Homicide in Canada, 2010

By Tina Hotton Mahony

Homicide in Canada is a relatively rare event. In 2010, there were 554 homicides in Canada—representing less than 1% of violent incidents reported to police (Brennan and Dauvergne 2011). Information gathered from the Homicide Survey plays an important role in measuring crime in Canada, particularly in identifying trends over time. Homicide is more likely than other crimes to be reported to police, to be the subject of thorough investigation and, in turn, to be captured in official statistics (Nivette 2011; Van Dijk 2008; Gannon et al. 2005). For this reason, the rate of homicide has been viewed as a "social barometer" and as one indicator of the health of a nation (Marshall and Block 2004).

This Juristat article presents 2010 homicide data, marking the 50th consecutive year for which this information has been collected by Statistics Canada. Trends in gang-related homicide, homicides involving firearms, homicides by youth, and intimate partner homicide are highlighted. This report also presents a profile of homicides involving accused persons with a suspected mental or developmental disorder.

Lowest homicide rate in over 40 years

Following a decade of relative stability, homicides decreased substantially in 2010. There were 554 police-reported homicides in 2010, 56 fewer than the year before (Table 1a). The 2010 homicide rate fell to 1.62 per 100,000 population, its lowest level since 1966 (Chart 1).

Chart 1
Homicides, Canada, 1961 to 2010

Data table for chart 1

Chart 1 Homicides, Canada, 1961 to 2010

1. Excludes 329 victims killed in the Air India incident in 1985.
Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Homicide Survey.

The 2010 decline in homicides resulted from fewer homicides committed against both males and females (Table 9). The drop in the rate of homicides against males (-12%) was double that for females (-6%), reaching its lowest point in more than 30 years (Chart 2).

Chart 2
Homicides, by sex of victim, Canada, 1980 to 2010

Data table for chart 2

Chart 2 Homicides, by sex of victim, Canada, 1980 to 2010

Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Homicide Survey.

Homicide rates highest in the western provinces and the territories

The overall drop in homicides was driven largely by fewer homicides in the western part of the country, primarily in British Columbia. With 35 fewer homicides in 2010 than in 2009, the rate in British Columbia (1.83) fell 31% and reached its lowest point since the mid-1960s. Notable declines were also reported in Alberta (18 fewer homicides) and Manitoba (12 fewer homicides).

Despite declines, the 2010 homicide rates were generally higher in the western provinces and northern territories than in the eastern part of the country, continuing the pattern seen over many decades (Table 1b). Drawing comparisons between the provinces, the homicide rate was highest in Manitoba (3.6) and Saskatchewan (3.3) (Chart 3), with rates double the national average. The exception to this pattern was in Nova Scotia (2.2), where the homicide rate rose 39% in 2010 to its highest level since 1998 and the third highest rate among the provinces. 

As in British Columbia, Quebec's 2010 homicide rate (1.1) fell to its lowest point since the mid-1960s. Although the rates in Ontario (1.4) as well as Newfoundland and Labrador (0.8) increased from 2009, they remained below the national average. For the second consecutive year, there were no homicides reported in Prince Edward Island.

Homicide rates in the three territories tend to fluctuate considerably from year to year due to their small populations. Among the three territories, the number of homicides was highest in Nunavut with six victims. Yukon and the Northwest Territories each reported 1 homicide in 2010, lower than their previous 10-year averages (Table 1a).

Chart 3
Homicides, by province, 2010

Data table for chart 3

Chart 3 Homicides, by province, 2010

Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Homicide Survey.

Thunder Bay records the highest homicide rate in 2010

Among Canada's census metropolitan areas (CMAs),1 Thunder Bay reported the highest homicide rate in 2010 (4.2 homicides per 100,000 population) for the second year in a row. This city's rate was followed by the western CMAs of Saskatoon (3.7) and Regina (3.7), where homicide rates have been above the national average for more than a decade (Table 2).

