Correctional Service Canada: At the Heart of Criminal Justice - Glossary

Correctional Service Canada: At the Heart of Criminal Justice


Criminal Code: An Act respecting the Criminal Law, the Criminal Code for short, is federally enforced legislation that governs all criminal penalties that may be imposed under sovereign government authority for criminal justice offences such as sexual assaults, murders and theft. The Department of Justice holds the authority to draft, correct and revise legislation relating to the Criminal Code.

Youth Criminal Justice Act: In force since April 1, 2003, it replaced the Young Offenders Act. A young person, or youth, is or appears to be 12 years old or older, but is less than 18 years old. The Act creates a separate criminal justice system for young persons and thus they do not fall under the jurisdiction of the criminal justice system established by the Criminal Code. A youth justice court, subject to the Contraventions Act and the National Defence Act, has exclusive jurisdiction to deal with offences committed by young persons.

Corrections and Conditional Release Act: See The Conditional Release module for more information on conditional releases.

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms: The purpose of this legislation is to protect citizens against the State, and to protect minorities against parliamentary majorities. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms covers the following points: fundamental freedoms, democratic rights, the freedom to move and gain a livelihood, legal guarantees, equality rights and language rights. The equality between men and women is also expressly protected by a particular section of the Charter. Aboriginal rights and freedoms are not affected.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police: The RCMP’s scope of operations includes: combating terrorism, organized crime, and specific crimes related to the illicit drug trade; economic crimes such as counterfeiting and credit card fraud; and offences that threaten the integrity of Canada’s national borders. The RCMP also protects VIPs, including the Prime Minister and foreign dignitaries and provides the law enforcement community with a full range of computer‑based security services.

National Parole Board: See The Conditional Release module for more information on the National Parole Board.

Canadian Security Intelligence Service: CSIS's mandate is to conduct security investigations within Canada related to suspected subversion, terrorism and foreign espionage and sabotage. CSIS maintains headquartered in Ottawa, has field offices in major Canadian cities and posts liaison officers to the capitals of allied countries. The exact number of CSIS members is confidential for security reasons, but its budget appears to indicate that it employs about 2000 people. The agency recruits members from other areas of the public service and from the general population.

Canada Border Services Agency: A government agency that ensures the safety and prosperity of Canadians by managing the access of people and goods to and from Canada.

Courts: (a graphic depicting various levels of courts will be added).

Crown Attorney: Called the "Crown Prosecutor,” or in the provinces and territories "Attorney General,” is respectively the main counsel to federal, provincial and territorial governments who represent the State and prosecute any citizen who commits a criminal act on behalf of the Crown.

Jury: Depending on the seriousness of the crime, the accused may have to choose between a jury and a non-jury trial. In Canada, a criminal law jury is made up of 12 jurors selected from among citizens of the province or territory in which the court is located. Generally, any adult Canadian citizen is qualified to be considered for jury duty.

Probation: A sentence during which an offender is supervised in the community instead of being imprisoned.

Federal institution: Facility for adult offenders (18 years of age and older) serving sentences of two or more years.

Provincial or territorial institution: Facility for offenders serving sentences of fewer than two years, for young offenders and for probationary sentences or community sentences.