Call to Action # 32

We call upon the federal government to amend the Criminal Code to allow trial judges, upon giving reasons, to depart from mandatory minimum sentences and restrictions on the use of conditional sentences.


Nov. 17, 2022: Bill C-5 received Royal Assent. This enactment amends the Criminal Code and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act to, among other things, repeal certain mandatory minimum penalties, allow for a greater use of conditional sentences and establish diversion measures for simple drug possession offences.

There has been criticism levelled that the reforms do not go far enough.

June 15, 2022: Bill C-5 “An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act” introduced on Dec. 7, 2021 is adopted by the House

Bill C-22 “An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act died on August 15, 2021 with the dissolution of parliament due to the federal election. The Bill, re-introduced Feb. 18, 2021 would have repealed mandatory minimum penalties for all drug offences and some firearm offences, expand the use of conditional sentences, such as house arrest, for a variety of criminal offenses; and encourage police and prosecutors to keep drug possession cases out of the courts (Toronto Star, Feb. 19, 2021).

The January 2021 mandate letter to the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of Canada David Lametti states as a priority to “introduce legislation and make investments that take action to address systemic inequities in the criminal justice system, including to promote enhanced use of pre- and post-charge diversion and to better enable courts to impose sentences appropriate to the circumstances of individual cases.

Significant deletion on 2019 Federal Government website

Deleted reference to “comprehensive approach that includes legislative, program and policy measures” and refers instead to the ongoing government review of the criminal justice system.

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Call to Action
last updated

January 19, 2023

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