Substantial declines in homicide occurred in several of Canada's largest CMAs in 2010. More specifically, with 25 fewer homicides than the year before, Vancouver's rate fell 42%, resulting in this city's lowest homicide rate since CMA data became available in 1981. Substantial declines were also recorded in Calgary (-39%), Winnipeg (-32%) and Toronto (-13%). Toronto's rate was at its lowest point since 1999.

There is a relatively common misperception in Canada that homicide, and violent crime more generally, is a big city phenomenon (Francisco and Chénier 2007). While almost one-third of Canada's homicides occurred in its three largest CMAs (Toronto, Montréal and Vancouver), the incidence of homicide in these CMAs relative to the size of their populations (i.e. their rates) was below the national average (Chart 4). The 2010 homicide rate in Canada was lower in CMAs than in non-CMAs (1.5 versus 1.9 per 100,000), although this difference was less pronounced over the previous 10-year period (1.8 and 1.9 respectively).

Chart 4
Homicides, by Canada's ten largest census metropolitan areas, 2010

Data table for chart 4

Chart 4 Homicides, by Canada's ten largest census metropolitan areas, 2010

1. Ottawa refers to the Ontario part of the Ottawa-Gatineau CMA.
Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Homicide Survey.

Text box 1
International comparisons of homicide

Most cross-national research on crime focuses on homicide because of its reliability (Nivette 2011; Van Dijk 2008). Canada's 2010 homicide rate was similar to many European countries, but remained one-third that of the United States (Text box Chart 5).1

Chart 5
Homicide rates for selected countries

Data table for chart 5

Chart 5 Homicide rates for selected countries

1. Figures reflect 2010 data.
2. Figures reflect 2009 data.
Source: Statistics Canada, Interpol Ottawa and national statistical office websites.

1. Although the measurement of homicide is considered more reliable than other types of crime, differences in data-collection techniques and definitions across international sources can occur. For example, there may be different approaches to defining intentional and unintentional homicide, and some nations do not distinguish between attempted and completed homicides (Nivette 2011). For these reasons, comparisons are only drawn between nations that follow similar definitions and approaches to collection.

End of text box 1.

Firearm-related homicides continue to decline

Over the past 30 years, the most common method used to commit homicide has varied between shootings and stabbings (Chart 6). In 2010, 32% of homicides involved shootings, followed by stabbings (31%) and beatings (22%). The remaining incidents were committed by strangulation or suffocation (8%), or other methods (8%) such as by motor vehicle, fire, poisoning and Shaken Baby Syndrome (Table 3). Although there have been some annual fluctuations, there was a decrease in shootings from 2009 to 2010 (-7%), consistent with a general decline in firearm-related homicides seen over the past three decades.

Chart 6
Homicides, by most common type of method, 1980 to 2010

Data table for chart 6

Chart 6 Homicides, by most common type of method, 1980 to 2010

Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Homicide Survey.

Firearms are more likely to be used to commit homicide in some areas of the country than in others (Table 4). When looking at Canada's 10 largest CMAs, for example, one-half of all homicides in Toronto were committed with a firearm in 2010, followed by Vancouver (44%) and Montréal (33%).

In 2010, handguns accounted for the majority of homicides committed with a firearm (64%), followed by rifles or shotguns (23%), and other firearms such as sawed-off shotguns, automatic firearms or other firearm-like weapons (13%) (Table 5). Much of the decline in firearm-related homicide since the early 1980's can be attributed to a decrease in homicides involving a rifle or shotgun. Despite a small increase in 2010 (from 30 to 36 victims), recent rates of homicide involving a rifle or shotgun are about one-fifth of those seen 30 years ago (Chart 7).

Over the past three decades, the rates of handgun-related homicide have fluctuated, though notable declines have been seen in recent years. More specifically, from 2007 to 2010, the rate of handgun-related homicide declined by 23%.

Chart 7
Firearm-related homicides, by type of firearm, Canada, 1980 to 2010

Data table for chart 7

Chart 7 Firearm-related homicides, by type of firearm, Canada, 1980 to 2010

Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Homicide Survey.

