What Are The Different Degrees of Murder in Canada?

Although many individuals confuse the terms murder and homicide, they are not synonymous. In Canada, as well as around the world, they are treated differently.

Murder isn’t the only type of homicide. So, when we talk about the difference between homicide and murder, we say that the purpose to kill is the main difference. Murder is a type of killing that is pre-planned. This article will go over the many types of murder in Canada.

Let’s take a look at what’s going on here.

What is the definition of a homicide?

Let’s start with the legal definition of murder in Canada before moving on to the type. Murder is defined as the intentional or willful killing of someone, with or without prior planning, according to the law.

Culpable homicide is another term for it.

Culpable Homicide or Murder Types

Murder is divided into three categories under Canadian law. First-degree murder, second-degree murder, and third-degree murder or manslaughter are the three types of murder charges.

The details of these three types, as well as the penalties associated with each, are presented in the following section.

Murder on the 1st Degree

  • A killing accident that is intentional and purposeful is referred to as first-degree murder. When a convict –
  • Kills someone on purpose with a plan.
  • Contracts the assassination of someone or a criminal gang.
  • Commits murder while doing another criminal crime, such as terrorism, hijacking, kidnapping, sexual assault, harassment, or intimidation.
  • A police officer or a correctional officer who is on duty is murdered.


To be classified as first-degree murder, it is necessary to show that the killing was premeditated and planned. The defendants will face a life sentence if found guilty. After 25 years in imprisonment, they will be eligible for parole. They must, however, stay on parole for the remainder of their lives and adhere to a set of rules.

Murder of a Second Degree

Second-degree murder is defined as the intentional killing of someone without prior planning or preparation, according to the Criminal Code. This isn’t a first-degree murder.

This category includes killing someone during a fight.


This offence’s penalty is determined by the accused’s criminal history. A repeat criminal will be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for a period of 25 years. This sort of murder carries a mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole for at least ten years.

In other circumstances, parole eligibility may be determined based on the Crown’s, defense’s, and jury’s recommendations.

If the guilty person is mentally ill or the homicide was committed in the heat of the moment, however, the charges may be lowered to manslaughter.

Murder of the Third Kind

Manslaughter is a term for third-degree murder. Both of these phrases are frequently interchanged. This sort of murder occurs when the accused intended to do no harm but unintentionally kills someone.

Two types of manslaughter exist. –

Act That Is Illegal

It is considered an unlawful act when a criminal act accidentally causes death. Driving under the influence and killing someone by accident, recklessly shooting firearms and killing a bystander, and similar situations are examples of this offence.

Negligence in Crime:

It will be determined as criminal negligence if a homicide occurs as a result of a person’s reckless or outrageous act, which displays disdain for the life of others. The act must be more than a simple blunder or lapse of judgement that any normal person would make.

Criminal negligence occurs only when the perpetrator is aware that their conduct would put the victim in danger.

Let’s say two automobiles are racing and one of them crushes someone with their car, resulting in the person’s death. Because of criminal negligence, this is a case of manslaughter.


Regardless of the sort of manslaughter committed, there is no minimum sentence. The judge made his decision based on the facts of the case and all relevant criteria.

If the homicide was committed with a firearm, however, the convicted must serve at least four years in jail.

Final Thoughts

You’ve seen the three degrees of murder in great detail up to this point. These things are intricate, and the fees vary depending on the sort of service. Furthermore, establishing the type of murder is a difficult undertaking due to the numerous variables that play a role in a crime.

As a result, seeking expert assistance as soon as feasible is critical. They may help you prepare a suitable defence and handle the case as a whole to secure a fair outcome.


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