Criminal Code (R.S.C., 1985, c. C-46)
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Act current to 2023-05-17 and last amended on 2023-01-16. Previous Versions
PART XXIIISentencing (continued)
Purpose and Principles of Sentencing (continued)
Marginal note:Additional consideration — increased vulnerability
718.201 A court that imposes a sentence in respect of an offence that involved the abuse of an intimate partner shall consider the increased vulnerability of female persons who are victims, giving particular attention to the circumstances of Aboriginal female victims.
Marginal note:Additional factors
718.21 A court that imposes a sentence on an organization shall also take into consideration the following factors:
(a) any advantage realized by the organization as a result of the offence;
(b) the degree of planning involved in carrying out the offence and the duration and complexity of the offence;
(c) whether the organization has attempted to conceal its assets, or convert them, in order to show that it is not able to pay a fine or make restitution;
(d) the impact that the sentence would have on the economic viability of the organization and the continued employment of its employees;
(e) the cost to public authorities of the investigation and prosecution of the offence;
(f) any regulatory penalty imposed on the organization or one of its representatives in respect of the conduct that formed the basis of the offence;
(g) whether the organization was — or any of its representatives who were involved in the commission of the offence were — convicted of a similar offence or sanctioned by a regulatory body for similar conduct;
(h) any penalty imposed by the organization on a representative for their role in the commission of the offence;
(i) any restitution that the organization is ordered to make or any amount that the organization has paid to a victim of the offence; and
(j) any measures that the organization has taken to reduce the likelihood of it committing a subsequent offence.
- 2003, c. 21, s. 14
Marginal note:Degrees of punishment
718.3 (1) Where an enactment prescribes different degrees or kinds of punishment in respect of an offence, the punishment to be imposed is, subject to the limitations prescribed in the enactment, in the discretion of the court that convicts a person who commits the offence.
Marginal note:Discretion respecting punishment
(2) Where an enactment prescribes a punishment in respect of an offence, the punishment to be imposed is, subject to the limitations prescribed in the enactment, in the discretion of the court that convicts a person who commits the offence, but no punishment is a minimum punishment unless it is declared to be a minimum punishment.
Marginal note:Imprisonment in default where term not specified
(3) Where an accused is convicted of an offence punishable with both fine and imprisonment and a term of imprisonment in default of payment of the fine is not specified in the enactment that prescribes the punishment to be imposed, the imprisonment that may be imposed in default of payment shall not exceed the term of imprisonment that is prescribed in respect of the offence.
Marginal note:Cumulative punishments
(4) The court that sentences an accused shall consider directing
(a) that the term of imprisonment that it imposes be served consecutively to a sentence of imprisonment to which the accused is subject at the time of sentencing; and
(b) that the terms of imprisonment that it imposes at the same time for more than one offence be served consecutively, including when
(i) the offences do not arise out of the same event or series of events,
(ii) one of the offences was committed while the accused was on judicial interim release, including pending the determination of an appeal, or
(iii) one of the offences was committed while the accused was fleeing from a peace officer.
Marginal note:Cumulative punishments — fines
(5) For the purposes of subsection (4), a term of imprisonment includes imprisonment that results from the operation of subsection 734(4).
Marginal note:Cumulative punishments — youth
(6) For the purposes of subsection (4), a sentence of imprisonment includes
(a) a disposition made under paragraph 20(1)(k) or (k.1) of the Young Offenders Act, chapter Y-1 of the Revised Statutes of Canada, 1985;
(b) a youth sentence imposed under paragraph 42(2)(n), (o), (q) or (r) of the Youth Criminal Justice Act; and
(c) a sentence that results from the operation of subsection 743.5(1) or (2).
Marginal note:Cumulative punishments — sexual offences against children
(7) When a court sentences an accused at the same time for more than one sexual offence committed against a child, the court shall direct
(a) that a sentence of imprisonment it imposes for an offence under section 163.1 be served consecutively to a sentence of imprisonment it imposes for a sexual offence under another section of this Act committed against a child; and
(b) that a sentence of imprisonment it imposes for a sexual offence committed against a child, other than an offence under section 163.1, be served consecutively to a sentence of imprisonment it imposes for a sexual offence committed against another child other than an offence under section 163.1.
