Enumerated Purposes of Sentencing
The purposes of sentencing are laid out in section 718 of the Criminal Code:
- Fundamental Purpose
The fundamental purpose as stated is that there be "respect for the law" and the maintenance of a "just, peaceful and safe society". 
This fundamental purpose will generally take precedent over the welfare of the accused.
- How Public is Protected
The public is protected "through sanctions a court imposes upon a person...[e]ach codified objective of sentencing is designed to further the protection of the community."
- Objectives Will Vary By Case
There is no single "sentencing objective [that] trumps the other". It is to "the sentencing judge to determine which objective or objectives merit the greatest weight, given the particulars of the case."
In the Canadian system, "the respective importance of prevention, deterrence, retribution and rehabilitation will vary according to the nature of the crime and the circumstances of the offender". None of these factors can be excluded from consideration.
- Meaning of Emphasized Objectives
Where statutes or courts declare that certain objectives are to be emphasized as primary, it would then be prohibited for a court to emphasize secondary objectives over the primary ones.
R v Whicher, 2002 BCCA 336 (CanLII), per Hall JA (3:0)
R v Priest, 1996 CanLII 1381 (ON CA), per Rosenberg JA
R v Cole, 2004 CanLII 58282 (QC CM), per Discepola J
R v Jackson (1977) 21 N.S.R. (2d) 17 (NSCA) (*no CanLII links)
R v Smith,  1 SCR 1045, 1987 CanLII 64 (SCC), per Lamer J
R v Sweeney, 1992 CanLII 4030 (BC CA), per Hutcheon JA
- R v Berner, 2013 BCCA 188 (CanLII), per curiam
- R v Nasogaluak, 2010 SCC 6 (CanLII), per LeBel J (9:0), at para 43 ("... No one sentencing objective trumps the others and it falls to the sentencing judge to determine which objective or objectives merit the greatest weight, given the particulars of the case. The relative importance of any mitigating or aggravating factors will then push the sentence up or down the scale of appropriate sentences for similar offences. The judge’s discretion to decide on the particular blend of sentencing goals and the relevant aggravating or mitigating factors ensures that each case is decided on its facts, subject to the overarching guidelines and principles in the Code and in the case law.")
R v Lyons,  2 SCR 309, 1987 CanLII 25 (SCC), per La Forest J (5:2), at para 26 ("... In a rational system of sentencing, the respective importance of prevention, deterrence, retribution and rehabilitation will vary according to the nature of the crime and the circumstances of the offender. No one would suggest that any of these functional considerations should be excluded from the legitimate purview of legislative or judicial decisions regarding sentencing.")
R v Friesen, 2020 SCC 9 (CanLII), per J, at para 104(complete citation pending)
Denunciation and Deterrence (s. 718(a), (b))
Separation from Society - 718(c)
A sentencing judge must take into account "the exigencies of the case" before determining whether total deprivation of liberty is necessary.
- Mental Health
Where a person with mental illness poses a risk to the public the court may need to resort to separating the offender from society, rather than focus on treatment.
R v Creighton,  OJ No 2220(*no CanLII links)
, at para 6
R v Shahcheraghi, 2017 ONSC 574 (CanLII), per MOrgan J, at para 19
see R v Desjardins-Paquette, 2012 ONCA 674 (CanLII), per curiam
R v Virani, 2012 ABCA 155 (CanLII),  AJ No 507 (C.A.), per curiam (3:0), at para 16
R v Lundrigan, 2012 NLCA 43 (CanLII),  NJ No 231 (NLCA), per Rowe JA (3:0), at para 20
see R v JM,  N.J. No. 262 (P.C.) (*no CanLII links)
R v Taylor, 2012 CanLII 42053 (NL PC),  N.J. No. 251 (P.C.), per Mennie J
Rehabilitation - s.718(d)
Section 718(d) sets out the objective of "assist[ing] in rehabilitating offenders". Rehabilitation can be seen to achieve the objective of protecting the public as it assists in preventing further offences.
- Rehabilitation Mitigates Sentence
An offender's "positive potential for rehabilitation" should be to the benefit of the accused on sentence.
In certain cases, where there is a realistic possibility of rehabilitation, the courts may opt not to impose a jail sentence where it would otherwise be appropriate.
- Rehabilitation Requires Acceptance of Responsibility
Effective rehabilitation has been seen by some courts as requiring an acceptance of responsibility, likely by way of a guilty plea, and an understanding of the harm done.
- Rehabilitation Always a Factor
No sentence should deprive the offender of any hope of rehabilitation.
- see also R v Gill (2006), 2006 BCCA 127 (CanLII), per Mackenzie JA (2:1)
- R v Simmons, Allen and Bezzo (1973), 13 CCC 65 (Ont.C.A.), 1973 CanLII 1522 (ON CA), per Brooke JA
- R v Gouliaeff, 2012 ONCA 690 (CanLII), per curiam (3:0), at para 12
- R v Preston, 1990 CanLII 576 (BC CA), per curiam (5:0)
See R v Lee, 2011 NSPC 81 (CanLII), per Derrick J, at para 83
R v Seguin,  OJ No 5439 at 18 (*no CanLII links)
R v Johnson, 2012 ONCA 339 (CanLII), per Blair JA, at paras 15 to 25
R v Parry, 2012 ONCA 171 (CanLII), per Armstrong JA, at paras 17 to 19
Specific Offence Objectives - 718.01 and 718.02
In 2005 and 2009, sections 718.01 and 718.02 were added: