Forgery

The offence of forgery is outlined in section 366(1) of the Criminal Code.

A person commits the offence of forgery when they knowingly make a false document intending for it to be used or acted on as genuine to another person’s prejudice, or intending to induce someone who believes the document is genuine to do or refrain from doing anything.

Making a false document includes altering, adding to, erasing, removing, or obliterating a genuine document in a material way.

Examples

Person A changes the purchase date on a receipt to make it appear as though they purchased their products recently and can still receive a full refund for them.

Person B drafts a false birth certificate for the child they abducted so that they can pass this child off as their own.

Person C alters material parts of their grandfather’s will so that they receive more of the estate than other members of the family.

Cases

R. v. Godreau, 2016 ONSC 6318

In R. v. Godreau, the accused was convicted of five counts of forgery for forging prescriptions for fentanyl patches by issuing them to false patients whose profiles were created using health cards and other personal identifying information. Over 900 patches of Fentanyl were fraudulently secured via forged prescriptions before being trafficked by the accused and his co-conspirators for profit.

R. v. Watson, 2015 ONSC 710

In R. v. Watson, the accused, a police officer, was convicted of several counts of forgery for fabricating nine motor vehicle accident reports as paid favours to friends, resulting in insurers paying out over one million dollars to false claimants.

Offence Specific Defence(s)

Legitimate Request

A person will not have completed the offence of forgery where they, in good faith, make a false document at the request of a police force, the Canadian Forces, or a department or agency of the federal or provincial government.

Lack of Knowledge

Where the person is unaware that they have materially altered a document, making it a false document, they may not have completed the offence of forgery.

For example, where person A accidentally spills their coffee on a document and in attempting to dry it off and restore the document, they inadvertently erase a significant part of this document, they may not have completed the offence of forgery.

Lack of Intention

Where the person creating a false document or altering, adding to, destroying, or removing information from a genuine document does so without intending that the document be used or acted on as genuine to another person’s prejudice or that it induces someone who believes the document is genuine to do or refrain from doing anything, they may not have completed the offence of forgery.

Not False

Where the person creates a document that is genuine or alters, adds to, destroys, or erases or removes information from a genuine document in a genuine manner, they have not completed the offence of forgery.

Not Material

Where the person makes a non-material alteration, addition, erasure, or removal to a genuine document, they may not have completed the offence of forgery.

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