What is a Criminal Organization?

A criminal organization is a group, regardless of its structure, that consists of three or more people within or outside Canada. One of its main purposes or main activities is to facilitate or commit one or more serious offences that, if committed, would likely result in the direct or indirect receipt of a material benefit, including a financial benefit, by the group or by any of the individuals comprising the group. However, this does not include a group of people that forms randomly for the immediate commission of a single offence.

A serious offence is an indictable offence under this or any other Act of Parliament for which the maximum punishment is imprisonment for five years or more or another offence that is prescribed by regulation.

Facilitation of an offence does not require knowledge of a particular offence being facilitated or that an offence actually be committed.

Committing an offence means being a party to it or counselling any person to be a party to it.

The Governor in Council may make regulations prescribing offences that are included in the definition of a serious offence.

Any person who is part of a criminal organization and who knowingly instructs, directly or indirectly, any person to commit an offence under this or any other Act of Parliament for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with, the criminal organization is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for life.

In a prosecution for this offence, it is not necessary for the prosecutor to prove that an offence other than the one under this section was actually committed, that the accused instructed a specific person to commit an offence, or that the accused knew the identities of all individuals comprising the criminal organization.

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