section 2


Section 2 sets out the definition of the term terrorist group with reference to section 83.01 of the Code, which deals specifically with terrorism related offences.


2. In this Act, "terrorist group" has the same meaning as in subsection 83.01(1);


The term "terrorist group" contained at section 2 references section 83.01 of the Criminal Code, which sets out the definition as follows: "...terrorist group means (a) an entity that has as one of its purposes or activities facilitating or carrying out any terrorist activity, or (b) a listed entity"


Section 2 of the Criminal Code of Canada defines the term terrorist group" as the same meaning as subsection 83.01(1). This provision is essential in the effective application of Canada's anti-terrorism laws. It provides clarity and consistency when applying the relevant provisions. The designation of an organization as a terrorist group bears significant legal implications, and the definition provided in Section 2 is crucial in determining whether an organization meets the criteria to be classified as such. Subsection 83.01(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada defines a terrorist group as a group, whether connected or not to a state, that - Acts with the intention of causing harm to persons or property, or with the intention of causing serious interference with or disruption of an essential service, facility, or system, or - Knowingly acts on behalf of, or in association with, any group or organization referred to in subparagraph (i). The definition of a terrorist group is a crucial component in the fight against terrorism and is used to identify groups that pose a threat to national security. Once a group is designated a terrorist organization, the Canadian government can take robust measures to combat the group's activities, including criminal sanctions and freezing their assets. The designation of a group as a terrorist organization brings with it severe criminal consequences for both individuals who participate in that group's activities and the group itself. Individuals who are found to be involved in a terrorist group can be tried and convicted under Canada's anti-terrorism laws and face harsh penalties, including lengthy jail sentences. The group itself can also face criminal charges and worldwide sanctions, including being banned from financial transactions. The definition of the term "terrorist group" is critical in distinguishing between legitimate political movements and terrorist organizations. It is imperative that this distinction is made to ensure that political dissent is not criminalized. This is because terrorism is fundamentally different from peaceful dissent. Terrorism is characterized by the use of violence to instill fear, with the goal of furthering political or ideological goals. In contrast, peaceful dissent is an essential aspect of democracy that guarantees people's right to freedom of expression. Finally, it is worth noting that the definition of a terrorist group in Canada's Criminal Code has been subject to criticism and controversy. Critics have argued that the definition is too vague and overly broad, which could lead to the criminalization of legitimate political dissent. As previously stated, it is essential to distinguish between terrorism and peaceful dissent. However, some legal experts have noted that the current definition of a terrorist group could still allow the Canadian government to designate groups as terrorists, even when violent activity is not present. In summary, Section 2 of the Criminal Code of Canada provides clarity and consistency in the application of anti-terrorism laws. The definition of a terrorist group is a critical component in the fight against terrorism and is used to identify groups that pose a threat to national security. It is important to strike a balance between protecting national security and safeguarding citizens' rights to freedom of expression and association.


The inclusion of section 2 in the Criminal Code of Canada is a strategic consideration for law enforcement agencies dealing with terrorist activities and groups operating within Canadian territory. The interpretation and implementation of section 2 are critical in countering the threats posed by terrorist groups and protecting the Canadian society from harm. One of the most critical strategic considerations for law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and judges is to ensure that they have a clear understanding of the definition of "terrorist group" as defined in subsection 83.01(1) of the Criminal Code. This definition expands on the traditional understanding of a terrorist group and includes any groups that engage in acts of violence that are intended to intimidate the public, coerce the government, and disrupt the social, economic, or political stability of the country. Law enforcement agencies must devise strategies to identify and monitor suspected terrorist groups and activities, using intelligence gathering and analysis to enhance their investigative capacity. The law enforcement agencies must also work closely with partner agencies, both domestically and internationally, to collect and share relevant intelligence regarding terrorist activities and groups operating in Canada. Once a terrorist group has been identified, law enforcement agencies must employ strategies to disrupt their activities, including the use of targeted arrests and prosecutions, conducting investigations related to financial transactions, and disrupting communication networks. These strategies serve to undermine the group's operational infrastructure and reduce their capacity to carry out terrorist activities. Another critical strategic consideration is to ensure that law enforcement agencies effectively collaborate with communities to prevent radicalization and recruitment of individuals into extremist organizations. Collaboration with Muslim communities living in Canada can be crucial in countering terrorist threats, as they are often the most vulnerable to radicalization and recruitment by extremist groups. Furthermore, legal frameworks must be designed to reflect the evolving nature of the terrorist threat. Legislative reforms may be necessary to address the changing modus operandi of terrorist groups and ensure that the law is sufficiently equipped to handle new and emerging threats. Overall, countering terrorism involves a multifaceted and coordinated approach involving several agencies, including law enforcement, intelligence, and community engagement. The strategic considerations outlined above can serve as a starting point in developing a coherent counterterrorism strategy to protect Canadians and their interests while upholding the rule of law.


The Superior Court of Justice considers specifically the constitutionality of the term "terrorist group" at paragraphs 18-24. Ultimately, Justice Baltman concludes: "Nor does the listing make the definition of a terrorist group overbroad. Membership in a terrorist group is not, in itself, an offence. No crime is committed under s.83.18 unless the accused not only knew of the groups existence but also participated in it for the purpose of enhancing its ability to carry out terrorist activity. The offence thus requires an act to be done with a specified degree of knowledge and for a specific purpose."
The Supreme Court of Canada considered the constitutionality of the various sections dealing with terrorism activities in the Criminal Code, ultimately holding that they are constitutional.


A website detailing the activities of the United Nations Counter Terrorism Committee.
A list of "currently listed entities" which meet the definition of "terrorist group" in Canada.