CityNews Article: “Is it legal to own a machete in Winnipeg? Lawyer breaks it down, after recent string of attacks”

Recently, I was asked to comment on the legalities of owning a machete by CityNews reporter Swidda Rassy. The full article can be found here: https://winnipeg.citynews.ca/2023/01/04/machete-attacks-winnipeg/.

The common “machete” is not a listed restricted or prohibited weapon or device. So when we consider what makes it illegal (or not) we are generally looking at the definitions section (section 2) of the Criminal Code:

weapon means any thing used, designed to be used or intended for use

  • (a) in causing death or injury to any person, or
  • (b) for the purpose of threatening or intimidating any person

and, without restricting the generality of the foregoing, includes a firearm and, for the purposes of sections 88, 267 and 272, any thing used, designed to be used or intended for use in binding or tying up a person against their will.

It is illegal to possess a weapon that is being possessed for a dangerous purpose (Criminal Code, section 88) or carrying a weapon that is concealed (Criminal Code, section 90). If a machete is being used against someone, it becomes a weapon under section 2; if your intention is to use it to clear brush, and you don’t intend to use it on or intimidate another person, it remains a tool.

Photo credit to Taylor Daugherty.