Manslaughter Criminal Code in Canada

Regina Criminal Defence Lawyers > Blog > Criminal Law > Manslaughter Criminal Code in Canada
Manslaughter Criminal Code in Canada

The Criminal Code of Canada’s section 234 on manslaughter provides that if you conduct an illegal act that results in the death of another person, you may be found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. Contrary to murder, manslaughter involves an accidental death without any intent to kill. If you commit a crime and someone dies, you may go to court. In cases of criminal negligence, manslaughter charges may also be brought against you. Suppose, for instance, that you are a caregiver and you neglect to offer a child the necessities of life. Unless a firearm were used, in which case a minimum prison term of four years would be required, there would be no mandatory minimum sentence for manslaughter.

What is the manslaughter criminal code in Canada? Do you know about it? If you aren’t, it’s good to know it because it will help when you face issues related to these types of murder cases. We are going to explain everything you need to know. So, you can learn the essential information.

Have you ever wondered how criminal punishment for murder works? We know that murder is the most dangerous criminals out there. So, the punishment usually involves lifetime imprisonment or sentence to death. But what happens in a manslaughter case?

The manslaughter criminal code in Canada handles such cases. The section also defines manslaughter and the possible punishments for the crime. Both the concept is quite similar. But there are subtle differences.

Let’s look at what the criminal code has to say about manslaughter. At the end of the article, you will know what manslaughter is. You will also know the manslaughter punishments and how it differs from murder.

What is Manslaughter?

According to the Criminal Code, anyone who willfully kills someone else or causes them bodily harm that they know will likely result in death while not acting in self-defense or another person’s defense has committed homicide. First-degree murder and second-degree murder, infanticide, and manslaughter are all recognized as levels of culpable homicide under Canadian law.

Manslaughter is defined as a homicide that was carried out with the possibility of physical damage but not necessarily the intent to kill. For example, you might face charges if you accidentally shoot a witness and cause their death. You could be found guilty of manslaughter if you punch someone and they tumble, hit their skull, and pass away. Essentially, manslaughter charges may be brought if a person’s death was a direct result of your illegal behavior.

If you have a duty of care to someone, you may also be charged if a homicide happens as a result of your actions or inactions. You would not, however, be penalized if you were a bystander who observed someone in need but decided not to help.

What is Required to Convict?

The Crown does not need to demonstrate your intent to kill, unlike with murder. It must be proven that you were irresponsible and that a reasonable person in your position would have known that death was likely to happen. Guilt must be established beyond a reasonable doubt, just like with any other allegation.

You can prove your innocence by acting in self-defense. According to Section 34 of the Code, you are not guilty of an offense if you have a reasonable suspicion that force is being used against you (or that you or someone else is being threatened with the use of force). It’s important to keep in mind that you cannot defend yourself with extreme force.

Considered an Indictable Offence

Any homicide charge, including manslaughter, will be prosecuted by the Crown as an indictable offence, and if you are found guilty, you might face a prison term.

Manslaughter Criminal Code: The Charges

So, the first question is- what section is manslaughter in the criminal code? Section 236 talks about manslaughter. The section states the charges of manslaughter. And it also provides a basic understanding of the concept.

According to section 236, manslaughter is any culpable homicide other than murder. Now, what is culpable homicide? Culpable homicide is the killing of another person. But there are 4 specific criteria for that. They are:

  • Death by unlawful act manslaughter criminal code
  • Death by criminal negligence
  • Death from violence, deception, or threats
  • Death by frightening a child

Manslaughter is killing but with less intent than murder. The Canadian criminal code for murder indicates that a convicted will try to bring the charges down to manslaughter. This is actually the wisest thing to do.

Manslaughter is usually wrongdoing. It is the negligence of someone that results in another person dying. According to the Canadian criminal code of manslaughter, unintentional killing is categorized as manslaughter.

Thus, it becomes challenging to prove a killing as murder or manslaughter. The criminal code of Canada for manslaughter has lesser charges for the convicted. As a result, lawyers would look to prove the guilt as manslaughter. And it is the intention and the thinking behind the act that matter at that moment.

Learn More: Murder, Manslaughter and Criminal Negligence Causing Death Charges

Penalty for Manslaughter

Murder has an easier punishment set. According to the criminal code for first-degree murder in Canada, murders can result in life imprisonment or even the criminal’s death. But the same sentences are not directly applicable for manslaughter.

But life imprisonment is still a possible sentence for the court. When a criminal is sentenced to life imprisonment, the person will automatically be eligible for parole after seven (07) years. But under the manslaughter criminal code of Canada, section 743.6 makes the court eligible to delay parole. The court can delay parole for as long as 10 years for a manslaughter criminal.

But jail time can also be anything other than life imprisonment. For example, the Canadian criminal code vehicular manslaughter lets criminals go to jail for nine (09) years. Another example can be with the involvement of a fireman. When a fireman is involved, the person may get a minimum of 4 years of jail time.

