Canadian Laws About Bad Checks

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In Canada, all kinds of fraudulent acts are considered criminal offenses. It lies on the notion that any form of dishonesty to commit an exploitative act against others is a crime. Thus, Canadian laws that pertain to the issuance of bad checks should not be taken lightly.

There are no laws in Canada that address check fraud specifically. Instead, check fraud is generally under the Competition Act, a law that regulates trade and commerce. The attorney general of Canada conducts the prosecution of any violation against this act as well as the criminal code.

False Pretenses

You can file a false pretense case against someone who has written you a bad check. Basically, a false pretense is a misrepresentation of a fact, whether made by words or otherwise, with intent to have you act on the misrepresentation.

When someone writes you a check, you assume the check is funded or the person who wrote the check has the capacity to pay you. If it turns out the check writer intentionally deceived you, you can file a false pretense case against him. Anyone found guilty of the offense faces a prison term of up to 10 years.


Anyone who lacks the authority to possess public seals, plate, die, machinery, instruments or any other material used for making checks and bank notes can be sued for forgery, provided the evidence is strong enough.

If you suspect that a check written to you is forged, you can turn it over to a law enforcement agency, which can perform the necessary investigation after you file a formal complaint. Convicted forgers can expect imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years.

Counterfeit Check

Recent reports in a major Canadian news agency claim that check fraud has become common in the past few years. Though fraudsters can face grave criminal sanctions for counterfeiting checks, the bad news is that even the victims may face penalties once the check has been deposited to the bank.

To illustrate, if you have unknowingly deposited a counterfeited check to a bank that has accepted it, you are still liable for penalties the bank may impose because of the bad check. This happens despite the fact that the bank has accepted your check, which can lead you to think it has already cleared when it hasn't.

Check con artists take advantage of the bank’s lengthy clearing time to trick you. Because you already assumed the check you deposited had cleared, you would no longer act on it and, instead, assume the check was indeed legitimate. The law allows the bank to come after you with penalties for up to six years for a bad check you didn’t deposit knowingly. And all this can happen to you while the real fraudster is at large.

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