Canadian citizen rights when stopped by police

Generally, if you are stopped by police you do not have to answer their questions. Unless you are being stopped while driving or operating a vehicle of some kind, you do not have to identify yourself. However, if you lie about your name or address you can be charged with obstructing justice or obstructing the police.

If the police are stopping you, detaining you, or arresting you, you have a right to know why.
Police Officers must:

  • Inform you why you are being arrested or detained.
  • Tell you immediately that you have the right to any lawyer of your choosing.
  • If you do not have a lawyer, they must also inform you of the 24-hour toll-free number to contact duty counsel, a free legal service provided by Legal Aid.
  • Facilitate contact with your chosen lawyer as soon as reasonably possible.

Once you have spoken to a lawyer in private, police will assume you got the legal advice you needed, and you will not typically be permitted to re-assert your right to counsel.

Unlike the United States, you do not have the right to have a lawyer with you during questioning. You have a right to remain silent and do not have to answer questions the police ask you. They can continue to ask you questions, however you do not have to answer