Public Prosecution Service of Canada
Service des poursuites pénales du Canada
Agency overview
Formed2006 (2006)
  • Federal Prosecution Service
Headquarters160 Elgin Street – 12th Floor, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0H8
170 private-sector law firms
432 individually appointed lawyers
Annual budget$201,300,000 (2018–19)[1]
Minister responsible
Agency executive
  • Kathleen Roussel, Director of Public Prosecutions
Key document
  • Director of Public Prosecutions Act

The Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC; French: Service des poursuites pénales du Canada (SPPC)) was established on December 12, 2006 by the Director of Public Prosecutions Act.[2] A federal agency, the PPSC prosecutes offenses on behalf of the Government of Canada. It is responsible to Parliament through the attorney general of Canada, who litigates on behalf of the Crown and has delegated most prosecution functions to the PPSC.

The director of public prosecutions – presently Kathleen Roussel – leads the day-to-day operations of the PPSC and is responsible to the attorney general.

For non-provincial or federal cases in Canada, a senior general counsel (Criminal Law) is assigned from the PPSC, an office of the Attorney General of Canada. The headquarters of the service is located in Ottawa, Ontario.


The PPSC's primary role is to prosecute offenses that belong to federal jurisdiction, such as those stemming from the Income Tax Act, Fisheries Act, Excise Act, Customs Act, Canada Elections Act, Canadian Environmental Protection Act and Competition Act.[3]

It also handles offenses related to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act in the country, except in the provinces of Quebec and New Brunswick where only drug cases initiated by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) are brought before court by the PPSC.[3] In Quebec, that would mean only narcotic cases with extraterritorial ramifications – which are handled by the RCMP – are prosecuted by the PPSC , as it has its own provincial police force, the Sûreté du Québec. New Brunswick does not have a provincial police force and relies of the RCMP.

In the three territories, the PPSC has jurisdiction on all Criminal Code offenses. In the provinces, it is only in charge of a limited number of Criminal Code cases, which are usually related to terrorism, criminal organizations, money laundering, tax evasion and other crimes that violate federal laws.

Beyond that, the PPSC can also give advice to any law enforcement agency nationwide and in various areas of federal legislation.[3]


The Public Prosecution Service of Canada was established in 2006 as an agency independent of the Department of Justice Canada in order to remedy problems associated with the former Federal Prosecution Service being located within the department. The enacting legislation is the Director of Public Prosecutions Act, which was located within the Federal Accountability Act but is now listed as a separate statute.[4] It was introduced by the president of the Treasury Board, John Baird, and received Royal Assent on December 12, 2006.[5] The rationale for its creation was written by Wade Riordan Raaflaub of the Law and Government Division on 2 March 2006.[6]

Directors of Public Prosecutions

List of directors of public prosecutions
Name Start End Notes
Brian J. Saunders[7] 2006 2017 acting, 2006–2008
Kathleen Roussel[8] 2017 Incumbent


  1. ^ "Annual Report 2018-2019". Public Prosecution Service of Canada.
  2. ^ About the Public Prosecution Service of Canada. Government of Canada. 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-11.
  3. ^ a b c "Public Prosecution Service of Canada. Annual Report 2009–2010" (PDF). pp. 3–4. Retrieved 2018-10-21.
  4. ^ 55 Elizabeth II, 2006, STATUTES OF CANADA 2006, CHAPTER 9: "An Act providing for conflict of interest rules, restrictions on election financing and measures respecting administrative transparency, oversight and accountability"
  5. ^ LEGISinfo summary for 39th Parliament, 1st Session Bill C-2: "Federal Accountability Act"
  6. ^ The possible establishment of a federal Director of Public Prosecutions in Canada"
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-06-16. Retrieved 2012-10-22.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "Minister Wilson-Raybould Names New Director of Public Prosecutions" (Press release). Department of Justice. June 27, 2017. Retrieved January 20, 2018.