Terrorism in Canada

Terrorism in Canada is a list of terrorist acts committed in Canada. Some acts of terrorism are related to external events and nationalities. Others, such as the FLQ crisis in the 1960s, are related to internal tensions within the country.

Banned organizationsEdit

The Canadian Anti-Terrorism Act "provides measures for the Government of Canada to create a list of entities that: have knowingly carried out, attempted to carry out, participated in or facilitated a terrorist activity" or "knowingly acted on behalf of, at the direction of or in association with an entity that has knowingly carried out, attempted to carry out, participated in or facilitated a terrorist activity."[1] The Act specifically provides that "for the Governor in Council to establish by regulation a list on which, on the recommendation of the Minister of Public Safety, any entity may be placed."[1]

The government of Canada has banned more than 50 terrorist organizations.[2] These include Al Qaeda, the Armed Islamic Group, Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA), Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the International Sikh Youth Federation, the Palestine Liberation Front, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah,[3] Kahane Chai, the Taliban, and Mujahedin e-Khalq.[4] In 2019, Combat 18 and Blood & Honour were the first neo-Nazi groups in Canada to be banned by the government.[5]

In April 2006, the Canadian government designated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam as a terrorist group.[6] In December 2006, the Canadian government expanded the federal ban of Hezbollah from the purely militant wing to all 16 sub-organizations.[7]



  • September 22, 1966 - A bazooka attack on the Cuban embassy in Ottawa, Ontario is made.
  • October 5, 1966 - Anti-Castro forces bomb the offices of the Cuban trade delegation in Ottawa.
  • May 31, 1967: A small bomb explodes at the Cuba Pavilion at Expo 67 in Montreal. The attack is attributed to Cuban Nationalist Action.
  • October 15, 1967: A bomb explodes at the offices of the native trade delegation in Montreal, Quebec.
  • May 29, 1969: A bomb is placed in the doorway of the Cuban consulate in Montreal, it fails to go off.
  • July 12, 1971: A small bomb goes off at the offices of the native trade delegation in Montreal, Quebec.
  • April 4, 1972: Cuban official Sergio Pérez Castillo is killed by an explosion at the Cuban consulate in Montreal, Quebec.
  • January 21, 1974: A bomb explodes at the Cuban embassy in Ottawa. It is attributed to Orlando Bosch.
  • September 22, 1976: An explosive device is thrown from a car at the Cuban consulate in Montreal.
  • January 14, 1980: A large explosion significantly damages the Cuban consulate in Montreal.


  • June 23, 1985 - Both the 1985 Narita International Airport bombing and the Air India flight 182 explosion are believed to have been carried out by Sikh extremists living in Canada.
    • Air India flight 182 leaving Montreal, Quebec's Mirabel International Airport is blown up mid-flight to London, England.
    • an explosion at Tokyo Narita International Airport killed two baggage handlers, and injured four. The bomb was intended for Air India Flight 301, with 177 passengers and crew on board, bound for Bangkok International Airport.
  • May 26, 1986 - An attempt is made in Vancouver, British Columbia to assassinate Malkiat Singh Sidhu, a cabinet minister in the Indian province of Punjab.
  • August 28, 1988 - Indo-Canadian Times editor Tara Singh Hayer is shot and partially paralyzed, probably due to his statements connected to the Flight 182 investigation.
    • November 18, 1998 - Hayer is assassinated.





