Law and Legislation


Stalking occurs when a person who has no legal reason to contact you, continues to bother you after you have said you want to be left alone. This repeated, unwanted contact can make you afraid for your personal safety. We call this behaviour stalking and it is against the law. In Canada, when criminal charges are laid by the police for stalking, the crime is known as criminal harassment.


Stalkers sometimes also break other criminal laws, such as intimidation, uttering threats, making harassing phone calls, trespassing and mischief. It is important for you to report these offences to your local police. They will decide if any criminal laws are being broken, and will lay criminal charges if appropriate.



Criminal harassment is part of the Criminal Code of Canada ((R.S.C., 1985, c. C-46), specifically section 264 and is defined as the following:

264 (1) No person shall, without lawful authority and knowing that another person is harassed or recklessly as to whether the other person is harassed, engage in conduct referred to in subsection (2) that causes that other person reasonably, in all the circumstances, to fear for their safety or the safety of anyone known to them.

Prohibited conduct

(2) The conduct mentioned in subsection (1) consists of

  •  repeatedly following from place to place the other person or anyone known to them;

  •  repeatedly communicating with, either directly or indirectly, the other person or anyone known to them;

  •  besetting or watching the dwelling-house, or place where the other person, or anyone known to them, resides, works, carries on business or happens to be; or

  •  engaging in threatening conduct directed at the other person or any member of their family.


(3) Every person who contravenes this section is guilty of

  •  an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years; or

  •  an offence punishable on summary conviction.

Factors to be considered

(4) Where a person is convicted of an offence under this section, the court imposing the sentence on the person shall consider as an aggravating factor that, at the time the offence was committed, the person contravened

  •  the terms or conditions of an order made pursuant to section 161 or a recognizance entered into pursuant to section 810, 810.1 or 810.2; or

  •  the terms or conditions of any other order or recognizance made or entered into under the common law or a provision of this or any other Act of Parliament or of a province that is similar in effect to an order or recognizance referred to in paragraph (a).


(5) Where the court is satisfied of the existence of an aggravating factor referred to in subsection (4), but decides not to give effect to it for sentencing purposes, the court shall give reasons for its decision.

  • R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 264;

  • R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 37;

  • 1993, c. 45, s. 2;

  • 1997, c. 16, s. 4, c. 17, s. 9;

  • 2002, c. 13, s. 10.

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