Warrants that are issued by a justice or a provincial court are generally only valid in the province where they were issued. However, there are some circumstances where you can be arrested for a warrant outside of the province that initially authorized the warrant.
Specifically, in serious cases a Canada-wide warrant may be issued for your arrest. This warrant will authorize police all across Canada to bring you into custody, no matter where you are found. You can also be arrested out-of-province when a warrant is issued by a superior court or the court of appeal. Like a Canada-wide warrant, a warrant that is issued by a superior court authorizes the police in any province to execute the warrant and bring you into custody.
Further, a warrant that was issued in one province can be endorsed by the court in another province. When the warrant is endorsed in the second province, the police in the second province will then be granted authority to arrest you. For example, if a warrant for your arrest was issued in Alberta, the police in Ontario can bring the warrant before the court in Ontario and have a justice or a judge endorse it. Once the warrant is endorsed, the police in Ontario will be able to arrest you even though the warrant was issued in Alberta.
Transferring your charges to another province, or waiving your charges:
In some cases where you have a warrant out for your arrest in one province, it may be possible to have the charges transferred to another province so that you can deal with them there. However, there are a number of laws that regulate the transfer or ‘waiver’ of charges from one jurisdiction to another, and these may significantly limit your ability to deal with warrants that were issued outside of your current province.
Firstly, charges in one province may only be waived to another if they are not a charge listed under section 469 of the Criminal Code. Charges under section 469 that cannot be waived from province to province include, but are not limited to, treason, intimidating Parliament or a legislature, inciting to mutiny, seditious offences, piracy, and murder.
In order for there to be a waiver of your charges, you will also have to plead guilty to the offences, and the authorities will need to be reasonably assured that once your charges are transferred that you will not revoke your plea. This is so because should you revoke your plea, you would ultimately have to be transferred back to the originating province and have your trial held there anyway. In addition, your charges will not be waived if it would be contrary to the public interest to do so. When deciding whether the waiver is in the public interest, some of the things that will need to be considered include:
- Whether you have strong or substantial ties to the receiving province. The weaker your ties to the receiving province, the less likely it is that the waiver will be granted.
- Whether the sentencing practices in the second province are reasonably similar to those of the originating province.
- Whether there is significant public interest in the matter being heard. If the community in the originating province has particular interest in the matter being heard, this factor will weigh in favor of a waiver.
- Whether the transfer is going to cause undue delay or further delay the proceedings.
- Whether the Crown Prosecutor needs to call evidence from the originating province. If the evidence against you is very tied to the province where you received your charges, it is less likely that you will receive the waiver.
If you are granted a waiver, your charges can be transferred to the receiving province where you will be able to make sentencing submissions, and where your penalty will be determined.