members elected by direct, popular vote and they are to serve up to five years. It is common in Canada for the Liberal Party to hold the majority of the votes in the house of commons. Government officials mostly get their positions through the Governor General with the advice of the Prime Minister.[5]



Canada has elections at least every five years. The elections are always by secret ballot. In order to vote in a Canadian election you must be 18 years of age and a Canadian citizen.[6] In Canada by law there has to be a general election held on the third Monday of the fourth calender year following a general election. In charge of handling all of matters related to elections is the Chief Electoral Officer. The Chief is appointed by the house of commons, so that every political group is represented. The Chief only answers to Parliament and will only take orders from Parliament, this sets and equal setting for all political parties involved in the elections. [7]

A recent law passed that states you not only have to be 18 years old but also have to prove your identity. When a voter is going to vote they must have a government issued form of identification, and they also have to have proof of address. If a voter cannot provide this information on the spot then they may take an oath and have someone who has their identification and proper paper work with them to vouch for them.It is public knowledge of who chooses to exercise their right to vote.[7]

Judicial Review


In Canada there is plenty of room for Judicial Review. The Canadian Supreme Court hears special cases and has two crucial decisions with every case. The Supreme court can grant review to a can and one on the merits. [8] Judicial Review isn't as easy as is in other countries, in Canada is more complex and controversial. Canada adopted the charter of rights and freedoms which in it self is Canada's judicial review. Before the adoption of the Charter the courts reviewed legislation and decided whether it was to go on to federal court or not, the charter now takes care of the guidelines for Canada taking out one step of the process, the case either goes to court or it doesn't based on what the Charter states. [9]

Courts and Criminal Law


The levels of courts in Canada start at the Provincial Court. This is were the majority of cases are dealt with, there are many levels but the two main courts are the Provincial Court then the British Columbia Supreme Court. Only for serious crimes and cases does the Supreme Court hear the case. The majority of cases are dealt with in the Provincial Court where there is a Judge that has been appointed by the Province, and the Judge sits alone without a jury. If the case is serious enough then the accused most often has the right to a trail before a Judge alone. The jury are made up of around 12 people specifically chosen by the lawyer of the accused. The lawyer hand picks non-bias and truthful citizens.The jury are given facts about the law, then they are instructed to use that information and apply to what they hear and court, and determine what the outcome is.[10]

The courts in Canada are organized in levels. First being Provincial or Territorial courts, the nest being the Courts of Appeals, the next is Federal Court, after that Canada has two specific federal courts which are the Tax Court of Canada then The Military Court, after all of these there is the Supreme Court of Canada.[11]

The key factors in the Court system of Canada are the Court itself and the Judge. Many times there isn't a jury to hear the case if it is not of a level of seriousness.Usually in Canada if you commit a crime at the Provincial Level then you are to appear before a judge for sentencing. If the case does has high value and goes to the Federal courts then a lawyer is a factor in the court system. There is also a jury if the case is heard at the Federal level, they are different from the Jury of the United States because this jury is handed all the facts, they are taught what the law is and how the case is applied to it. In this sense the court sets the person accused for failure.

In order to become a Canadian Lawyer there is the same process as other nation's such as the United States. The person must first finish basic college, then they are to attend a law school and pass the LSAT ( a test to determine whether you can attend law school), then after getting their Bachelors Degree in Law they must finish whatever Province they choose to practice ins licensing process.[12]



Many offenses in Canada that are labeled as "Summary Offence" end in the sentence of 6 months maximum imprisonment and $2,000 in fines from the government.[10] In Canada the punishment for rape is life imprisonment and a chance of parole after 25 years.[13] The punishment for white collar crimes are conditional sentencing, and that there is no set punishment for this particular crime.[14] The punishment for treason is automatic life imprisonment, in Canada there is High Treason and Treason but either crime end in the punishment of life in prison.[15] Also in Canada if you commit the crime of theft you are given a sentence of less than two years in prison and fines less than $5,000 [16]

Capital Punishment was abolished in Canada so that is no long an option for sentence. For serious crimes such as murder there is a sentence of jail time, but no matter what degree of murder is you still have a chance of parole after so many determined years.[17] In 1976 the option of Capital Punishment was removed from the Canadian Criminal Code. It was replaced with mandatory life sentences. In 1998 the Canadian Military removed Capital Punishment for the Canadian Nation defense Act.[18]

Prison conditions in Canada are getting worse every year. Many facilities are overcrowded and now with growing rates of mandatory sentencing the prisons are going to be even more overcrowded. It is estimated that because of the mandatory crime rates now set in place the the Canadian Government will be spending and extra $80 million on prisons alone every year. The once good resources available to inmates to further their education and better themselves through rehab are now very limited resources, the waiting list had become so long that man inmates choose not to even enroll themselves in these programs. Canada's new "tough on crime" act is now making the prisoners even worse then when they first arrived to the prisons, they have a 40% re-conviction rate within two years after leaving prison. The people of Canada wants the government to be tough on crime but doesn't want to see their taxes rise along with the conviction rate.[19]

In Canada you are labeled within two categories. You are either white or you are non-white. Statistics rase questions about the fairness of the Criminal Justice System in Canada. The statistics show that minorities are more likely to be warned, have DNA samples taken and more likely to be stopped by a police officer. [20] Along with minorities there are the juveniles of Canada. A person of ages 12 to 17 are viewed as juveniles of the Criminal Justice System. The Youth Criminal Justice Act came into play in April 2003, this was an act placed on the community to help adolescents have stronger ties to the community. Facts show that if a adolescent has stronger ties to the community then he/she is less likely to commit a crime. This act also separated the sentencing for adults and adolescents. Adolescents are tried in different courts along with different punishments compared to adult offenders. If an adolescent commits a crime of seriousness then he/she may be tried as an adult.[21]


Legal Personnel in Canada goes from a police officer to a federal judge. A police officer has certain criteria that he/she must follow in order to be a good applicant and option for the job. A Lawyer must attend college and have a Degree to practice law. Along with a lawyer with years of experience a lawyer can grow to become a judge but once chosen you are in for life.

