The offence of criminal negligence causing death is outlined in section 220 of the Criminal Code.
A person commits the offence of criminal negligence causing death when they cause the death of another by showing a deliberate or reckless disregard for the lives or safety of others when doing anything or omitting to do anything they have a legal duty to do.
Person A is driving without their glasses on despite not being able to see without them on and crashes into a car, killing the three occupants of that car.
Person B leaves their baby in their car on a hot summer day while they go shopping. When they return, the baby is dead.
Person C, a doctor, prescribes an addictive drug to person D knowing that person D has a history of addiction to this drug. Person D dies from an overdose of that drug the next day.
R. v. Fummerton, 2016 ONSC 1107
In R. v. Fummerton, the accused, a truck driver, was charged with one count of criminal negligence causing death when he failed to comply with provincial regulations by driving during mandated rest hours, causing him to fall asleep at the wheel and crash into another vehicle, killing that vehicle’s driver.
R. v. Wood, 2017 ONSC 3239
In R. v. Wood, the accused was charged with two counts of criminal negligence causing death when he failed to report structural flaws in his inspections of a mall that later collapsed, killing two people.
Offence Specific Defence(s)
Where no one dies because of the person’s conduct or the person’s failure to execute their legal duty, the person will not have completed the offence of criminal negligence causing death.
No Criminal Negligence
Where the person did not demonstrate a deliberate or reckless disregard for the lives and safety of others but behaved as anyone else would, they may not have committed the offence of criminal negligence causing death.
For example, if person A is driving through the city obeying all traffic laws and a deer runs onto the street, causing person A to react by swerving into person B, who then dies, person A may not have completed the offence of criminal negligence causing death.