Powers to Suppress Riots

From Criminal Law Notebook
This page was last substantively updated or reviewed August 2021. (Rev. # 92674)

General Principles

See also: Role of Law Enforcement and Unlawful Assembly and Rioting (Offence)
Suppression of Riots
Use of force to suppress riot

32 (1) Every peace officer is justified in using or in ordering the use of as much force as the peace officer believes, in good faith and on reasonable grounds,

(a) is necessary to suppress a riot; and
(b) is not excessive, having regard to the danger to be apprehended from the continuance of the riot.
Person bound by military law

(2) Every one who is bound by military law to obey the command of his superior officer is justified in obeying any command given by his superior officer for the suppression of a riot unless the order is manifestly unlawful.

Obeying order of peace officer

(3) Every one is justified in obeying an order of a peace officer to use force to suppress a riot if

(a) he acts in good faith; and
(b) the order is not manifestly unlawful.
Apprehension of serious mischief

(4) Every one who, in good faith and on reasonable grounds, believes that serious mischief will result from a riot before it is possible to secure the attendance of a peace officer is justified in using as much force as he believes in good faith and on reasonable grounds,

(a) is necessary to suppress the riot; and
(b) is not excessive, having regard to the danger to be apprehended from the continuance of the riot.
Question of law

(5) For the purposes of this section, the question whether an order is manifestly unlawful or not is a question of law.
R.S., c. C-34, s. 32.

CCC (CanLII), (DOJ)


Note up: 32(1), (2), (3), (4), and (5)

Duty of officers if rioters do not disperse

33 (1) Where the proclamation referred to in section 67 [reading proclamation] has been made or an offence against paragraph 68(a) [offences related to proclamation – interfere with making of proclamation] or (b) [offences related to proclamation – failure to disburse after proclamation has been read] has been committed, it is the duty of a peace officer and of a person who is lawfully required by him to assist, to disperse or to arrest persons who do not comply with the proclamation.

Protection of officers

(2) No civil or criminal proceedings lie against a peace officer or a person who is lawfully required by a peace officer to assist him in respect of any death or injury that by reason of resistance is caused as a result of the performance by the peace officer or that person of a duty that is imposed by subsection (1) [duty of officers if rioters do not disperse].

Section not restrictive

(3) Nothing in this section limits or affects any powers, duties or functions that are conferred or imposed by this Act with respect to the suppression of riots.

R.S., c. C-34, s. 33.
[annotation(s) added]

CCC (CanLII), (DOJ)


Note up: 33(1), (2) and (3)