“These amendments show that the government has remained firm in its determination to make sure that those who commit serious crimes serve time behind bars,” said Minister Nicholson. “We want to make it clear that conditional sentences will no longer be available to criminals who commit serious crimes.”

These reforms will add new requirements to further restrict when a conditional sentence can be imposed. Conditional sentences will no longer be an option for individuals convicted of:

– any offence for which the law prescribes a maximum penalty of 14 years or life;

– any offence prosecuted by indictment and for which the law prescribes a maximum penalty of 10 years that results in bodily harm, involves the import/export, trafficking or production of drugs OR involves the use of a weapon;

– a listed offence prosecuted by indictment and for which the law prescribes a maximum penalty of 10 years.

Crimes such as theft over $5,000, auto theft (proposed by Bill C-26 currently before Parliament), breaking and entering and arson are included on the list of indictable offences that will be ineligible for a conditional sentence.

A conditional sentence is a sentence of imprisonment of less than two years that may be served in the community. They are only available when certain requirements are met. For example, if the offence calls for a mandatory jail sentence or if the court imposes a sentence of more than two years, a conditional sentence would not be possible.

Justice Canada.