Incarceration Rates by Canadian Provinces

Kingston Penitentiary, a federal maximum security prison in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.
Kingston Penitentiary, a federal maximum security prison in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

In Canada, the incarceration rate on avereage stands at 88 per 100,000 people. This rate is relatively low when compared with its neighbor, the United States, where the rate is 716 per 100,000 people. The incarceration rates in different regions in Canada differ with some area recording very high rates while others have low rates. The following is an analysis of the incarceration rate by province.



The Northern Territories of Canada have the highest incarceration rates in the country. In fact, in the Northwest Territories alone, the rate is nine times the country's average. Many of the jail sentences served in the territories are given for minor offences. Like their western province counterparts, many of those jailed in the territories are there awaiting sentences. Prince Edward Island


The incarceration rate in Manitoba sits at 242. Much like its neighbor Saskatchewan, the incarceration rate in the province has been on the rise despite an overall decrease of violent crime. Studies have shown that the amount of jail sentences handed out in Manitoba has been on a gradual increase over the past few years.


At 207 people per 100,000, Saskatchewan's incarceration rate is well above the Canadian average. It has been theorized that this high rate has less to do with an increase rate of violent crime and more to do with an increase in persecution.

Prince Edward Island

This region has an incarceration rate of 88.93 per every 100,000 people. Although analysis shows that this is a slight improvement over the province's average in the past, it still sits slightly above the national average. The population of Prince Edward Island is only 146,283 people. Reasons for this include a higher reported instance of impaired driving.


The Canadian legal system has garnered heavy criticism from critics for the overrepresentation of First Nations and Metis Canadians. According to statistics provided by Stats Canada, 23.2% of of the population of incarcerated people identifies as First Nations or Metis. Many warn that the current structure of the prison system will not fix the deeply rooted systemic problems that are contributing to these figures.

Incarceration Rates by Canadian Provinces

RankProvinceIncarceration Rate (Per 100,000 People)
2Northwest Territories570
7Federal Average88
8Newfoundland and Labrador82
11Prince Edward Island71
12New Brunswick71
13British Columbia69
14Nova Scotia62

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