The offences of false information and indecent and harassing communication are outlined in sections 372(1) to 372(3) of the Criminal Code.
A person commits the offence of false information when, intending to harm or alarm someone, they cause information they know is false to be related to them.
A person commits the offence of indecent communications when, intending to alarm or annoy someone, they telecommunicate an obscene or vulgar communication.
A person commits the offence of harassing communications when, without lawful excuse and intending to harass someone, they cause repeated telecommunications to be made to that person.
Person A tells person B that person B’s spouse was found dead by the highway the night before to upset person B, even though person A knows that person B’s spouse is not dead.
Person C sends person D a long, vulgar message to make person D uncomfortable after person D rejected person C.
Person E calls person F multiple times to get their attention after person F tells person E not to contact them anymore.
R. v. Okrane, 2004 SKPC 153
In R. v. Okrane, the accused was convicted of one count of false information when he sent his ex-wife and her new finance a package containing their house key, false security codes to their alarm system, and a bra belonging to the accused’s ex-wife to scare his ex-wife and harm her relationship with her fiancé.
R. v. P.(D), 2011 ONCJ 880
In R. v. P.(D), the accused was convicted of one count of indecent communications for calling the complainant and threatening to send nude pictures that she had sent to the accused to other people.
R. v. Krichel, 2019 ONSC 5664
In R. v. Krichel, the accused was convicted of one count of harassing communications when he repeatedly emailed his ex-wife for three months after she told him to stop.
Offence Specific Defences
Lack of Intention
Where the person does not intend to harm, alarm, annoy or harass the other person with their communications, they may not have completed the offence of false information and indecent and harassing communication
Where the information conveyed is true, the person who conveyed it has not completed the offence of false information.
Where the person causes another to receive indecent or harassing communications through means other than telecommunications, such as verbally in person or in a handwritten letter, they have not completed the offences of indecent or harassing communications.
Where the person has a lawful excuse to keep contacting someone, despite that person not wishing to speak to them, they may not have completed the offence of harassing communications. A lawful excuse could include the need to inform someone about a threat to their life or the legitimate need to discuss custody arrangements or other childcare-related matters.