Moratorium on capital punishment

June 11, 2017

Execution, 1902

Execution of Stanislaus Lacroix Napoléon Bélanger, 1902. Library and Archives Canada, C-014078


In November 1967, legislation was passed in the House of Commons to put a moratorium on the use of the death penalty in Canada, except in cases where police officers or prison guards were killed in the line of duty. The moratorium ended in December 1972, but was then extended by Parliament the next year. The last execution in Canada occurred on December 11, 1962; beginning in 1963, all death sentences were commuted to life in prison.

Each day for 150 days leading up to the opening of the Canadian History Hall, we’re presenting one moment among the many that have shaped our country. Discover more of Canada’s significant historical events in the new Canadian History Hall, opening July 1, 2017.