Gang-related homicides decline for second year in a row

Overall, organized crime and/or gang activity is related to fewer than 1 in 5 homicides in Canada each year. According to the Criminal Intelligence Service Canada (CISC), extreme violence is generally counter-productive for organized crime groups as it both distracts from profit-oriented activities and attracts the attention of law enforcement (CISC 2010). In the Homicide Survey, incidents are classified as "gang-related" when police believe the homicide occurred as a consequence of activities involving an organized crime group or street gang. Homicides of innocent bystanders who are killed as a result of gang-related activity are also considered to be gang-related.

In 2010, 94 homicides were considered by police to be gang-related, accounting for 17% of all homicides reported to police. This represented a 25% drop and the second annual decline, following a high in 2008 when 138 homicides were reported by police as gang-related (Table 6). Despite these recent declines, the rate of gang-related homicide has generally been increasing in all provinces since the Homicide Survey began recording this information in 1991 (Chart 8). The only exception is in Quebec, where gang-related homicide was at its highest in 2000.

Chart 8
Gang-related homicides, Canada, 1991 to 2010

Data table for chart 8

Chart 8 Gang-related homicides, Canada, 1991 to 2010

Note: These data became available beginning in 1991.
Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Homicide Survey.

Saskatchewan records highest rate of gang-related homicide in 2010

Among the provinces2, Saskatchewan was the only province to report a notable increase in gang-related homicide, rising from 4 homicides in 2009 to 10 in 2010. Ontario, Manitoba and British Columbia all reported notable decreases in the number of gang-related homicides over the previous year (Table 6).

Winnipeg and Vancouver reported the highest rates of gang-related homicide among the ten largest CMAs, followed by Montréal, Toronto and Edmonton (Table 4). However, rates of gang-related homicide in Winnipeg, Vancouver and Toronto were substantially lower in 2010 than in 2009 (decreasing by 56%, 49% and 35% respectively).

Victims of gang-related homicide often involved in criminal activities

The characteristics of gang-related homicides tend to differ from other types of homicides in a number of ways. Compared to homicides that were not gang-related, gang-related homicides in 2010 were more likely to have been committed by more than one accused person (66% versus 13%), to have involved the use of firearms (76% versus 18%) and to have been related to the illegal drug trade (such as trafficking or settling of drug-related accounts) (62% versus 9%). The most common drugs identified in gang-related homicides involving drugs were cocaine (51%) and cannabis (31%).

Victims of gang-related homicides, like persons accused in these incidents, are usually male, relatively young and are often involved in criminal activities themselves. More specifically, in 2010, close to 93% of gang-related homicides involved a male victim, compared to 66% of other homicide victims. Victims of gang-related homicides were also younger on average than other homicide victims (31 and 36 years, respectively), though not as young as persons accused in gang-related incidents (24 years on average).

Close to 7 in 10 victims in gang-related homicides (68%) had a criminal record, lower than the proportion among persons accused in gang-related incidents (88%). Victims of these homicides were also more likely to be involved in criminal activities themselves. Police respondents recorded illegal activities as the main source of "employment" for 7 in 10 victims of gang-related homicide (71%), six times higher than for other homicide victims (12%). The most common motive3 recorded by police for gang-related homicide was the settling of accounts (61%).

Gang-related homicides less likely than other homicides to be solved

In 2010, almost three-quarters of homicides (75%) were solved by police through the identification of an accused person. This proportion of solved or "cleared" homicides remained unchanged from 2009, and mirrored the previous 10-year average.4

Gang-related homicides are less likely than other homicides to be solved by police. Police identified an accused person in 34% of gang-related homicides in 2010 compared to 89% of non-gang-related homicides. This is consistent with previous research, which suggests that homicides involving criminal associates and illegal activities (e.g., gangs, drugs, prostitution) take longer on average for police to solve, and are generally more likely to go unsolved (Dauvergne and Li 2006).

