Tories to double, make mandatory $100-200 surcharge for convicted criminals
NationalPost.com – news
Apr 24, 2012. Tobi Cohen, Postmedia News
The federal government is delivering on a promise to crime victims by doubling and making mandatory the surcharge convicts are required to pay upon sentencing.
Justice Minister Rob Nicholson introduced legislation Tuesday that, if passed, would require convicts to pay an additional 30% on any fine imposed by the courts.
If no fine is imposed, they will automatically be charged $100 for a summary conviction or $200 for an indictable offence.
The fines are generally collected and retained by provincial and territorial governments to help cover the cost of programs and services for victims of crime.
Sentencing judges are currently able to waive the surcharge should an offender demonstrate it would cause undue hardship — the new bill will also put an end to that.
Those who can’t pay will instead be able to participate in provincial programs that allow offenders to earn credits for work performed in the region where the crime was committed in lieu of financial penalties.
The bill makes good on a Conservative election promise and also responds to a request by Canada’s federal ombudsman for victims of crime, who called for a doubling of the surcharge in a February report.
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