Islamist extremismEdit

  • December 14, 1999 - Ahmed Ressam, known as the Millennium Bomber, was arrested upon entering the United States by a ferry from Victoria, British Columbia. He was smuggling explosives in his car from Canada as part of a plot to bomb the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on New Year's Eve 1999, as part of the foiled 2000 millennium attack plots.
  • 2006 - In the 2006 Ontario terrorism plot, Canadian counter-terrorism forces arrested 18 terrorists (dubbed the "Toronto 18") inspired by al-Qaeda. They were accused of planning to detonate truck bombs, to open fire in a crowded area, and to storm the Canadian Broadcasting Centre, the Canadian Parliament building, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) headquarters, and the parliamentary Peace Tower, to take hostages and to behead the Prime Minister and other leaders.
  • August 2010 - Misbahuddin Ahmed of Ottawa was arrested (later convicted in July 2014) of knowingly facilitating a terrorist activity and participation in the activities of a terrorist group.[11][12]
  • 2013 - Chiheb Esseghaier and Raed Jaser of Montreal and Toronto, respectively, charged as part of an alleged Al Qaeda plot to derail a New York to Toronto train on the Canadian side of the border. Alleged plot was not imminent.[citation needed] Canadian Muslims helped to foil the alleged plot.[13] The suspects said they were arrested based on their appearance.[14][15]
  • October 20, 2014 – On October 20, 2014, two Canadian Forces members were hit by Martin Couture-Rouleau, a recent Muslim convert in what is known as the 2014 Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu ramming attack. Warrant officer Patrice Vincent died of his injuries. Couture-Rouleau was eventually gunned down and killed.[16]
  • October 22, 2014 - Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a convert to Islam, fatally shot Corporal Nathan Cirillo, a Canadian soldier on ceremonial sentry duty at the Canadian National War Memorial in Ottawa, and then forced his way into Canada's parliament building, where he had a shootout with parliament security personnel. He was shot 31 times and died at the scene. Zehaf-Bibeau made a video prior to the attack in which he expressed his motives as being related "to Canada's foreign policy and in respect of his religious beliefs."[17][18]
  • August 10, 2016 - Aaron Driver was killed in Strathroy, Ontario, in a confrontation with police after detonating an explosive in the back seat of a taxi. The confrontation followed a tip from the FBI that Driver had made a "martyrdom video" and was planning an attack on an urban area.[19]
  • September 30, 2017 - 30-year-old Abdulahi Sharif drives into Edmonton police constable Mike Chernyk then stabs him near Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, Alberta, fleeing and later hitting four pedestrians with a rental truck during a police pursuit in the 2017 Edmonton attack.[20][21] Police are investigating the incident as an act of terrorism and confirmed the presence of an ISIS flag in the van that struck the police officer.[22] Sharif was confirmed by RCMP assistant commissioner Marlin Degrand as a Somali national known to the RCMP and Edmonton police as having past displayed signs of extremism.[23]
  • February 21, 2020 - A 64-year-old woman was killed after being attacked by a man with a hammer in Toronto. The victim was chosen at random. The attacker left a note on the victim's body, expressing support for terrorism. He was arrested and charged with terrorism offences.[24]


  • 1989 - Twenty-five-year-old Marc Lépine, armed with a rifle and a hunting knife, shot 28 people, killing 14 women, before committing suicide. This attack is known as École Polytechnique massacre or Montreal massacre. He claimed he was "fighting feminism" and calling the women "a bunch of feminists," he shot all nine women in the room, killing six. He then moved through corridors, the cafeteria, and another classroom, specifically targeting women to shoot.

Quebec nationalismEdit

  • 1963-1969 - Front de libération du Québec (FLQ), a separatist group, starts a bombing campaign at the average rate of one every ten days. Targets included English owned businesses, banks, McGill University and the homes of prominent English speakers.
  • April 21, 1963 FLQ bombing of Canadian Army Recruiting Centre in Montreal, killing Sgt. Wilfred V. O'Neil.
  • late 1960s - FLQ places a bomb in a mailbox next to the Canadian Tire store on Wellington St in Ottawa, Ontario.
  • February 13, 1969 - FLQ sets off a powerful bomb that rips through the Montreal Stock Exchange causing massive destruction and seriously injuring 27 people.
  • February 22, 1969 - FLQ terrorist bomb explodes at Liberal Party social club in Montreal, injuring two people.
  • June 24, 1970 - FLQ places a bomb in a window well of the National Defence Headquarters on Lisgar St in Ottawa, Ontario. The explosion killed a cleaning lady.
  • October 5, 1970 - British diplomat James Cross and (on October 10) Quebec Minister of Labour Pierre Laporte are kidnapped by the FLQ in Montreal. (The dead body of Pierre Laporte was discovered in the trunk of a car in Montreal, Quebec on October 17, 1970, and the murderers were arrested on December 26, 1970; Cross was released on December 3, 1970.)
  • September 20, 2000 - The Brigade d'autodéfense du français bombs the St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church in Montreal where an English fundraiser was to be held.
  • 2001 - Quebec - The FLQ/The Brigade d'autodéfense du français firebombs three "Second Cup" locations in Montreal. They were targeted because of the company's use of its incorporated English name "Second Cup". Rhéal Mathieu, a previously convicted FLQ terrorist was convicted for all three bombings. Seven McDonald's restaurants were also firebombed.