Declines in homicide reported across all major relationship categories

Among solved homicides in 2010, most victims (83%) knew their killer. Acquaintances comprised the majority of accused persons (40%), followed by family members (34%), strangers (17%), and criminal relationships (9%) (Table 7).

Between 2009 and 2010, declines in homicide rates were reported across all four major accused-victim relationship categories (Chart 9). Rates of homicide committed by acquaintances and family members saw a decrease of 7% and 9% respectively. Rates fell even further for homicides committed by strangers (-14%) and criminal acquaintances (-21%).

Chart 9
Homicides, by accused-victim relationship, Canada, 1991 to 2010

Data table for chart 9

Chart 9 Homicides, by accused-victim relationship, Canada, 1991 to 2010

1. Acquaintances include boyfriend/girlfriend and other non-spousal intimate relationships, close friends, neighbours, authority figures, business relationships (legal) and casual acquaintances.
2. Family relationships include current and former spouses (legal, common-law, same-sex), parents and children (including biological, adopted, step and foster relationships), siblings and other extended family.
3. Criminal relationships include, for example, prostitutes, drug dealers and their clients, loansharks and gang members. It should be noted that some gang-related homicides may have been scored as "acquaintance".
Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Homicide Survey.

Rates of intimate partner homicide remained stable in 2010

There are many different ways of defining intimate relationships in the context of lethal violence (Johnson and Dawson 2011). The focus can be on "spousal homicide" in marital or common-law relationships, or can be expanded to include lethal violence that occurs in dating relationships. In this section of the article, the broader scope is used, and the term "intimate partner homicide" is applied.

Over the past three decades there has been a general decline in the rate of intimate partner homicide in Canada (decreasing 32% from 1980 to 2010) (Chart 10). A decline in rates of homicide committed by an intimate partner can be found in most parts of the country, with the largest decreases reported in British Columbia and Ontario.5 Previous research has suggested that a decline in rates of intimate partner homicide can be attributed to many factors, including improvements in women's socioeconomic status and the increased availability of resources for victims of violence (Dawson et al. 2009; Pottie Bunge 2002; Dugan et al. 1999).

In recent years, the number of intimate partner homicides, including spousal homicides, has been relatively stable. In 2010, there were 89 victims of homicide by an intimate partner, one above the number recorded in 2009.

Chart 10
Intimate partner homicides, Canada, 1980 to 2010

Data table for chart 10

Chart 10 Intimate partner homicides, Canada, 1980 to 2010

Note: Rates are calculated per 100,000 population (aged 15 years and older). Intimate partners include current and former spouses (legal, common-law and same sex) as well as persons in dating and other intimate relationships.
Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Homicide Survey.

Increase in homicides committed by common-law and dating partners

The risk of intimate partner homicide varies according to a number of factors, including the characteristics of the victim and the type of relationship shared with the accused.6 In 2010, current and former common-law spouses accounted for close to one-half of homicides committed by an intimate partner (45%), followed equally by legal spouses (28%) and dating partners (28%). This was a considerable shift from the previous ten-year period, when current or former legal spouses made up the largest share of persons accused of killing an intimate partner (42%).

In fact, much of the decline in intimate partner homicide over the past 30 years can be attributed to a decline in homicides in the context of legal marriage. The number of homicides by current and former legal spouses decreased 52% from 1980 to 2010, while homicides within common-law and dating relationships increased (Chart 11). This trend may reflect a demographic shift across the country in which more young couples are deciding to delay marriage or selecting a common-law relationship prior to, or as an alternative to, legal marriage (Clark 2007).

Chart 11
Intimate partner homicide, by relationship type, 1980 to 2010

Data table for chart 11

Chart 11 Intimate partner homicide, by relationship type, 1980 to 2010

Note: Includes both current and former relationships. Same-sex spouses were removed from this analysis as the Homicide Survey does not collect information on the legal status of same-sex unions. Percentages are calculated for victims aged 15 years and over.
Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Homicide Survey.

