section 2


The definition of the term writing as used in the Criminal Code of Canada


2. In this Act, "writing" includes a document of any kind and any mode in which, and any material on which, words or figures, whether at length or abridged, are written, printed or otherwise expressed, or a map or plan is inscribed.


The term "a writing" is typically used in the context of sworn informations, affidavits and for the purposes of warrants.


Section 2 of the Criminal Code of Canada provides a broad definition of the term "writing," which includes any document, material, or mode in which words or figures are expressed, including maps and plans. This definition is important in criminal law as it helps to establish the scope and gravity of offences related to documents, such as forgery, fraud, and counterfeiting. The inclusion of different modes and materials under the definition of writing allows for a flexible and adaptable interpretation of the law. For instance, a written message may be communicated through various electronic means, such as emails or messaging apps, which fall within the scope of the section's definition. Additionally, the term "document" is not limited to a physical or tangible object, but it may also include electronic documents, video recordings, and other forms of data. The phrase "whether at length or abridged" demonstrates that any type of writing, regardless of its length or brevity, is covered under the Criminal Code's definition. This ensures that all types of written materials that can be used to commit an offence are considered in the legal framework. It is also crucial to note that the use of the term "figures" in the definition broadens the scope of what can be considered writing beyond just letters and numbers. The inclusion of the terms "printed or otherwise expressed" shows that this section of the Criminal Code covers not only traditional methods of writing but also any other means of expression. For example, drawings, photographs, and paintings can be considered as writing, especially if they're used to convey a message or manipulate someone's perception. This recognition of a wide range of modes of communication is critical as it helps the justice system to identify any attempts to deceive or manipulate the evidence. The inclusion of maps and plan within the definition of writing demonstrates the importance of accurate and legitimate cartography. The preparation of maps and plans is a specialized field, and the misuse of maps or plans can have grave consequences, particularly in cases where it is being used for illegal activities. Encoding maps and plans and considering them under the Criminal Code allows for greater precision in the information they contain. It also means that any misuse of maps or plans leading to criminal activities will be considered an offense under Canadian law. In conclusion, Section 2 of the Criminal Code of Canada serves as an essential guide to the scope of what is considered "writing" under the Criminal Code. It is expansive and comprehensive, allowing the law to adapt to the different modes of communication and materials used in modern day society. By recognizing the different forms of expression, including maps and plans, and different materials, the justice system is empowered to prevent the potential misuse of these items for any unlawful purpose. It remains an essential section of the Criminal code because it ensures that any activities involving documents, materials, or communication methods can be considered under the Criminal Code, and appropriate punishment can be enforced when necessary.


Section 2 of the Criminal Code of Canada is a crucial provision that outlines the definition of "writing" as used throughout the Act. This definition affects how criminal cases are investigated, prosecuted and defended. As such, strategic considerations must be taken into account when dealing with Section 2 of the Criminal Code of Canada. One of the key strategic considerations is how the definition of "writing" can impact evidence gathering and presentation. The broad definition of writing encompasses a wide range of mediums and materials, including digital documents, photographs, notes, and maps, amongst others. Therefore, investigators and prosecutors must identify all forms of writing that may be relevant to the case to ensure that no important evidence is overlooked. Conversely, defense lawyers must closely scrutinize all evidence presented against their clients to ensure that it meets the stringent requirements of Section 2 of the Criminal Code of Canada. Another strategic consideration is the interpretation of the phrase "words or figures, whether at length or abridged." This phrase suggests that any written or digital message, regardless of its length, may potentially fall under the umbrella of Section 2. Prosecutors may use this interpretation to potentially argue that otherwise harmless messages should be interpreted in a more nefarious manner, leading to criminal charges being filed. Conversely, defense counsel can use this interpretation to argue that the purported message is not a meaningful representation of their client's intention. Another strategic consideration when dealing with Section 2 of the Criminal Code of Canada is how the definition of writing may be interpreted by a judge. It is important for both lawyers and judges to appreciate the broad interpretation of "writing" in Section 2 and its potential implications. In cases where the definition of writing is ambiguous, lawyers must present arguments that best align with established legal precedents. Additionally, judges must recognize the potential ambiguity in the definition of writing and exercise caution when making any legal determinations. In conclusion, Section 2 of the Criminal Code of Canada plays an important role in criminal cases. Therefore, it is essential that lawyers understand the broad interpretation of the term "writing" and consider the various strategies available to them when interpreting evidence. Legal professionals must be diligent in their analysis of the implications of the broad definition of writing in Section 2 and patiently work to ensure that any legal determinations made are fair, just and unbiased.


An accused applied, pursuant to section 601, to quash an information laid against him on the basis of defects. The Provincial Court of British Columbia considered the definition of the term "a writing" within the decision.
The Ontario Court of Appeal considers a case in which two false affidavits were sworn "a writing", and the appropriate actus reus and mens rea for swearing a false affidavit.