Regulatory Offences (Sentencing)

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General Principles

Sentencing of corporate offenders for regulatory offences should consider:

  1. the conduct, circumstances and consequences of the offence,
  2. the terms and aims of the relevant enactment or regulation, considered in the larger context of comparable regulation and legitimate corporate functioning in the relevant areas, and
  3. the participation, character and attitude of the corporation offender, considered in the larger context of corporations engaged in relevant industrial or business activity,

all with a view of identifying the aggravating and mitigating factors. [1]

For the most part, the enforcement of the violated regulations can be achieved by the imposition of fines.[2]

The primary objective of the fine is deterrence.[3]

The amount of a fine will be determined based on factors including:[4]

  • the size of the company involved,
  • the scope of the economic activity in issue,
  • the extent of actual and potential harm to the public,
  • the maximum penalty prescribed by the statute,
  • the need to enforce regulatory standards by deterrence.
  1. R v General Scrap Iron & Metals Ltd., 2003 ABQB 22 (CanLII), per Watson J, at para 35
  2. R v Cotton Felts Ltd., (1982), 2 CCC (3d) 287 (Ont. C.A.), 1982 CanLII 3695 (ON CA), per Blair JA, at pp. 294-295 ("To a very large extent the enforcement of [regulatory] statutes is achieved by fines imposed on offending corporations.")
  3. see discussion R v Canadian Consoli, 2013 ABPC 120 (CanLII), per Walter J, at para 10
  4. Cotton Felts Ltd., supra

See Also