However, even with the shifting composition of conjugal relationships in Canada, women and men were more likely to be killed by a common-law partner than a married partner. When the number of homicides was adjusted to account for the population in these types of unions, the 2010 rate of homicide in current common-law relationships was nearly 8 times higher than the rate in current marital relationships (1.12 and 0.15 respectively).7

Occupational risk of homicide

Starting in 1997, the Homicide Survey was expanded to include questions on the occupation of the victim and whether or not the homicide was a direct result of the victim's profession.8 Omitting illegal occupations (such as drug dealing and prostitution9), there were 130 homicides from 2000 to 2010 that police believed were directly related to the victim's job. Twenty-seven of these homicides involved transportation-related occupations, such as taxi drivers, truck drivers, and bus drivers. Another 1 in 5 work-related homicides (26) involved security occupations (including police10 and correctional officers as well as other security personnel). Retail employees (including service station and convenience store clerks) accounted for 22 of all work-related homicides, followed by restaurant, bar and hotel workers (19), and janitors or superintendents (6).11

Since 2000, police recorded that 78 prostitutes were killed as a direct result of their occupation, including 5 in 2010. This was lower than the average number of 7 victims killed each year between 2000 and 2009.

Youth accounted for 1 in 10 persons accused of homicide

There were 56 youth (12 to 17 years of age) accused of homicide in 2010, down from 79 the previous year. This number was slightly lower than the 2000 to 2009 average of 59 youth accused of homicide per year. Male youth have consistently been more likely than female youth to be accused of homicide, with the rate for males about 10 times higher than that for females in 2010 (Table 8, Chart 12).

Homicides committed by youth differ from those committed by adults in several different ways. For example, compared to adults, solved homicides with a youth accused were more likely to be gang-related (25% compared to 12%) and were more likely to involve a co-accused (57% compared to 36%).

Chart 12
Youth (12 to 17 years) accused of homicide, by sex, Canada, 1980 to 2010

Data table for chart 12

Chart 12 Youth (12 to 17 years) accused of homicide, by sex, Canada, 1980 to 2010

Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Homicide Survey.

Text box 2
Persons accused of homicide with a suspected mental or developmental disorder

There has been growing concern over the past decade over the involvement of individuals with mental illnesses in crime and the criminal justice system. In 2001, the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology1 formed a roundtable on mental health, and found that more data were needed on the mental health status of Canadians, including those passing through the criminal justice system.

One of the main challenges in gathering consistent data on the involvement of individuals with mental illness in the criminal justice system is selecting a precise and common definition. That is, the types of behaviours and conditions that could be included in a definition of mental illness can vary widely, which in turn, poses challenges for targeted and meaningful data collection (Sinha 2009).

In 1997, a question was added to the Homicide Survey that asks police services to indicate if the accused person was suffering from a suspected mental or developmental disorder at the time of the homicide.2 This encompasses a wide variety of conditions such as schizophrenia, depression, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, mental disability, dementia, psychotic and neurotic illnesses or sociopathic tendencies. It is important to note that this information is based on the investigating police officer's assessment and does not reflect a diagnosis from a medical professional. 

Between 2000 and 2010, there were 621 persons accused of homicide reported by police to have a suspected mental or developmental disorder, accounting for 13%3 of all persons accused over this time period. More than one-half of all accused persons with a suspected mental or developmental disorder killed a family member (56%), followed by an acquaintance (33%), stranger (10%) or criminal associate (1%).4 Approximately 1 in 3 (33%) had a previous conviction for a violent offence and 1 in 5 (18%) had a previous conviction(s) for a non-violent offence, lower than other persons accused of homicide (42% and 21% respectively).

The characteristics of homicides involving an accused with a suspected mental or developmental disorder differ in a number of different ways from other homicides. A higher proportion of female (18%) than male accused (13%) were reported as having a suspected mental or developmental disorder. The prevalence of these conditions among the accused population also increased steadily with age. Among accused persons 18 to 24 years of age, approximately 7% were suspected of having a mental illness, rising to 33% among accused persons over the age of 55 (Chart 13).