Opposition to Quebec nationalismEdit

  • May 8, 1984 - Soldier Denis Lortie, a federalist, entered the National Assembly with the intent of killing René Lévesque and the deputies of the Parti Québécois. By chance, he came in too early, so failed to kill any deputies. However he killed 3 other people and wounded 13. Unarmed employee René Jalbert negotiated with Lortie for several hours and convinced him to give up his gun and be arrested. Jalbert was decorated the next week.
  • September 4, 2012 - The night of the Quebec provincial elections, Richard Bain, an anglophone Quebecer attempted to assassinate Parti Québécois leader and Premier elect Pauline Marois at a victory gathering in Montreal. He also set fire to the Metropolis concert hall where the event was being held. A man was killed and another was injured in the terrorist act. It is said that Bain's ultimate goal was to kill Marois following the Parti Québécois victory. Bain was arrested shortly after the attack.[25] On August 23, 2016 Bain was found guilty of second-degree murder.[26] On November 18, 2016 Bain was sentenced to life imprisonment without eligibility for parole until he has served 20 years of that sentence.[27]



  • April 23, 2018 - A 25-year-old man was alleged to have been behind the Toronto van attack. Following the attack, a Facebook post was uncovered which tied the suspect to predominantly male online communities wherein terminology such as "Incel Rebellion", "Beta Uprising" or "Beta Male Uprising" is used, which refers to a violent response to sexlessness.[31] The man who was purportedly behind the post, Alek Minassian, was reported to have self-identified as an incel, an abbreviation of involuntary celibacy, which describes the state of being unable to find a romantic or sexual relationship despite desiring one.[32]
  • July 22, 2018 - Faisal Hussain, a 29 year old Canadian-born man of Pakistani origins, was alleged to have been inspired by Elliot Rodger and by his inceldom when he was reported to have been behind the 2018 Toronto shooting.[33]
  • February 24, 2020 - A 17-year-old boy stabbed a female spa worker to death and attempted to kill her coworker and injuring another at a sensual massage parlor in Toronto. On May 19, the Toronto Police Service said the attack was attributed to the incel ideology and was being considered an act of terrorism.[34]


  • In 1983, Henry Morgentaler was attacked by a man wielding garden shears; the attack was blocked by feminist activist Judy Rebick, who was standing nearby.[35]
  • In 1992, Morgentaler's Toronto clinic was firebombed and sustained severe damage. The event occurred at night, so no one was injured, although a nearby bookstore was damaged. Appointments were switched to another clinic in Toronto and no abortions were prevented.[36]
  • On November 8, 1994, Vancouver doctor Garson Romalis was shot in the leg.[37]
  • On November 10, 1995, Dr. Hugh Short of Ancaster, Ontario was shot in the elbow.[37]
  • On November 11, 1997, Dr. Jack Fainman of Winnipeg was shot in the shoulder.[37]
  • On July 11, 2000, Dr. Romalis was stabbed by an unidentified assailant in the lobby of his clinic.[38]

