OTTAWA, March 10, 2011 - The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, welcomed the passing in Parliament of Bill C-21, the Standing Up For Victims of White Collar Crime Act. The legislation provides tougher sentences for fraud which will help combat white-collar crime.
"The devastating impact of white collar crime is an unfortunate reality in many communities in Canada," said Minister Nicholson. "The Government will ensure that individuals who perpetrate fraud face sentences that reflect the severity of their crimes."
The legislation includes a mandatory minimum penalty of at least two years for fraud over $1M. It also toughens sentences by adding aggravating factors that courts can consider. These aggravating factors include:
- if the fraud had a significant impact on the victim, given the victim's particular circumstances, including his/her age, health and financial situation;
- the offender's failure to comply with applicable licensing rules or professional standards; and,
- the magnitude, complexity, and duration of the fraud and the degree of planning that went into it.
The legislation requires judges to consider imposing on offenders the duty to make restitution to their victims in all fraud cases as part of their sentence. It also permits the court to prohibit the offender from taking employment or doing volunteer work involving authority over other people's money. Courts will also be allowed to receive and consider a Community Impact Statement that describes the losses suffered as a result of a fraud perpetrated against a particular community, such as a neighbourhood, a seniors centre or a club.
"The Government is listening to the concerns of victims of fraud, and are helping them seek the restitution they deserve," said Minister Nicholson. "We will continue to take tough action on white-collar crime and protect the safety and security of our communities."
The legislation will receive Royal Assent and come into force on dates still to be determined. An online version of the legislation is available at www.parl.gc.ca.
Office of the Minister of Justice
Department of Justice