The offence of manslaughter is outlined in section 236 of the Criminal Code.

A person commits the offence of manslaughter when they cause the death of another person by doing something illegal; by being criminally negligent; by threatening, scaring, or deceiving the person into killing themselves; or by intentionally scaring a child or sick person.


Person A attempts to throw a glass near person B’s head to scare person B but misses their target and hits person B in the head, killing person B.

Person F sees person G, his wife, heavily abusing his child, but even though person F realizes person G could kill their child by doing this, person F does not interfere because he believes that the child’s mother knows best. If the child dies because of person F’s abuse, person G will have committed manslaughter by not interfering.

Person H convinces person J to jump off a cliff by reassuring person I that there is water at the bottom, but there are only sharp rocks at the bottom and person J dies on impact.

Person K and L are playing with a gun. The gun goes off while in person K’s hands, accidentally hitting and killing person L.


R. v. H.C., 2022 ONCA 409

In R. v. H.C., the accused was charged with one count of manslaughter when his friends were in his basement playing with his shotgun and accidentally shot the deceased in the chest.

R. v. Sheldon Finlayson, 2021 ONSC 529

In R. v. Sheldon Finlayson, the accused was convicted of one count of manslaughter for punching his friend in the head at a party, causing that friend severe brain damage that ultimately killed him. The accused did not know he was hitting his friend with enough force to likely kill him as the accused was heavily intoxicated.

Offence specific defences

Murder or Infanticide

Where the person commits murder or infanticide, they have not completed the offence of manslaughter.

No Death

Where the person injured does not die, the person who did something illegal, was criminally negligent, threatened, scared or deceived the other, or, in the case of a child or sick person, willingly scared them, will not have completed the offence of manslaughter.

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