Criminal Code (R.S.C., 1985, c. C-46)

Act current to 2014-06-12 and last amended on 2014-06-01. Previous Versions

Duties Tending to Preservation of Life

Marginal note:Duty of persons to provide necessaries
  •  (1) Every one is under a legal duty

    • (a) as a parent, foster parent, guardian or head of a family, to provide necessaries of life for a child under the age of sixteen years;

    • (b) to provide necessaries of life to their spouse or common-law partner; and

    • (c) to provide necessaries of life to a person under his charge if that person

      • (i) is unable, by reason of detention, age, illness, mental disorder or other cause, to withdraw himself from that charge, and

      • (ii) is unable to provide himself with necessaries of life.

  • Marginal note:Offence

    (2) Every one commits an offence who, being under a legal duty within the meaning of subsection (1), fails without lawful excuse, the proof of which lies on him, to perform that duty, if

    • (a) with respect to a duty imposed by paragraph (1)(a) or (b),

      • (i) the person to whom the duty is owed is in destitute or necessitous circumstances, or

      • (ii) the failure to perform the duty endangers the life of the person to whom the duty is owed, or causes or is likely to cause the health of that person to be endangered permanently; or

    • (b) with respect to a duty imposed by paragraph (1)(c), the failure to perform the duty endangers the life of the person to whom the duty is owed or causes or is likely to cause the health of that person to be injured permanently.

  • Marginal note:Punishment

    (3) Every one who commits an offence under subsection (2)

    • (a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years; or

    • (b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding eighteen months.

  • Marginal note:Presumptions

    (4) For the purpose of proceedings under this section,

    • (a[Repealed, 2000, c. 12, s. 93]

    • (b) evidence that a person has in any way recognized a child as being his child is, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, proof that the child is his child;

    • (c) evidence that a person has failed for a period of one month to make provision for the maintenance of any child of theirs under the age of sixteen years is, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, proof that the person has failed without lawful excuse to provide necessaries of life for the child; and

    • (d) the fact that a spouse or common-law partner or child is receiving or has received necessaries of life from another person who is not under a legal duty to provide them is not a defence.

  • R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 215;
  • 1991, c. 43, s. 9;
  • 2000, c. 12, ss. 93, 95;
  • 2005, c. 32, s. 11.