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Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

& Other Ill Treatment

In the early years of the 21st Century, 2000 to 2025                                    


The use of solitary confinement for extended periods of time in Canada’s prisons made headlines in 2017, with many critics charging that the time that inmates are excluded from the general population of prisoners was becoming excessive, and that solitary confinement is frequently targeted at prisoners with mental health issues.

[Freedom House Country Report, 2018]

Description: Description: Description: Canada

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Canada.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Torture by Authorities are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring the moral justification for inflicting pain or inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment in order to obtain critical information that may save countless lives, or to elicit a confession for a criminal act, or to punish someone to teach him a lesson outside of the courtroom.  Perhaps your paper might focus on some of the methods of torture, like fear, extreme temperatures, starvation, thirst, sleep deprivation, suffocation, or immersion in freezing water.  On the other hand, you might choose to write about the people acting in an official capacity who perpetrate such cruelty.  There is a lot to the subject of Torture by Authorities.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.

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2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Canada

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 7 July 2021]


Independent Monitoring: The government permitted visits by independent nongovernmental human rights observers, although such visits were largely curtailed starting in March due to prison visitation restrictions put in place in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Freedom House Country Report

2018 Edition

[accessed 11 May 2020]


The use of solitary confinement for extended periods of time in Canada’s prisons made headlines in 2017, with many critics charging that the time that inmates are excluded from the general population of prisoners was becoming excessive, and that solitary confinement is frequently targeted at prisoners with mental health issues. In response to these criticisms, the federal government in June introduced legislation mandating that federal inmates may not stay in solitary confinement for longer than 21 consecutive days—with the cap lowered to 15 days 18 months after the legislation comes into force—unless the prison warden specifically orders otherwise. Legal advocates for prisoners claim the bill would have little practical effect other than to force wardens to review solitary confinement orders slightly earlier than they do presently.

Concluding observations on the seventh periodic report of Canada

Committee against Torture, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights OHCHR, 21 November 2018

[accessed 8 December 2018]

CONDITIONS OF DETENTION -- 12. While  appreciating  the  measures  taken  by  the  State  party  to  improve  conditions  of detention  in  general  and  reduce  prison  overcrowding in  some  detention facilities,  the Committee remains concerned about reports of deplorable conditions in some police stations and  other  detention  facilities,  as  well  as  insufficient  food.  It  is  also  concerned  at  reported arbitrary  practices,  in  particular  extended  questioning,  sleep  deprivation  and  abusive  strip and  body  cavity  searches.

SOLITARY CONFINEMENT -- 14. The Committee is concerned by the continued use of prolonged and indefinite solitary confinement, in the form of disciplinary and administrative segregation.

INVOLUNTARY STERILIZATION OF INDIGENOUS WOMEN -- 50. The Committee is concerned at reports of extensive forced or coerced sterilization of Indigenous  women  and  girls  dating  back  to  the  1970s  and  including  recent  cases  in  the province of Saskatchewan between 2008 and 2012. According to the information before the Committee, at least 55 women have contacted lawyers representing Indigenous women who have filed a pending class action   lawsuit  against   doctors   and   health   officials  at   a Saskatchewan  public  hospital  for  undergoing  tubal  ligation  procedures  without  proper consent.

Human Rights Watch World Report 2015 - Events of 2014

Human Rights Watch, 29 January 2015 or

[accessed 18 March 2015]


VIOLENCE AGAINST INDIGENOUS WOMEN AND GIRLS - A 2014 data collection effort by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) identified 1,181 cases of murders and disappearances of indigenous women and girls between 1980 and 2012, double previous estimates. The study found that indigenous women and girls are overrepresented among homicide victims, constituting 16 percent of female homicide victims, despite making up only 4.3 percent of Canada’s female population. A 2013 Human Rights Watch report documented the RCMP’s failure in British Columbia to protect indigenous women and girls from violence, as well as from abusive police behavior, including excessive use of force and physical and sexual assault.

Despite growing public concern over the murders and disappearances, the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper continued to resist calls from provincial leaders, opposition political parties, and civil society for a national inquiry into the violence.

Cops used ‘torture' to get confession, top court rules

Alyshah Hasham/Torstar Network, Toronto, 13 December 2013

[accessed 15 Dec 2013]

When Maharaj denied being part of the robbery, Clark grabbed him "and dragged him into an adjoining room — undoubtedly one without a video camera — where he pushed Maharaj to the ground, (and) began punching him in the ribs for an extended period of time," wrote Blair.

"At the same time, (Belanger) attempted to grab hold of Maharaj's leg and step on his testicles. (Clark) added an oral element to the intimidation and assault: he said, ‘You're going to make a statement. We'll make sure you make a statement ....

Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture

U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment  -- Doc. CAT/C/CAN/CO/6 (2012)

[accessed 24 February 2013]

11. While noting the State party’s statement that the Canadian Forces assessed the risk of torture or ill-treatment before transferring a detainee into Afghan custody (CAT/C/CAN/Q/6/Add.1, para. 155), the Committee is concerned about several reports that some prisoners transferred by Canadian Forces in Afghanistan into the custody of other countries have experienced torture and ill-treatment (art. 3).

The State party should adopt a policy for future military operations that clearly prohibits the prisoner transfers to another country when there are substantial grounds for believing that he or she would be in danger of being subjected to torture and recognizes that diplomatic assurances and monitoring arrangements will not be relied upon to justify transfers when such substantial risk of torture exists.


From an old article -- URL not available

Article was published sometime prior to 2015

POLICE AND SECURITY FORCES - In April, RCMP officers in Prince George, British Columbia, used a Taser against an 11-year-old boy. The RCMP announced in September that the officers involved would not be disciplined or charged.

In June, the Toronto Police Services released an internal review of policing of the G8 and G20 Summits in 2010, during which more than 1,000 people were arrested. The Toronto Police Services Board’s independent civilian review of some aspects of the policing operation was continuing at the end of 2011. The provincial and federal governments rejected calls for a public inquiry.


For current articles:: Search Amnesty International Website

[accessed 25 December 2018]

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Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 22 January 2013]

[accessed 3 July 2019]

TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT – The law prohibits such practices, and there were no reports that government officials employed them. However, in September the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) began investigating allegations of brutality in the arrest and imprisonment in the Natuashish community of northern Labrador of an indigenous man with a broken arm who was left overnight in a police station without medical attention; the investigation was pending at year's end.

The Winnipeg police and the Law Enforcement Review Agency investigated allegations of physical abuse of a person with a criminal history who was arrested on September 23. The police claimed that the suspect, whose injuries necessitated hospital treatment, were the result of an accidental fall at the police station. The investigation remained pending at year's end.

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Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, " Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance & Other Ill Treatment in the early years of the 21st Century- Canada",, [accessed <date>]