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

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

Northern Health ready for COVID-19 surge

Health authority confident with inventory of ventilators

Kitimat’s new economic recovery task force looking for business volunteers

The team is looking for members from three different sectors of the local business community

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

Burning restrictions in response to COVID-19 issued for District of Kitimat

All current Class A and Class B open burning permits are suspended until at least April 15

‘Better days will return’: Queen Elizabeth delivers message amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Queen said crisis reminds her of her first address during World War II in 1940

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

COVID-19: Hospitals remain safe for childbirth, say Vancouver Island care providers

North Island Hospital has been asked to share its perinatal COVID-19 response plan

Canadian cadets to mark 103rd anniversary of Vimy Ridge April 9 virtually

Idea of Captain Billie Sheridan in Williams Lake, B.C. who wondered what to do in times of COVID-19

B.C. VIEWS: Pandemic shows need for adequate care home staffing

Seniors in B.C. care homes face challenging times

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Take this test and find out how well you know Canada’s most popular winter sport

Most Read