Can You Go to Jail for Jaywalking in Canada?

The central law of Canada is one of the strictest in the world. It has zero tolerance for almost every type of irregularity. However, jaywalking is not an offensive or criminal offense, and it is not in the criminal code.

Even no law exists against it at the federal level and province or territory level. Then again, there are some cases you have seen where jaywalkers had to go to jail. Can you really go to jail for jaywalking in Canada? Let’s know in detail.

What is Jaywalking?

First, let’s have a clear idea about jaywalks. Jaywalking is an American term used worldwide, which means crossing a roadway with traffic without using the crossing point. It originated from the term jay driving, which refers to driving a vehicle on the wrong side of the road.

Simply, jaywalking refers to recklessly crossing a road. Though there is no legal obligation against it, you should not do this even in an emergency. Every year, a huge number of accidents happen just because of jaywalking. Although this number is very small in Canada, you must be careful about it.

Is jaywalking legal in Canada?

According to the law of Canada, jaywalking is not illegal. It is unfair and dangerous, but there are no certain rules about it in Canada even after that. However, some provinces of Canada have regulations about jaywalking to discourage people from doing that.

In those rules, it is mentioned that jaywalking is only illegal when it interferes with traffic.

On the contrary, there are many situations when jaywalking is completely legal. For instance, when you are on a road where there is no crosswalk or over-bridge to cross the road, you can jaywalk.

Besides, jaywalking is allowed when the road is free or when crossing the road from the divider.

Can you go to jail for jaywalking in Canada?

If you ask if you can go to jail for jaywalking in Canada, the answer is, unfortunately, YES. 

Although jaywalking is not a crime, it is sometimes considered a crime because of the violation of traffic rules. You will not be directly arrested for jaywalking, but it can directly make reasons for you to be arrested.

In most serious cases, you will be fined for jaywalking. For example, traffic police warned you about jaywalking, and you haven’t taken it seriously and broken the rules. In that case, they will ask for a fine from you. At that time, if you do not agree to pay the fine, you’ll have a huge chance of being arrested.

What Happens if a Pedestrian is Killed While Jaywalking?

Suppose a pedestrian was killed while jaywalking on a busy road, an unexpected area for crossing the road, or a highway where there was a crosswalk to use, and the driver tried all the possible ways to avoid the accident.

In that case, the diver will surely be out of charge. The pedestrian will be the convict, considering the situation.

However, another important thing will be to make sure that the driver is not influenced by drugs or alcohol. The police may make sure of this thing by testing blood and urine. If any positive result comes from the test, the driver will be accused of killing the pedestrian. 


Jaywalking is a very common but dangerous thing that you can see around us. In Canada, it is not illegal, and there are no specific rules and regulations for it. But considering many situations, you can go to jail for jaywalking.

In these circumstances, the best thing you can do is always try to avoid jaywalking. Where there is no crosswalk or over-bridge, make sure the road is fully free before crossing.