Certificate in Organized Crime Prevention Foundations

Organized crime networks are billion-dollar industries with connections around the globe. Their activities may not be apparent to the general public – but they have a significant impact on the economy, our political environment and our society as a whole. In order to combat these activities, we need to better understand the strategies and signals that these networks employ.

The Certificate in Organized Crime Prevention Foundations program, offered in partnership by the Languages, Literatures, and Cultures department at Queen's University and Queen’s IRC, provides vital knowledge and skills to identify, analyze and mitigate criminal activity. This 3-day program is delivered in the virtual classroom. 

Learning Objectives

During this certificate program, participants will learn: 

  • The scope of the impact of organized crime on a local, national and global scale
  • Analytical skills and tools for identifying criminal network infiltration
  • Legal strategies to detect and combat illegal activities
  • How organized crime organizations network and collaborate
  • What measures to take to deter criminal activities
  • The “cultural dimension” of organized crime

Organizational Benefits

  • Evidence-based tools and templates to use in your workplace
  • Training from leading academics, industry experts and guest speakers
  • Professional contacts and networking opportunities
  • Interactive learning through real-world case studies
  • Skills to train others

Who Should Attend?

This certificate program has been designed to provide a foundational knowledge of organized crime prevention for law enforcement and government agents, senior management of financial institutions, attorneys, chartered accountants, brokers and people interested in having a better understanding of the impact of organized crime on their everyday lives.

Should you have any questions about this program, please email irc@queensu.ca.

Duration: 3 days (15 hours)

Virtual Course
Dates: April 23-25, 2024
Deadline to register: April 17, 2024

Delivery: in-person

Program Fee: $2,500


Module 1: Introduction to Organized Crime in Canada

  1. Methods of defying organized crime
  2. Knowledge of the history of organized crime in Canada: with specific attention to ‘Ndrangheta, Cosa Nostra and Hells Angels
  3. Knowledge of overt and covert influences of organized crime on Canadian society
  4. Break out rooms: discussions

Module 2: Deconstructing myths, symbols and rituals of traditional organized crime groups.

  1. Introduce an understanding of the manipulation of historic fact to justify the existence of organized crime groups
  2. Exploitation of tradition beliefs, symbols and myths to give criminal organizations a cultural dimension/identity
  3. Grasping the role of media and social media in the mystification of organized crime

Module 3: Organized Crime in Ontario

  1. Analyses of traditional and emerging organized crime groups in Ontario
  2. Interaction between organized crime (underworld) and upperworld society
  3. Understanding strategies of criminal activities in Ontario

Module 4: Case Study: Former Mafia Boss

  1. Hear first-hand experience of a former mobster, including a Q&A with participants.
  2. Interaction with other informants and state witnesses when available. 

Module 5: Organized Crime in Quebec

  1. Analyses of traditional organized crime groups in Quebec
  2. The strategic importance of Montreal’s port in the narcotics industry
  3. Criminal activity and corruption (The Charbonneau Commission)

Module 6: Cybercrime and Cryptocurrency

  1. Organized crime in cyberspace
  2. How criminals use cryptocurrency
  3. A case study.

Module 7: Blood Sports: Organized Crime in International Sport

  1. Understanding match fixing in professional sports
  2. Understanding of illegal gambling and corruption
  3. A case study

 Module 8: The Legislative Response to Fight Organized Crime in Canada

Short subtitle: Analysis of its Scope, Effectiveness and Limitations

  1. Analyses of Canadian anti-gang legislation
  2. Comparative analyses of legislation in the US and Italy
  3. Assessment of anti money laundering legislation in Canada

Module 9: Case Study: Infiltration in the Construction Industry and Governments

  1. Analyses of the Charbonneau Commission’s final report (10 years later)
  2. The current situation in the Quebec construction industry
  3. A case study

Module 10: Money Laundering

  1. Examining corruption in Canada
  2. Analyses of the final report of the Royal Commission on corruption in the casino industry in British Colombia
  3. Comprehending the role of underground banks

Module 11: Case Study: Money Laundering's Techniques and Shadow Alliances

  1. Money laundering in Ontario and Quebec
  2. Understanding the role of the enablers
  3. Two case studies 

Module 12: Case Study: Organized Crime in Cyberspace

  1. An analyses of hybrid organized crime
  2. How gangs migrated to cyberspace
  3. From mythology to mimetics and beyond

Module 13: Case Study: Organized Crime in the World. From Tradition to innovation.

  1. The globalization of organized crime
  2. How organized crime groups adapt to new environments
  3. A case study

Meet Your Lead Facilitators


photo of professor Antonio Nicaso



Antonio Nicaso is a world-class expert on the subject of organized crime with more than 40 bestselling books to his credit. He is a regular consultant to governments and law-enforcement agencies around the world. He teaches social history of organized crime and Mafia in Popular Culture at Queen’s University. He is also a lecturer at St., Jerome’s University, Waterloo, Ontario, the Associate Director of the Italian School of Middlebury College, in Vermont (United States), and a member of the International Advisory Council of the Italian Institute of Strategic Studies Nicolò Machiavelli. One of his books, Business or Blood: Mafia Boss Vito Rizzuto's Last War (2015) was adapted into a television series called Bad Blood, now available on Netflix worldwide.



photo of professor Donato Santeramo




Donato Santeramo is a Professor in the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at Queen’s University in Kingston. He also holds positions at Middlebury College (VT) and Università di Roma II. He has published on various topics. His most recent publications are Semiotics: The Science of Signs (with M. Danesi), and Les langues et les symboles du crime organisé, eds., with E. Bertone and A. Nicaso. He has lectured in various universities in the US and Europe. 

This program will also include a number of guest speakers who are experts in the areas of organized crime prevention.