What do you do if you’re in a situation in which you feel threatened by another person?
You can get either a restraining order or a peace bond. While the restraining order and peace bonds have similarities, they also have differences.
Peace bonds are protection orders under the Criminal Code of Canada. As such, if you wanted to get a peace bond, you would have to go to your local police station or an RCMP station and file for a peace bond.
Peace bonds are also known as an 810 recognizance, because the peace bond is made under s. 810 of the Criminal Code, which reads:
An information may be laid before a justice by or on behalf of any person who fears on reasonable grounds that another person
(a) Will cause personal injury to him or her or to his or her spouse or common-law partner or child or will damage his or her property; or
(b) Will commit an offence under section 162.1
As the Criminal Code covers peace bonds, police can enforce them.
Peace bonds can be made against anyone whom you perceive as a threat if you think that this person would harm you, your partner, your child or your property. The person against whom the peace bond is issued has to agree to “to keep the peace and be of good behaviour.”
If the person refuses to agree to the peace bond, then a judge determines whether an order for a peace bond is to be made.
However, if a peace bond is issued and the person breaks the conditions of the peace bond, he or she will be held accountable by the criminal system, as it is a crime to break a peace order.
A restraining order, on the other hand, is usually made under provincial or territorial statute, not under the Criminal Code. Restraining orders usually apply to family situations of violence.
In Ontario and New Brunswick, restraining orders are limited to applicants and children, whereas in Alberta, these types of orders can be given to protect a variety of people. However, a restraining order still includes situations of domestic violence, such as between spouses or common-law spouses. Against whom and for what restraining orders can be made depend on the province or territory of residence.
A restraining order will usually enumerate conditions that the person, of whom you are afraid of or is continually annoying you (such as by calling you repeatedly), must follow.
In order to get a restraining order, you will have to show that you have fear of the other person. You also can get a restraining order ordering the person to stop with certain behaviours, such as continuous calling.
Unlike a peace bond, which you would get at the nearest police or RCMP station, you have to file for a restraining order with the court.
If the person, against whom you made a restraining order, refuses to obey the conditions of the order, then you would have to ask the court to find the person in contempt.
Because a restraining order is a civil order, the police generally do not have the authority to enforce it. However, if the person acts in a matter that goes against the Criminal Code, such as making threats, then the police can get involved.
While you don’t need a lawyer to file for a restraining order, it may be a good idea still to consult with one, especially in situations of domestic violence or if you are changing or making an application for support.
Peace Bonds & Restraining Orders
Criminal Code of Canada Section 810