Chart 13
Persons accused of homicide with a suspected mental or developmental disorder, within each age group, 2000 to 2010

Data table for chart 13

Chart 13 Persons accused of homicide with a suspected mental or developmental disorder, within each age group, 2000-2010

Note: This chart reports persons with a suspected mental or developmental disorder as a proportion of all accused within each age category.
Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Homicide Survey.

1. Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology. 2006. Out of the Shadows At Last: Transforming Mental Health, Mental Illness and Addiction Services in Canada. Final Report of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology.(accessed August 5, 2011).
2. The Homicide Survey questionnaire was revised in 2005 to include a separate category for "suspected" mental or developmental disorder. For the purpose of this analysis, the suspected and affirmative categories were combined to allow for a longer time series. There was no substantial difference in the proportion of accused persons recorded as having a mental or developmental disorder after the question was changed in 2005.
3. For approximately one-quarter of accused persons (24%), the mental health status was recorded by police as "unknown". These cases were not included in the calculation of percentages in this section. 
4. This is based on a subset of incidents involving a single accused.

End of text box 2.

Summary

Following a decade of relative stability, Canada's homicide rate fell 10% in 2010 and reached its lowest level in more than forty years. With some exceptions, annual declines were reported in most parts of the country, and included decreases in rates of gang-related homicide (-25%) and homicides involving firearms (-7%).

Decreases were recorded for homicides committed by criminal associates (-21%), strangers (-14%), family members (-9%) and acquaintances (-7%). Focusing exclusively on intimate relationships, the rate has remained relatively stable for the past three years following several decades of relative decline. Declines in homicide by married spouses were off-set by an increase in homicide in common-law and dating relationships reflecting, in part, changes in the composition of conjugal relationships in Canada.

Detailed data tables

Table 1A Number of homicides by province or territory, 1980 to 2010

Table 1B Homicide rates by province or territory, 1980 to 2010

Table 2 Homicides, by census metropolitan area, 2009 and 2010

Table 3 Methods used to commit homicide, Canada, 2000 to 2010

Table 4 Firearm-related and gang-related homicides, Canada's ten largest census metropolitan areas, 2010

Table 5 Homicides involving firearms, by type of firearm, Canada, 2000 to 2010

Table 6 Number of gang-related homicides, by region, 2000 to 2010

Table 7 Solved homicides by accused-victim relationship, Canada, 2010

Table 8 Youth (12 to 17 years) accused of homicide, Canada, 2000 to 2010

Table 9 Homicide victims and accused persons, by sex, Canada, 2000 to 2010

Data Source

The Homicide Survey collects police-reported data on the characteristics of all homicide incidents, victims and accused persons in Canada. The Homicide Survey began collecting information on all murders in 1961 and was expanded in 1974 to include all incidents of manslaughter and infanticide. Although details on these incidents are not available prior to 1974, counts are available from the Uniform Crime Reporting Survey and are included in the historical aggregate totals.

Whenever a homicide becomes known to police, the investigating police service completes the survey questionnaires, which are then sent to Statistics Canada. There are cases where homicides become known to police months or years after they occurred. These incidents are counted in the year in which they become known to police. Information on persons accused of homicide are only available for solved incidents (i.e. where at least one accused has been identified). Accused characteristics are updated as homicide cases are solved and new information is submitted to the Homicide Survey. For incidents involving more than one accused, only the relationship between the victim and the closest accused is recorded.

References

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(accessed September 15, 2011).

Clark, W. 2007. "Delayed transitions of young adults." Canadian Social Trends. No. 84. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 11-008-X.
(accessed September 15, 2011).

Criminal Intelligence Service Canada. 2010. 2010 Report on Organized Crime. CISC Catalogue no. PS61 -1/2010.
(accessed September 15, 2011).

