Sentencing Factors Relating to the Offence
Offence-related factors that have been considered include:
- Degree of Planning and Premeditation;
- Duration of the Offence;
- Reasons for the Offence to conclude;
- Recency of the Offence;
- Offender's Role in Offence;
- Breach of Trust;
- Status of the Victim including:
- Harm or Risk of Harm on Victim;
- Victim Under 18 Years of Age;
- Public Abhorrence of Type of Crime;
- Prevalence of This Type of Crime in the Community;
- Degree of Cooperation with Police;
- State Misconduct (including Police Misconduct).
Section 718.2(a) provides in part that "a sentence should be increased or reduced to account for any relevant aggravating or mitigating circumstances relating to the offence or the offender".
Other factors and principles are listed at s. 718.2 of the Criminal Code:
Section 718.2 (a)(i) requires the judge to take as aggravating "evidence that the offence was motivated by hate based on race or colour."
This factor is based on the principle that "crimes of violence increase when respect for the rights of others decreases". 
This factor can apply in circumstances where racist commentary accompanies an assault. 
Degree of Planning and Premeditation
A greater degree of planning increases the moral culpability of the offender. Where the offence involved significant preparatory work it suggests that the offender is of bad character due to time on the commission of an offence. The court is more likely to conclude the person is a "career criminal".
Closely related to this is the degree of sophistication of the offence. An offender with a great deal of intelligence and drive is more culpable due to the ability to have insight into their conduct including the harm that would result from it.
Motive for the Offence
Offences committed for the purpose of retaliation or self-help are not mitigating factors. In certain circumstances, they increase the need for deterence. 
- R v Clayton, 2014 ABCA 27 (CanLII), per curiam (3:0), at para 35 (“ The trial judge did not consider Clayton's grievances against the WCB to be mitigating. This was well within his discretion because committing serious offences as retaliation or as an aspect of self-help is not mitigating and, in some instances, elevates deterrence to the position of being the primary sentencing consideration; ... . Nothing in the fresh evidence, had it been accepted, would have affected this conclusion.”)
Duration of the Offence
The duration of the offence is a useful measure of the offender's culpability. An offence that is ongoing for a period of time requires that the accused continuously decide to continue in a criminal endeavour. As they continue to decided to commit the offence their responsibility for the outcome increases. Related to this, it is a factor to consider whether the offender stopped the offence by their own accord due to a decision to cease criminal activity or whether they merely stopped because they have achieved their goal or were caught in the act.
The number of assaults, duration and intensity of the assaults are relevant factors. However, "the key factor is harm" to the victim".
Recency of the Offence
Most often seen in the context of historical sexual assault offences, the “antiquity of the offence is not usually a mitigating feature”  However, “the offender may be entitled to a somewhat reduced sentence if he has led an exemplary life during the intervening years and demonstrates genuine remorse. Such circumstances would obviate the need for individual deterrence and time for rehabilitation.”
Role in Offence
The accused's role in the offence will influence the penalty. Typically the greater and more culpable a role the accused played, the greater the penalty. This is particularly the case where the party has less autonomy, control, or awareness of the circumstances.
A "look out" or "driver" may be seen as less serious than those who participated in the offence itself.
Breach of Trust
Where an offender was able to commit an offence by taking advantage of their position of trust, this factor will be treated as aggravating.
Where there is a breach of the public's trust it will be treated as aggravating beyond private breach of trust.
Where the offender held a position of trust in committing the offence the "most important principle" is general deterrence.
An airport baggage handler is in a position of trust when using their position to assist in drug importation.
Relationships of trust will exist in a variety of offences, most typically in sexual offences (particularly child sex offences), fraud/theft offences in employment contexts, and in some drug trafficking or smuggling cases.
R v Gill, 2003 BCCA 208 (CanLII), per Southin JA (3:0)
R v Lecourt, 2005 QCCA 845 (CanLII), per curiam
R v McEachern (1978), 42 CCC (2d) 189 (Ont. C.A.), 1978 CanLII 2506 (ON CA), per Howland CJO, at p. 191 (“the most important principle in sentencing a person who holds a position of trust is that of general deterrence.”)
- see R v Mohamed, 2013 ONCA 704 (CanLII), per curiam
Status of the Victim
Public Abhorrence of Type of Crime
The public's abhorrence of the type of crime is a factor that enhances the penalties in sentence. Through the principle of denunciation, the courts have an obligation to express the abhorrence of the public of a particular offence such a offences of violence.
Prevalence of This Type of Crime in the Community
It is appropriate in sentencing for the judge to consider the frequency of the form of offence that exists within a particular community at the time.
If the judge is going to rely upon the prevalence of crime in sentencing an offender, he or she should give notice to the parties and an opportunity to reply.
