Voyeurism as a Criminal Offence: A Consultation Paper (Abridged Version)

Voyeurism and the Criminal Code

The Criminal Code does not currently contain any specific provisions to address voyeurism. However, the offences of mischief and trespassing at night have been successfully used in some cases to convict voyeurs. These provisions are of limited scope and do not cover all situations. For example, the scope of the trespassing at night offence is quite narrow, as it applies only to persons who loiter or prowl at night near a dwelling house on the property of another person. A mischief offence is only committed if the voyeur obstructs, interrupts or interferes with a person in the lawful use, enjoyment or operation of property. In most cases, though, victims do not know that they are being observed or recorded by voyeurs.

It should also be noted that the distribution and transmission of pictures or videos obtained through voyeurism are currently not offences under the Criminal Code unless they fall under the child pornography or obscenity provisions. The creation of a voyeurism offence and an offence of distributing or transmitting voyeuristic materials would help to fill this gap in the law.