OTTAWA, December 13, 2012 - Today, 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 the House of Commons of Bill C-37, the Increasing Offenders' Accountability for Victims Act. The legislation would make offenders more accountable by doubling the victim surcharge that offenders must pay, and ensuring that the surcharge is applied to all offenders.
Bill C-37 will now move to the Senate.
"I am pleased that the Increasing Offenders’ Accountability for Victims Act passed in the House of Commons yesterday, and I call on all of my colleagues in the Senate to support victims of crime by moving quickly to adopt this important piece of legislation," said Minister Nicholson.
"Bill C-37 will ensure that victim services in provinces and territories receive the funding they need."
Under the proposed amendments to the Criminal Code, the victim surcharge would be 30 per cent of any fine imposed or, where no fine is imposed, $100 for a summary conviction offence and $200 for an indictable offence. The surcharge, which is imposed on offenders at the time of sentencing, is collected and retained by the provincial or territorial government where an offender is sentenced, and is used to help fund services for victims of crime.
Currently, offenders who can demonstrate undue hardship may request that the victim surcharge be waived. The proposed amendments to the Criminal Code would make the surcharge mandatory for all offenders and would allow those who cannot pay to discharge the victim surcharge by participating in a fine option program or alternative mechanisms.
The Increasing Offenders' Accountability for Victims Act was introduced on April 24, 2012
These proposed changes to the victim surcharge build on the Government’s priorities of holding offenders accountable, and of ensuring that victims of crime have a more effective voice in the criminal justice system. The Government of Canada has allocated more than $90 million over the past six years for initiatives that benefit victims of crime.
Backgrounder: Victim Surcharge
- Julie Di Mambro
Office of the Minister of Justice
- Media Relations
Department of Justice