Sons of FreedomEdit

  • 1920s - Arson and bombing by Freedomites (also called Svobodniki or the Sons of Freedom), targeted wood structures and government buildings such as schools to protest materialism, and government pressure to school Svobodnik children
  • 1924 - Peter Verigin was killed, aged 65, in a still-unsolved Canadian Pacific Railway train explosion on October 29, 1924 on the Kettle Valley Railway (now known locally as the Columbia and Western Railway) line near Farron, between Castlegar and Grand Forks, which also killed his 17-year-old female companion Marie Strelaeff, member of the provincial legislature John McKie, P.J Campbell, Hakim Singh, Harry J. Bishop, W. J. Armstrong, and Neil E. Armstrong. The government initially (during investigation) had stated the crime was perpetrated by people within the Doukhobor community, while the Doukhobors suspected Canadian government involvement. To date, it is still unknown who was responsible for the bombing.[39]
  • 1960s - Additional arson and bombings, mostly conducted in the nude, included the bombing of a railway bridge in Nelson, British Columbia in 1961.


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b About the listing process, Public Safety Canada (accessed June 2, 2016).
  2. ^ "Currently listed entities". Public Safety Canada. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  3. ^ "Canada and Terrorism". Anti-Defamation League. January 2004. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  4. ^ "Canada bans Kahane Chai". Ynetnews. 26 May 2005. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  5. ^ Bell, Stewart (June 26, 2019). "Canada adds neo-Nazi groups Blood & Honour, Combat 18 to list of terror organizations". Global News (Canada). Retrieved August 8, 2019.
  6. ^ Canada adds Tamil Tigers to list of terrorist groups, CBC News (April 10, 2006).
  7. ^ "Canada slaps ban on Hezbollah, now has 16 groups on terror list". Jewish Telegraph Agency. 17 December 2002. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  8. ^ "Benjamin Lett: Early Canadian terrorist". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  9. ^ Taylor, Phil (2011). Montreal and the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln: John Wilkes Booth's Unexplained Visit to Montreal in October 1864. Bakara. ISBN 978-1926824086.
  10. ^ "Canadian gas pipeline hit by 6th bomb". UPI.com. 4 July 2009. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  11. ^ "Misbahuddin Ahmed found guilty of 2 terrorism charges". CBC News. 11 July 2014. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  12. ^ Cobb, Chris (11 July 2014). "Guilty verdict in Misbahuddin Ahmed terror trial". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  13. ^ Kutty, Faisal (25 April 2013). "Muslims hold key to fighting terror". Toronto Star. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  14. ^ Doucet, Isabeau (23 April 2013). "Two arrested in Canada over alleged passenger train terrorist plot". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  15. ^ Doucet, Isabeau (23 April 2013). "Suspect in alleged Canadian terror plot claims charges 'based on appearances'". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  16. ^ "Driver in hit-and-run attack on soldiers was arrested by RCMP in July". CBC News. Retrieved 2017-10-14.
  17. ^ "Parliament Hill gunman was shot 31 times, police report to reveal". CBC News. Retrieved 2017-10-14.
  18. ^ "Police say Ottawa gunman had political motives, made video". CBC News. Retrieved 2017-10-14.
  19. ^ "Aaron Driver, who pledged allegiance to ISIS, was planning 'imminent' attack, police say". CBC News. 11 August 2016. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  20. ^ Bartko, Karen (1 October 2017). "Edmonton terror attacks: Police officer stabbed, people struck by U-Haul". Global News. Retrieved 1 October 2017.
  21. ^ "'Acts of terrorism' in Edmonton: Officer stabbed, pedestrians run down". Edmonton Journal. 1 October 2017. Retrieved 1 October 2017.
  22. ^ Parrish, Julia (1 October 2017). "Police investigating 'acts of terrorism', EPS officer and four civilians injured in series of attacks". Retrieved 1 October 2017.
  23. ^ "Suspect in Edmonton attack identified; terrorism charges pending". CTV News. 1 October 2017. Retrieved 1 October 2017.
  24. ^ Toronto man faces terrorism charge after woman dies in alleged on-street hammer attack
  25. ^ Bernstien, Jaela. "Richard Bain: 'I don't consider them lies. I just consider them trying to get what I need.'". CBC. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  26. ^ Jaela Bernstien, "Richard Bain guilty of 2nd-degree murder in 2012 Quebec election-night shooting," CBC News, 23 August 2016, URL accessed 24 August 2016.
  27. ^ "R. c. Bain, 2016 QCCS 5785". CanLII. 18 November 2016.
  28. ^ "Trump 'sympathetic' but publicly silent on Quebec City mosque attack".
  29. ^ Editor (30 January 2017). "The Latest: Quebec mosque attack victims named". The Washington Post. Retrieved 30 January 2017.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  30. ^ Editor (30 January 2017). "The Latest: Quebec 'Terrorist Attack': College Student Alexandre Bissonnette Charged". NBC News. Retrieved 30 January 2017.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  31. ^ Beauchamp, Zack (Apr 25, 2018). "Incel, the misogynist ideology that inspired the deadly Toronto attack, explained". Vox. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
  32. ^ "Why some 'incels' are celebrating accused in Toronto van attack". CBC. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
  33. ^ https://nationalpost.com/news/toronto/toronto-danforth-mass-shooters-long-dark-obsession-with-death-violence-and-incel-ideology
  34. ^ Bell, Stewart; Russell, Andrew; McDonald, Catherine (May 19, 2020). "Deadly attack at Toronto erotic spa was incel terrorism, police allege". Global News. Retrieved May 19, 2020.
  35. ^ "Vueweekly.com". Vueweekly.com. January 23, 2008. Archived from the original on January 4, 2010. Retrieved 2011-03-10.
  36. ^ "CBC.ca". CBC.ca. May 21, 2009. Retrieved 2011-03-10.
  37. ^ a b c "Violence and harassment at U.S. abortion clinics." ReligiousTolerance.org.
  38. ^ "AMERICAS | Canada abortion doctor stabbed". BBC News. July 13, 2000. Retrieved 2011-03-10.
  39. ^ "Explosion on the Kettle Valley Line: The Death of Peter Verigin". Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  40. ^ "Edmonton Disaster Timetable" (PDF). City of Edmonton.
  41. ^ Editor (31 October 2001). "Anthrax worries hit city". Kamloops This Week. Retrieved 26 December 2014.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  42. ^ "2018 Public Report on the Terrorism Threat to Canada". www.publicsafety.gc.ca. 2018-12-21. Retrieved 2019-04-19.
  43. ^ "White powder sent to Quebec Conservative MP harmless: police". CBC News. March 5, 2015.

