October 20, 2009
Government of Canada introduces legislation to tackle white collar crime
"Fraud can have a devastating impact on the lives of its victims, including feelings of humiliation for having been deceived into voluntarily handing over their life savings" said Minister Nicholson. "This legislation will help crack down on white-collar crime and increase justice for victims by providing tougher sentences for the criminals responsible."
The proposed amendments to the Criminal Code would create a two-year mandatory jail sentence for fraud over $1 million. The legislation would also add new aggravating factors that can be considered when handing down sentences in fraud cases. These aggravating factors would include:
- The financial and psychological impact of the fraud on the victim, given the victim's particular circumstances, including their age, health and financial situation;
- if the offender failed to comply with applicable licensing rules or professional standards; and
- the magnitude, complexity, and duration of the fraud and the degree of planning that went into it.
The proposed legislation would also require judges to consider requiring offenders to make restitution to victims in all fraud cases. It would permit the court to order the offender to refrain from having employment or working in a volunteer capacity that involves having authority over other people's money. The court would also be permitted to receive a Community Impact Statement that would describe the losses suffered as a result of a fraud by a particular community, such as a neighbourhood, a seniors' centre or a club.
"We have all heard the heart-breaking stories about Canadians losing their life savings through the fraud schemes perpetrated in Quebec and now here in Alberta," said Minister Ambrose. "This legislation acknowledges the seriousness of white-collar crime and the devastating effects it has on honest citizens."