Marginal note:Maximum penalty — intimate partner
(8) If an accused is convicted of an indictable offence in the commission of which violence was used, threatened or attempted against an intimate partner and the accused has been previously convicted of an offence in the commission of which violence was used, threatened or attempted against an intimate partner, the court may impose a term of imprisonment that is more than the maximum term of imprisonment provided for that offence but not more than
(a) five years, if the maximum term of imprisonment for the offence is two years or more but less than five years;
(b) 10 years, if the maximum term of imprisonment for the offence is five years or more but less than 10 years;
(c) 14 years, if the maximum term of imprisonment for the offence is 10 years or more but less than 14 years; or
(d) life, if the maximum term of imprisonment for the offence is 14 years or more and up to imprisonment for life.
- 1995, c. 22, s. 6
- 1997, c. 18, s. 141
- 2002, c. 1, s. 182
- 2015, c. 23, s. 17
- 2019, c. 25, s. 294
Marginal note:Commencement of sentence
719 (1) A sentence commences when it is imposed, except where a relevant enactment otherwise provides.
Marginal note:Time at large excluded from term of imprisonment
(2) Any time during which a convicted person is unlawfully at large or is lawfully at large on interim release granted pursuant to any provision of this Act does not count as part of any term of imprisonment imposed on the person.
Marginal note:Determination of sentence
(3) In determining the sentence to be imposed on a person convicted of an offence, a court may take into account any time spent in custody by the person as a result of the offence but the court shall limit any credit for that time to a maximum of one day for each day spent in custody.
(3.1) Despite subsection (3), if the circumstances justify it, the maximum is one and one-half days for each day spent in custody.
(3.2) The court shall give reasons for any credit granted and shall cause those reasons to be stated in the record.
Marginal note:Record of proceedings
(3.3) The court shall cause to be stated in the record and on the warrant of committal the offence, the amount of time spent in custody, the term of imprisonment that would have been imposed before any credit was granted, the amount of time credited, if any, and the sentence imposed.
Marginal note:Validity not affected
(3.4) Failure to comply with subsection (3.2) or (3.3) does not affect the validity of the sentence imposed by the court.
Marginal note:When time begins to run
(4) Notwithstanding subsection (1), a term of imprisonment, whether imposed by a trial court or the court appealed to, commences or shall be deemed to be resumed, as the case may be, on the day on which the convicted person is arrested and taken into custody under the sentence.
Marginal note:When fine imposed
(5) Notwithstanding subsection (1), where the sentence that is imposed is a fine with a term of imprisonment in default of payment, no time prior to the day of execution of the warrant of committal counts as part of the term of imprisonment.
Marginal note:Application for leave to appeal
(6) An application for leave to appeal is an appeal for the purposes of this section.
- R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 719
- R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 157
- 1995, c. 22, s. 6
- 2009, c. 29, s. 3
- 2018, c. 29, s. 66
Procedure and Evidence
Marginal note:Sentencing proceedings
720 (1) A court shall, as soon as practicable after an offender has been found guilty, conduct proceedings to determine the appropriate sentence to be imposed.
Marginal note:Court-supervised programs
(2) The court may, with the consent of the Attorney General and the offender and after considering the interests of justice and of any victim of the offence, delay sentencing to enable the offender to attend a treatment program approved by the province under the supervision of the court, such as an addiction treatment program or a domestic violence counselling program.
- R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 720
- 1995, c. 22, s. 6
- 2008, c. 18, s. 35
Marginal note:Report by probation officer
721 (1) Subject to regulations made under subsection (2), where an accused, other than an organization, pleads guilty to or is found guilty of an offence, a probation officer shall, if required to do so by a court, prepare and file with the court a report in writing relating to the accused for the purpose of assisting the court in imposing a sentence or in determining whether the accused should be discharged under section 730.