Murder Can be Reduced to Manslaughter

According to the 232 (1) section of the criminal code of Canada attempted murder, culpable homicide can be reduced to manslaughter. For this, the act must be committed in the heat of passion from sudden provocation.

So, what is provocation? According to section 232 (2), provocation means depriving another person of self-control. If the accused acted on this, the charges could be reduced to manslaughter. In that case, the punishment will be for five (05) or more years of imprisonment.

Section 232 (3) also takes questions of fact into account. There are 02 questions to ask. The first question is about the provocation under the previous section. And the second question is about losing the power of self-control because of the provocation.

And according to section 234, any culpable homicide that is not murder or infanticide is manslaughter. A manslaughter criminal has committed an indictable offence and can be liable for charges.

Criminal Negligence Can Also Cause Death

Criminal negligence has a specific provision in the manslaughter criminal code. For example, the vehicular manslaughter criminal code depicts criminal negligence. And the sentences for this will vary depending on the severity of the case.

Criminal negligence causing death can result in years of punishment. This can be starting from 4 to 7 years of jail time for the criminal. If there were guns involved, the minimum imprisonment would be four (04) years.

What Differentiates Murder from Manslaughter?

The two most serious offences under the Criminal Code are murder and manslaughter. We promise to fight for innocence or a plea to a reduced charge on behalf of each of our clients who have been charged with one of these crimes in order to avoid a conviction.


Murder is the intentional murder of another person. First degree murder, second degree murder, infanticide, and manslaughter are the several levels of homicide that fall under Canadian law. The requirement of proof of the accused’s intention differentiates these offences from one another.

First-degree murder is the legal term for a killing that was both planned and intentional. If something was planned, it was first imagined and carefully considered before being done. If it was intentional, the action was deliberate and not impulsive.

A murder that is not intentional and planned may still be charged as first-degree murder in a number of situations. First degree murder is always committed when a police officer or prison guard is killed. First-degree murder is also recognized by Canadian law as occurring during the commission of other specified crimes, such as hijacking, sexual assault, aggravated assault, kidnapping, forcible confinement, hostage taking, terrorism, intimidation, or any offence committed on behalf of a criminal organization.

Any homicide that is shown to be in the second degree of murder is one where the prosecution can show that the accused planned to kill the victim or intended to hurt someone else in a way that he knew would likely result in death.


Any unlawful killing without the required intent to prove murder is considered manslaughter. The primary element of manslaughter law is, in fact, the committing of a criminal act which results in the victim’s death. An unlawful act could be as straightforward as using force against a person without that person’s knowledge (assault), which would lead to that person’s death. A typical instance had the victim receiving a push, which caused him to lose his balance and fall to his death down a flight of stairs.

When a defendant faces a murder charge but is impaired and unable to have the intent to kill or do bodily damage that is likely to result in death, manslaughter is another valid argument. As the purpose is the main difference between manslaughter and murder, a charge of murder may also be reduced to a charge of manslaughter if the accused can prove provocation if the prosecution is unable to establish the essential intent to commit murder (first or second degree).

Call Criminal Defence Lawyer Now

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Is Manslaughter a Crime in Canada?

Answer: Yes, manslaughter is undoubtedly a crime in Canada. The maximum punishment for the crime can be life imprisonment.

Question: What Type of Offence is Manslaughter in Canada?

Answer: According to section 236 of the manslaughter criminal code, manslaughter is an indictable crime. This means that the criminal is liable for punishment for manslaughter.

Question: What is the Criminal Code for Manslaughter?

Answer: The criminal code for manslaughter falls under section 236 in Canada. According to the section, manslaughter is a straight indictable crime. The maximum punishment is life imprisonment.

Question: What is the Minimum Sentence for Manslaughter in Canada?

Answer: Manslaughter in Canada does not have any minimum punishment. But certain situations can be taken into account. For instance, if a gun is involved, the minimum jail time is four (04) years.

Question: What Sentence Do You Get for Manslaughter?

Answer: The maximum sentence a criminal can get is life imprisonment. There can be other minimal sentences too. The judge will give the decision after hearing the courtroom discussions.

Question: What Happens If You Get Charged with Manslaughter?

Answer: If you get charged with manslaughter, you will be brought to court. The court will hear your case, and the court can punish you for a lifetime of imprisonment. There is also minimal jail time for the convicted.


Manslaughter is a hideous crime a person can commit. It is almost as dangerous as murder. So, the court considers the offence as a punishable one. But how does the crime work? What is the manslaughter criminal code in Canada? This article answers exact questions like this.

You now know that the 236 section deals with manslaughter in Canada. According to the criminal code, manslaughter is a culpable homicide that is committed under provocation. But eventually, it is the killing of another person from the negligence of the criminal.

The criminal code also deals with punishments for manslaughter. The punishment can be life imprisonment. But it is not that simple. There are quite a few things to consider as well. You can find all the information on the Canadian criminal section of manslaughter.