Law Enforcement


In Canada in order to become a considerable candidate for a police officer there a few requirements that need to be followed. The candidate must be 18 years old and a Canadian citizen, there is no official requirement for a college degree but it is helpful in your chances.The candidate must be certified in First Aid and CPR, you also have to pass a series of health and psychological tests. Once the requirements are met, one can proceed to the application stage and compete for a position. Once selected, one is enrolled into a Police academy for further training.[22] Canada would be labelled as a decentralized multiple-coordinated police structure. Canada has police forces at the municipal, provincial, aboriginal federal levels. Each level of police units adhears to its own level of government and to the Canadian Criminal Code. [23]

Corruption in Canada is moderate. Canada is ranked 14 out of 160 countries in the world.[24]

Crime Rates and Public Opinion


Canada shows a decrease in overall crime rate, it is the lowest that it has been for the past 25 years. Murder has decreased overall in Canada, it is 1.85 per 100,000 people. In the Western Provinces there seems to be a higher rate of murder compared to the Eastern Provinces. The province with the highest rate would be Saskatcheuan, which has a 4.1 rate per 100,000 people.The violent crimes in Canada includes attempted murder, simple assault and assault. One out of every eight crimes there is a firearm used.The Drug crimes in Canada sadly have risen 2% Cocaine seems to be the leading factor at 67%, Crystal Meth rose 8&, and Cannabis actually made up 60% of the entire drug offense statistics.[25] The homicide rate in Canada was 594 people in the year 2007, that was 12 less then the year before. Stabbings accounted for 1/3 of it, firearms 1/3, handguns were 2/3. Police also state that one out of every 5 were gang related.[26]

Public Opinion in Canada is that the punishments for crimes aren't severe enough. The people of Canada want the sentence to play a type of deterrence, protect them from the offender and reflect the seriousness of the crime in the actual sentence. A person is to serve one third of their sentence they are allowed parole, Canadians are fond of this if it is a non-violent crime. One the one third of the sentence is served then the inmate is released into a community where they are to serve the rest of the sentence under parole. Parole needs to be more strict according to 65% of Canadians, that way there is no repeat of the crime that was previously committed..[27]



Family Law


Canada's laws on marriage are very simple law to follow, the two people applying for their marriage license must have a valid ID along with the full name of their parents, and the birth place of their parents. If an individual is getting re-married then their needs to be proof of a divorce or annulment, if an individual was once married and their partner is deceased then they need the death certificate. The fees for getting married vary on the Marriage License Issuer.People that allowed to get married in Canada's eyes are same sex couples, cousins and male and female couples ( over the age of 18).[28]

After marriage is an individual is no longer happy they can file for divorce. The person filing for divorce can choose to settle in court or out of court. Out side of the court room the two people getting a divorce have lawyers divide and come to an agreement on assets and child custody. If the divorce is settled in court the person after filing for divorce must submit a financial statement, that list the income of the person and the expenses and money needed to live off. Along with the financial statement can be a request for child custody.After the paperwork is submitted the papers are served to the spouse or the spouse's lawyers, they have thirty days to respond to the statement, if they disagree with the list of needs you have then it goes to a conference. If the two people cannot come to an agreement on financial needs and child custody then it moves on to a trial.The judge decides on what is best for the couple divorcing and the children (if any) involved also.[29]

Adoption is Canada is dependent on which province you live in. Each province has its own set of laws regarding adoption. Even though each province has their own set of laws there is a minimum of four home visits with a social worker and if the parents are adopting with aid from the province and not out of their own pocket then they are required to go to a PRIDE class for nine weeks. The process for adoption is very lengthy and the quickest way to adopt would to go through an agency, but it can be very expensive when doing so.[30]

Social Inequality


Canadians believe that the biggest social inequality is income inequality and the second; access to health care. Depending on what Province an individual lives the social inequality may vary. Studies show that the country is evenly split over this matter. Half believe there is presently greater inequality, and half believe that inequalities have decreased. People who believe that there is inequality are those belonging to the lower earning brackets in Canada, and people who don't see the inequalities belong to families with household income exceeding $80,000 a year. [31]

Human Rights


Canada has it own "Canadian Charter of rights and freedoms" which states what rights Canadians and freedoms they may enjoy. These rights included in the Charter are the fundamental freedoms of speech, thought and association. After the fundamental rights it lists the democratic rights(the right to vote), mobility rights(come and go as you please), legal rights, equality rights (no discrimination under the law) and languistic rights. This Charter was created by the Canadian government in 1982 to ensure the rights of their citizens.[32]

Every citizen in Canada is guaranteed equality. No matter what province or territory, the Federal Government will protect from discrimination. A Canadian Citizen is protected from discrimination based on the following grounds: origin, race, creed, religion, sexual orientation, mental ability and age. The government will protect its citizens in any province where it conducts business in: hospitals, schools, human resource centers and government agencies. The Canadian government goes through numerous checks with restaurants and retail stores to ensure that their citizens' basic rights are not being violated. In Canada every class or category of people are equally protected. Every citizen is guaranteed the same right as everyone else.[32]

Works Cited

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  18. http/://
  23. Reichel, Philip L, Comparative Criminal Justice systems, 210
  32. 32.0 32.1