A man walks pass the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017. File photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick A man walks pass the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017. File photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Mandatory victim surcharge cruel and unusual punishment, top court rules

Stephen Harper’s Conservative government made the charges mandatory in 2013.

The Supreme Court of Canada says a law that makes people convicted of crimes pay surcharges to help victims is unconstitutional.

In a 7-2 decision delivered this morning in Ottawa, the Supreme Court found the mandatory victim surcharge amounts to cruel and unusual punishment.

The court says the surcharge creates a crushing financial burden on poor people and places them under constant threat of being arrested and jailed if they do not pay.

Judges have been forced to impose a one-size-fits all punishment that does not take into account the individual’s ability to pay, the court says.

Read more: Confusion surrounds controversial victim surcharge fees

Stephen Harper’s Conservative government made the charges mandatory in 2013.

The decision means no victim surcharges can be imposed in any conviction, starting immediately.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pacific Coastal won’t open until community is ready

The company has suspended operations until further notice

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Celebrations continue for Tsilhqot’in Nation after court victory against Taskeo Mines Ltd.

Supreme Court of Canada upholds 2014 decision rejecting New Prosperity mine on May 14, 2020

BC Ferries losing up to $1.5 million each day as pandemic tanks ridership

The company does not qualify for the wage subsidy

Chilliwack school board censures trustee Barry Neufeld after controversial Facebook post

Board chair issues statement on censure but little else regarding Facebook post controversy

Twenty-nine of Canada’s 48 national parks to reopen to day-use visitors June 1

All national parks, historic sites and marine conservation areas have been closed for weeks

JK Rowling publishes first chapters of new story online

Book will be a fairy tale for kids and benefit those particularly affected by the pandemic

BC Corrections to expand list of eligible offenders for early release during pandemic

Non-violent offenders are being considered for early release through risk assessment process

Fraser Valley driver featured on ‘Highway Thru Hell’ TV show dies

Monkhouse died Sunday night of a heartattack, Jamie Davis towing confirmed

B.C. visitor centres get help with COVID-19 prevention measures

Destination B.C. gearing up for local, in-province tourism

Most Read