Anyone can be the victim of a crime. The same goes for witnessing a crime. What are your responsibilities in these situations? Do you have to call the police?
General rule: you don’t have to report a crime
In Canada, whether you’re the victim of a crime or you witness a crime, you don’t have to call the police. Even if a family member tells you he committed a crime, you don’t have to report it.
But make sure you’re not an accomplice. Helping a person who committed a crime can also be a crime, for example, if you give false information to the police or hide evidence.
If the victim is a child
Everyone must report sexual or physical abuse of a child to the Director of Youth Protection (DYP).
Some professionals or employees who work with children also have a duty to report all situations to the DYP where the safety or development of a child under 18 is at risk or could be at risk. For example, teachers, psychologists and health care workers all have this responsibility.
Duty to help when a life is in danger
If you witness an emergency and someone’s life is in danger, you must help this person. You must help the person physically if you can or you call 911.
But you don’t have to do anything if it will endanger your own life or the lives of other people.