Further readingEdit

  • Hamilton, D. et al. (2006). Inside Canadian Intelligence: Exposing the New Realities of Espionage and International Terrorism. Dundurn Press. ISBN 1-55002-608-9
  • Roach, Kent (2003). September 11: consequences for Canada. McGill-Queen's University Press. ISBN 0-7735-2584-X.
  • Ross, J.I. (1995). “The Rise and Fall of Quebecois Separatist Terrorism: A Qualitative Application of Factors from two Models,” Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, Vol. 18, No. 4, July, pp. 285–297.
  • Ross, J.I. (1994). “Low-Intensity Conflict in the Peaceable Kingdom: The Attributes of International Terrorism in Canada, 1960-1990,” Conflict Quarterly, Vol. 14, No. 3, Summer, pp. 36–62.
  • Ross, J.I. (1992). “Attacking Terrorist Attacks: Initial Tests of the Contagion Between Domestic and International Terrorism in Canada,” Low Intensity Violence and Law Enforcement, Vol. 1, No. 2, Autumn, pp. 163–183.
  • Ross, J. I. (1988). “Attributes of Domestic Political Terrorism in Canada, 1960-1985,” Terrorism: An International Journal, Vol. 11, No. 3, Fall, pp. 213–233.
  • Ross, J. I. (1988). “An Events Data Base on Political Terrorism in Canada: Some Conceptual and Methodological Problems,” Conflict Quarterly, Vol. 8, No. 2, Spring, pp. 47–65.

External linksEdit