Making the victim surcharge mandatory is the latest Conservative tough-on-crime measure to come under fire in the courts and in the media. The victim surcharge requires that any person sentenced for a crime pay a surcharge in addition to any other sentence they receive - this money is intended to fund victims’ services. In 2013, the government passed a bill that doubled the surcharge and removed the discretion that judges previously had to waive it.
This episode explores the function and purpose of a victim surcharge in criminal law, the rationale behind making it mandatory, and the ways that some judges have resisted it.
We interview Sue O’Sullivan, Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime, and Kim Pate, Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies.