The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, introduces legislation to amend the federal victim surcharge provisions in the Criminal Code.

The federal victim surcharge is a monetary penalty that is automatically imposed on offenders at the time of sentencing, cumulatively for each offence. Money collected from offenders is used by provinces and territories to help fund programs and services for victims of crime.

In 2013, as part of the Increasing Offenders’ Accountability for Victims Act, judges lost the discretion to waive the federal victim surcharge for offenders who are truly unable to pay. As a result, the surcharge is currently imposed on all offenders, for all offences, regardless of their true capacity to pay or individual circumstances. This has led to multiple Charter challenges.

The proposed changes would return to judges the discretion to waive the federal victim surcharge if an offender is truly not able to pay. However, to ensure that offenders are held to account, the federal victim surcharge would continue to apply to all other offenders, and the surcharge amounts would not change. Department of Justice.