GOVERNMENT OF CANADA COMMITS TO DOUBLING VICTIM SURCHARGE

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ETOBICOKE, April 24, 2012 – The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, joined by the Honourable Senator Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu, today announced the introduction of an act to amend the Criminal Code (victim surcharge). The amendment will make convicted offenders more accountable to victims of crime by doubling the victim surcharge that offenders must pay, and ensuring that the surcharge is automatically applied in all cases.

"Our government is delivering on our promise to double the victim surcharge and make it mandatory in every case, without exception," said Minister Rob Nicholson. "This legislation will ensure that victim support services receive the funding that they require and deserve."

Provincial and territorial victim services are funded in part by the federal victim surcharge, which is an additional penalty imposed on offenders at the time of sentencing. Under the proposed amendments to the Criminal Code, the surcharge would be 30 percent of any fine imposed or, where no fine is imposed, $100 on a summary conviction offence and $200 for an indictable offence.

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 victim surcharge mandatory for all offenders.

"Canadians deserve a justice system that sentences offenders in a way that reflects the severity of their crime and respects victims of crime," said the Honourable Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu, Senator. "By doubling the victim surcharge and ensuring that it cannot be waived, our Government is sending a signal that offenders must pay for the harm they cause to victims."

The introduction of this bill builds on the Government's previous actions to support victims of crime and ensure that victims have a greater voice in the criminal justice system and more access to available services. In 2007, the Government announced the Federal Victims Strategy and committed $52 million over four years to respond to the needs of victims of crime. In Budget 2011, the Government renewed the Federal Victims Strategy with $26 million in funding and in Budget 2012, the Government committed to provide new funding to the Victims Fund. On April 23, Minister Nicholson announced additional funding to the Victims Fund in the amount of $7 million over five years.

Backgrounder:

Victim Surcharge

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