Is uttering threats a crime in Canada? 

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Is uttering threats a crime in Canada? 

Yes, uttering threats is a crime in Canada. If you have been charged with uttering threats in Alberta, you will be prosecuted for the offence in the jurisdiction the offence arises from.


Section 264.1 of the Criminal Code of Canada sets out what types of things may be considered a threat. The Criminal Code says that the offence of uttering threats is made out if a person knowingly utters any person to receive a threat:

  • To cause death or bodily harm to any person;
  • To burn, destroy or damage real or personal property; or
  • To kill, poison or injure an animal or bird that is the property of any person.

An uttering threats charge can arise from knowingly threatening to kill or harm a person, threatening to damage a person’s property, or threatening to harm a someone’s animal. The threat can come in any form whether it be verbally, via a message, in person or over the internet. I further review the offence of uttering threats in a separate FAQ post.


The punishment for uttering threats related to death or bodily harm can be up to five years in jail depending on the circumstances surrounding the situation and whether the prosecutor elects to proceed by way of summary conviction or by indictment. In many cases of uttering threats there is no jail time imposed. The punishment depends upon the circumstances of the offence and seriousness of the violence. The sentence for an uttering threats charge can range from a conditional discharge to probation, to a conditional sentence order or a fine.