BACKGROUNDER -- THE EXTRADITION PROCESS
How does Extradition Work?
Extradition in Canada is based on a Treaty between two countries
and the Canadian Extradition Act. Canadian Extradition law
was substantially altered with the inactment of the new Extradition
Act in 1999.
The Federal Justice Minister is responsible for extradition matters.
Within the Justice Minister's office is the International Assistance
Group, which helps foreign countries to prepare extradition requests
for the Canadian legal system.
A Supreme Court judge has to examine the materials presented by
the requesting state. The materials do not have to meet as high
a standard as required by Canadian courts for a matter to go to
trial. The materials presented by the requesting state cannot be
challenged by the person sought for extradition. The defence can
only question whether the criteria under the Extradition Act have
been met and whether the constitutional rights of the person have
been protected. One criterion is that the offence has to be a punishable
crime in both countries (double criminality).
The Role of the Minister
If the hearing judge rules that the person is extraditable, the
matter is referred to the Federal Minister of Justice. He or she
can put conditions on the extradition or refuse extradition ay all.
He/she can also sign the order that the person will be extradited.
Unspecified submissions can be made to the Justice Minister.
Both the results of the extradition hearing and the Minister's
decision can be appealed, The appeal will be heard by the Appeal
Court of the NWT Supreme Court.
Many people who are sought for extradition from Canada do not get
bail and spend long periods of time in jail waiting for the extradition
proceedings to conclude. The time in Canadian jail can be longer
than the expected sentence if found guilty in the requesting country.
Frequently this leads people to consent to extradition without exercising
all of their legal rights in Canada.