Type of document: Prosecution Directive
Effective date: November 14, 2017

Extradition is the diplomatic process where one country requests the return of a fugitive found in another country for the purpose of trial or punishment for the commission of an offence. Extradition may be requested for those accused of crimes and for those who have been convicted and have outstanding sentences. The Department of Justice Canada is responsible for responding to requests by foreign states for the return of fugitives found in Canada and for determining whether to seek the extradition of a Canadian from a foreign state.


In Ontario, a request for the return of a fugitive to Ontario often begins with an inquiry by the police to a Prosecutor. The following factors inform the Prosecutor’s assessment of whether to seek extradition:

  • the strength of the case
  • the seriousness of the allegations
  • the dangerousness of the accused
  • whether the offence warrants a substantial period of imprisonment upon conviction (usually a penitentiary term)
  • whether there is a significant and pressing public interest in securing the return of the accused to Canada for prosecution or sentencing.

When a Prosecutor, with the approval of the Crown Attorney or designate, concludes that the request for extradition of the fugitive is warranted, the Prosecutor should work with Crown Law Office – Criminal in preparing the required materials. The request is forwarded to Department of Justice Canada where the determination is made whether to seek extradition.

A provisional arrest warrant permits a foreign state to secure the detention of a fugitive pending extradition. Department of Justice Canada determines whether it is appropriate for Canada to seek the diplomatic assistance of a foreign country to arrest and detain a fugitive pending extradition. The execution of a provisional arrest warrant triggers timelines for the formal extradition request to be transmitted to the foreign state.

Upon receipt, the foreign state will initiate its own internal process for extradition which may involve a hearing or a consent extradition. When the process is complete, the individual may be extradited to the requesting country.