Nov 15

What is a Criminal Organization?

Common understanding of a “Criminal Organization” tends to be more traditionally recognized groups, such as motorcycle biker clubs, the mafia, or street gangs. But the legal definition of a Criminal Organization in Canada is far broader in scope. Section 467.1 of the Criminal Code defines a Criminal Organization as:

  • an organization comprised of three or more individuals, who may live in or outside of Canada; and
  • the organization’s purpose must facilitate or further the commission of a “serious offence”, for which it receives a material or financial benefit.

What are Criminal Organization-related Offences?

These are three possibilities for how involvement in a criminal organization can attract criminal liability:

  1. An individual can be charged with participating in an criminal organization, which includes membership;
  2. An individual can be accused of committing an offence(s) on behalf of the criminal organization; and
  3. An individual can also be charged with instructing or counselling the commission of an offence for a criminal organization.

To be charged with a criminal organization offence, there must also be completion of an additional criminal offence. For example, criminal organization charges typically involve drug trafficking, firearm trafficking, or gambling-related offences.

What do I do if charged with a Criminal Organization-related Offence?

Lockyer Zaduk Zeeh has gained immense experience representing individuals and groups charged with criminal organization offences. We have represented members of street gangs, motorcycle groups, and cultural factions. If your loved one needs assistance with any part of a criminal proceeding, or you would like to schedule a consultation about your case, contact us at 416-613-0416 or