Theft from Mail is a serious offence that is found in section 356 of the Criminal Code of Canada. Theft from Mail is categorized as an “Offence Against Rights of Property”. The section states:
356. (1) Everyone commits an offence who
(i) anything sent by post, after it is deposited at a post office and before it is delivered, or after it is delivered but before it is in the possession of the addressee or of a person who may reasonably be considered to be authorized by the addressee to receive mail,
(ii) a bag, sack or other container or covering in which mail is conveyed, whether or not it contains mail, or
(iii) a key suited to a lock adopted for use by the Canada Post Corporation;
(a.1) with intent to commit an offence under paragraph (a), makes, possesses or uses a copy of a key suited to a lock adopted for use by the Canada Post Corporation, or a key suited to obtaining access to a receptacle or device provided for the receipt of mail;
(b) has in their possession anything that they know has been used to commit an offence under paragraph (a) or (a.1) or anything in respect of which they know that such an offence has been committed; or
(c) fraudulently redirects, or causes to be redirected, anything sent by post.
Theft from Mail is a hybrid offence which gives the prosecution the option of proceeding summarily or by indictment. Factors which influence this decision include: the quantum of the theft, criminal record of the accused and number of victims. If the crown proceeds by indictment the maximum sentence for this offence is ten years in a penitentiary. If the crown elects to proceed by summary conviction, the maximum punishment is a $5,000 fine and/or six months in a provincial jail.