Phil's Editorials
Holding White-Collar Criminals Accountable

April 13, 2015

Protecting Canadians and helping them feel safe in their communities remains an important focus for our Conservative Government. Since coming into office, we have worked hard to deliver measures that combat crime and prioritize the rights of victims.

Fraud, like other crimes, can have a devastating impact on its victims. The financial loss of entire life savings can ruin lives, and cause significant psychological and emotional harm. Our Government has taken strong action to combat white-collar crime and stand up for its victims, as we firmly believe that all criminals should be held to account for their offenses.

By passing the Abolition of Early Parole Act, our Conservative Government put an end to the system of Accelerated Parole Review that allowed white-collar criminals to obtain day parole after only serving one-sixth of their sentence and full parole after serving one-third. This legislation eliminated leniency for white-collar crimes, moving Canada’s parole system away from granting parole indiscriminately towards a system of earned parole.

And, to further help ensure that white-collar criminals serve a sentence that better reflects the severity of their crime, our Conservative Government also passed the Standing up for Victims of White-collar Crime Act. This legislation created tougher sentencing for fraud, creating a mandatory minimum penalty of at least two years in prison for fraud over $1 million and adding aggravating factors for courts to consider in sentencing. These new aggravating factors include the impact on the victims in consideration of the victim’s particular circumstances, including their age, health and financial situation, the offender’s failure to comply with applicable licensing rules or professional standards and, the magnitude, complexity and duration of the fraud.

A judge must now consider imposing a restitution order in sentencing, which would require the offender to pay back their victims. Victims of fraud can now also submit a Community Impact Statement, describing the harm or loss they have suffered, for the courts consideration in sentencing. And, to prevent further victimization, the courts are now permitted to prohibit an offender from taking employment or volunteering in any capacity where they are in authority over the finances of others.

Our Conservative Government takes white-collar crimes seriously, recognizing that those who commit fraud harm individuals and communities. We have ended indiscriminate leniency for early parole, created tougher sentencing and we are standing up for victims of white-collar crime. Our Government is committed to keeping our streets and communities safe, and we will stay focused on protecting the safety and security of Canadians.