Marginal note:Provincial regulations
(2) The lieutenant governor in council of a province may make regulations respecting the types of offences for which a court may require a report, and respecting the content and form of the report.
Marginal note:Content of report
(3) Unless otherwise specified by the court, the report must, wherever possible, contain information on the following matters:
(a) the offender’s age, maturity, character, behaviour, attitude and willingness to make amends;
(b) subject to subsection 119(2) of the Youth Criminal Justice Act, the history of previous dispositions under the Young Offenders Act, chapter Y-1 of the Revised Statutes of Canada, 1985, the history of previous sentences under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, and of previous findings of guilt under this Act and any other Act of Parliament;
(c) the history of any alternative measures used to deal with the offender, and the offender’s response to those measures; and
(d) any matter required, by any regulation made under subsection (2), to be included in the report.
(4) The report must also contain information on any other matter required by the court, after hearing argument from the prosecutor and the offender, to be included in the report, subject to any contrary regulation made under subsection (2).
Marginal note:Copy of report
(5) The clerk of the court shall provide a copy of the report, as soon as practicable after filing, to the offender or counsel for the offender, as directed by the court, and to the prosecutor.
- R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 721
- R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 203
- 1995, c. 22, s. 6
- 1999, c. 25, s. 16(Preamble)
- 2002, c. 1, s. 183
- 2003, c. 21, s. 15
Marginal note:Victim impact statement
722 (1) When determining the sentence to be imposed on an offender or determining whether the offender should be discharged under section 730 in respect of any offence, the court shall consider any statement of a victim prepared in accordance with this section and filed with the court describing the physical or emotional harm, property damage or economic loss suffered by the victim as the result of the commission of the offence and the impact of the offence on the victim.
Marginal note:Inquiry by court
(2) As soon as feasible after a finding of guilt and in any event before imposing sentence, the court shall inquire of the prosecutor if reasonable steps have been taken to provide the victim with an opportunity to prepare a statement referred to in subsection (1).
(3) On application of the prosecutor or a victim or on its own motion, the court may adjourn the proceedings to permit the victim to prepare a statement referred to in subsection (1) or to present evidence in accordance with subsection (9), if the court is satisfied that the adjournment would not interfere with the proper administration of justice.
(4) The statement must be prepared in writing, using Form 34.2 in Part XXVIII, in accordance with the procedures established by a program designated for that purpose by the lieutenant governor in council of the province in which the court is exercising its jurisdiction.
Marginal note:Presentation of statement
(5) The court shall, on the request of a victim, permit the victim to present the statement by
(a) reading it;
(b) reading it in the presence and close proximity of any support person of the victim’s choice;
(c) reading it outside the court room or behind a screen or other device that would allow the victim not to see the offender; or
(d) presenting it in any other manner that the court considers appropriate.
(6) During the presentation
(a) the victim may have with them a photograph of themselves taken before the commission of the offence if it would not, in the opinion of the court, disrupt the proceedings; or
(b) if the statement is presented by someone acting on the victim’s behalf, that individual may have with them a photograph of the victim taken before the commission of the offence if it would not, in the opinion of the court, disrupt the proceedings.
Marginal note:Conditions of exclusion
(7) The victim shall not present the statement outside the court room unless arrangements are made for the offender and the judge or justice to watch the presentation by means of closed-circuit television or otherwise and the offender is permitted to communicate with counsel while watching the presentation.
Marginal note:Consideration of statement
(8) In considering the statement, the court shall take into account the portions of the statement that it considers relevant to the determination referred to in subsection (1) and disregard any other portion.
Marginal note:Evidence concerning victim admissible
(9) Whether or not a statement has been prepared and filed in accordance with this section, the court may consider any other evidence concerning any victim of the offence for the purpose of determining the sentence to be imposed on the offender or whether the offender should be discharged under section 730.
- R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 722
- 1995, c. 22, s. 6
- 1999, c. 25, s. 17(Preamble)
- 2000, c. 12, s. 95
- 2015, c. 13, s. 25
- Date modified: