What are Laws?
Written rules tell us what kind of behaviour is acceptable and expected. When laws are broken, punishment is determined by society, not just one individual.
What are Crimes?
Unlawful behaviour like theft, mischief and assault are examples of offences or crimes. Crimes hurt all of society even though it may appear that only one individual is a victim. Laws help us in setting out rules that we believe are important to all of us. These laws are determined by our values. Everyone is equal before the law, or in other words laws are directed towards everyone.
Where do laws come from?
When we vote in elections we choose the people who will make the laws for us. We call this a democracy. A democracy is where all of the citizens of a country have a say in how it is run. Some countries do not have democracies; in these countries, laws are made by very few people without an election or any say by the public. In Canada we have three levels of government who pass laws.
FEDERAL: Laws that apply across Canada (i.e. theft, mischief, assault).
PROVINCIAL: Laws that vary from province to province.
MUNICIPAL: Laws that vary from city to city (i.e. Bylaws; such as snow removal or parking regulations).