R v Sears, 1978 CanLII 2277 (ON CA) ,  O.J. No. 435 (C.A.), at para 2 ("...in considering the appropriate sentence to be imposed in cases of shoplifting or related offences, it is appropriate to consider whether in that particular community, at that particular time, there appears to be an unusual amount of that type of crime, which therefore calls for a sentence which will reflect a degree of deterrence to others. At the same time, that situation can never be more than one of the factors which is to be taken into account, the paramount question of course always being: what should this offender receive for this offence, committed in the circumstances under which it was committed?")
R v Gibbon, 2006 BCCA 219 (CanLII), per Ryan JA, at para 21 ("He was of the view that the operation of the house in downtown Kelowna as the place where Ms. Gibbon committed her offences was something that required the denunciation of society. In other words he concluded that an aspect of this sentence should communicate the values of those who live in Kelowna, who abhor the harm of drug trafficking in their community. To sum up it is clear from his reasons that the trial judge in this case had decided that the street trafficking range of sentencing was inappropriate for this offence given the existing conditions in his community.")
R v Prasad, 2006 BCCA 470 (CanLIIR), per Hall JA, at para 12 ("I do not consider that the sentencing judge has been shown to have erred in taking account of the prevalence of this sort of problem in the community in which he was sitting.")
R v Nguyen, 2013 ONCA 51 (CanLII), per curiam, at para 4 ("There was nothing wrong with the trial judge’s observations about the prevalence of marijuana grow operations in his community and the need for denunciation.")
R v VHM, 2004 NBCA 72 (CanLII), per Ryan JA (3:0) ("When imposing a sentence, a judge should be cautious about relying on the incidence of crime in any area serviced by the judge because of the judge’s particular knowledge of cases coming before the judge or from statistics garnered by the judge from court records for that district")
R v Trachsel, 2010 SKQB 288 (CanLII), per Gunn J, at paras 18 to 22
- VHM, ibid. ("I ring the bell of caution here because when, figuratively, a judge decides to step down from the bench and infuse into his or her reasons the current experience of the court with an incidence of crime in the community, it injects a body of evidence into the mix that is almost unassailable and, in any event, unfair to the Crown and, more so, to an offender.")
- VHM, ibid. ("it was unfair to take judicial notice of the prevalence of the crime in issue in the county without prior warning to the accused and the Crown")
Degree of Cooperation with Police
Strength of the Crown's Case
The strength of the Crown's case can be a factor to sentence. But not frequently seen in a disputed sentencing context.
The strength and weaknesses of the Crown's case is a considerable factor considering whether to adopt a joint recommendation. Weaknesses in a case are referred to as "special circumstances" that would warrant a joint recommendation for an exceptional sentence.
The strength of the case is more frequently seen as a factor in whether to deny bail on tertiary grounds.
Where the strength of the case is great, the effect of a guilty plea seems to have a lesser impact.
e.g. R v DS, 2011 ONSC 3627 (CanLII), per Pierce J, at para 34
and R v Lonegren, 2009 BCSC 1678 (CanLII), per Barrow J
- R v Oxford, 2010 NLCA 45 (CanLII), per curiam
- R v GWC, 2001 ABCA 41 (CanLII), per Berger JA, at para 5
e.g. R v Rusk, 2006 ABPC 365 (CanLII), per Hamilton J, at para 38 appealed to 2007 ABCA 189 (CanLII), per Hunt JA
R v JFK, 2011 ABQB 671 (CanLII), per Eidsvik J, at para 31
See Sentencing Factors Relating to the Offender#Guilty Plea
Uncharged Criminal Conduct
Offenders are only sentenced “in respect of crimes for which they have been specifically charged and of which they have been validly convicted.” The Crown cannot attempt to seek sentences based on uncharged offences. The Crown must choose what is the most appropriate charge to apply.
Prior uncharged conduct cannot be used as an aggravating factor, however, can be relevant to sentencing as it shows character and background.
Even concurrent uncharged conduct, such as a voyeurism sentencing relating to the filming of a sexual assault, would potentially be unfair to the accused if taken into account at sentence.
However, under section 725(1)(d), "In determining the sentence, a court ... (c) may consider any facts forming part of the circumstances of the offence that could constitute the basis for a separate charge."
An offender cannot be punished for unproven acts.
- R v Larche, 2006 SCC 56 (CanLII) ,  2 SCR 762, per Fish J
- e.g. see R v GES, 2007 MBCA 105 (CanLII), per MA Monnin JA, at para 13
- R v BM, 2008 ONCA 645 (CanLII), per curiam
R v Truong, 2013 ABCA 373 (CanLII), per curiam (2:1)
R v Gardiner, 1982 CanLII 30 (SCC) ,  2 SCR 368, per Dickson J
R v Lees, 1979 CanLII 43 (SCC) ,  2 SCR 749, per Mclntyre J
Pending Changes to the Law
The expectation that the offence will be decriminalized is irrelevant to sentencing.