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Non-judicial treatment of certain criminal offences committed by adults

If you have committed an offence and the police has reason to believe you are guilty, it will send the evidence and investigation report to the criminal and penal prosecuting attorney. The prosecuting attorney may lay charges against you by laying an information, which requires you to appear before the court and, if applicable, stand trial. The prosecuting attorney may also choose not to lay charges at their discretion.

For your offence to be handled this way, you must meet a specific profile and have committed an offence that is eligible for non-judicial treatment.


The prosecuting attorney may choose not to prosecute you if they feel that:

  • you wish to correct your conduct;
  • you are not at risk of committing another offence.

However, they must also consider certain factors, like the circumstances of the offence, its severity, the impact on the victim and the risk of re-offending. 

If, within the last two years, you have been the subject of an extrajudicial measure or sanction under the Youth Criminal Justice Act This hyperlink will open in a new window., the prosecuting attorney will also take that fact into consideration.

Obligation to prosecute

You are not eligible for the program if:

  • you refuse or fail to pay compensation to the victim;
  • you have a relevant or recent criminal record for the same type of offence;
  • you are currently being prosecuted for other offences;
  • you were the subject of a non-judicial measure within the last five years.

Eligible offences

The prosecuting attorney may handle your offence non-judicially if you are guilty of:

  • assault, e.g.: 
    • threatening to harm someone;
    • hitting someone;
    • spitting on someone.
  • public mischief, e.g.: 
    • falsely accusing someone of committing an offence;
    • committing insurance fraud.
  • certain violations of the Cannabis Act, e.g.: 
    • possessing the equivalent of 30 to 50 grams of dried cannabis;
    • possessing the equivalent of up to 50 grams of illicit dried cannabis;
    • possessing 5 or 6 cannabis plants;
    • selling the equivalent of up to 50 grams of dried cannabis to a person aged 18 or older.

Non-judicial measures

If the prosecuting attorney decides not to lay charges against you, they may send you:

  • a warning letter; or
  • a formal notice.

Warning letter

The warning letter will inform you that you will not be prosecuted because you have been deemed eligible for non-judicial treatment. You will also be informed that you have the right to consult a lawyer at any time, and that you may be prosecuted with no eligibility for non-judicial treatment if you commit another criminal offence. 

Formal notice

If you have failed to comply with certain court orders, the prosecuting attorney may choose to send you a formal notice reminding you, for instance, that you must: 

  • repay the amount set out in your probation order;
  • report to the police station for fingerprinting if so ordered by a judge.

The formal notice will inform you that charges may be laid against you if you do not rectify the situation promptly. The prosecuting attorney may send you a formal notice but is not obliged to do so.

Last update: April 14, 2023


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