An Act to amend the Criminal Code (arrest by owner)

This bill was last introduced in the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session, which ended in March 2011.


Joe Volpe  Liberal

Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)


Introduced, as of June 16, 2010
(This bill did not become law.)


This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment amends the Criminal Code to give the owner or person in lawful possession of property the power to arrest without warrant a person he finds committing, or he believes has committed, a criminal offence on or in relation to that property.


All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Criminal CodeRoutine Proceedings

June 16th, 2010 / 3:25 p.m.
See context


Joe Volpe Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-547, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (arrest by owner).

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to introduce a bill that would amend subsection 494(2) of the Criminal Code where a citizen's arrest is only permissible if a perpetrator is in the process of committing a crime, a very short and often impractical window, even if the proprietor knows the individual, saw the individual, and the perpetrator has already committed the act.

I thank my colleague from Mississauga—Streetsville for seconding this.

Imagine homeowners who witness an individual vandalizing their home or property. Under the current act, they have no legal right to detain the perpetrator because by the time they reach him, the act has already been committed.

For example, a shop owner has been repeatedly robbed by a known career criminal, and yet one day, an hour after stealing something from the owner's store, the criminal comes back for more. The shop owner cannot capture him and call the police. Under the current law the shop owner would be charged with assault and forcible confinement and would be thrown into jail.

When just such an incident occurred last year in Toronto's Chinatown, the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism vowed to change the law, as did the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice. A year later all they have delivered is false hope and disappointment.

Our laws should attack criminals, not the victims. My solution is in this bill. Now it is up to the Conservative government, so I ask, are the Conservatives going to stand up for victims or aid criminals?

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)