Dauvergne, M. and G. Li. 2006. "Homicide in Canada, 2005." Juristat. Vol. 26, no. 6. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 85-002-X.
(accessed September 15, 2011).

Dawson, M., V. Pottie Bunge and T. Baldé. 2009. "National trends in intimate partner homicides: explaining declines in Canada, 1976 to 2001." Violence Against Women. Sage Publications. Vol. 15, no. 3.

Dugan, L., D. S. Nagin and R. Rosenfield. 1999. "Explaining the decline in intimate partner homicide: the effects of changing domesticity, women's status, and domestic violence resources." Homicide Studies. Sage Publications. Vol. 3, no. 3. p. 187-214.

Francisco, J. and C. Chénier. 2007. "A comparison of large urban, small urban and rural crime rates, 2005." Juristat. Vol. 27, no. 3. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 85-002-X.
(accessed September 15, 2011).

Gannon, M., K. Mihorean, K. Beattie, A. Taylor-Butts and R. Kong, 2005. Criminal Justice Indicators. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 85-227-X.
(accessed September 15, 2011).

Johnson, H. and M. Dawson. 2011. Violence Against Women in Canada: Research and Policy Perspectives. Oxford University Press.

Marshall, Ineke and Carolyn Block. 2004. "Maximizing the availability of cross-national data on homicide." Homicide Studies. Sage Publications. Vol. 8, no. 3. p. 267-310.

Nivette, A. 2011. "Cross-national predictors of crime: a meta-analysis." Homicide Studies. Sage Publications. Vol. 15, no. 2. p. 103-131.

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(accessed September 15, 2011).

Sinha, M. 2009. "An investigation into the feasibility of collecting data on the involvement of adults and youth with mental health issues in the criminal justice system." Crime and Justice Research Paper Series. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 85-681-M, no. 16.

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Notes

1. A census metropolitan area (CMA) consists of one or more neighbouring municipalities situated around a major urban core. A CMA must have a total population of at least 100,000 of which 50,000 or more live in the urban core. To be included in the CMA, other adjacent municipalities must have a high degree of integration with the central urban area, as measured by commuting flows derived from census data. A CMA typically comprises more than one police service.

2. Due to the small number of gang-related homicides in the Atlantic provinces, they were combined for this analysis. Annual increases or declines may have been reported among one or more of the individual provinces in this region.

3. Incidents in which the motive was recorded as unknown were removed from the calculation of percentages. They accounted for 11% of all incidents between 1991 and 2010.

4. It is important to note that because of the complexity of many homicide investigations, some incidents are solved after having been reported to the Homicide Survey. While this information is updated annually, some incidents may be missed. In a retrospective study to update clearance status information on all unsolved homicides that occurred between 1961 and 2005, the clearance status of 11% of these previously unsolved homicides were updated to solved. Consequently this information should be used with caution as the proportion of solved cases may be slightly underestimated.

5. Due to the small number of homicides in the eastern provinces and in the northern territories, this trend is based upon combined rates for the Atlantic region and the three territories.

6. The following analysis excludes a small number of same-sex spouses as the Homicide Survey does not collect information on the legal status of same-sex unions.   

7. Separated and divorced common-law and marital partners were not included in the calculation of these rates due to the unavailability of population data for former common-law unions. Rates are based upon 2009 marital status population estimates, the most recent data available at the time of publication. Same-sex spouses were removed from this analysis as the Homicide Survey does not collect information on the legal status of same-sex unions.

8. In most cases, the victim will have been on the job at the time of the incident; however, there will be some incidents where the homicide was occupation-related but the victim was not actually working at the time of the killing (e.g. an off-duty police officer who is killed out of revenge).

9. Although prostitution is not illegal in Canada, many acts related to sex work are prohibited, such as public communication for the purpose of prostitution, living off the avails of prostitution, and operating or using a bawdy house.

10. There were 20 police officers and constables killed on the job between 2000 and 2010, including 1 in 2010.

11. The remaining 29 work-related homicides involved various other occupations.