Quebec Court of Appeal Upholds Constitutionality of Restrictions on Conditional Sentences, With Implications for Competition Act Offences
February 14, 2013
In an interesting recent announcement made by the Federal Department of Justice, the DoJ announced that the Quebec Court of Appeal upheld the constitutionality of section 742.1 of the Criminal Code, which restricts the availability of conditional sentences (sometimes referred to as “house arrest”) for some serious personal injury offences.
The announcement, and Quebec appellate court decision, is also interesting in the regulatory law context because following legislative changes in 2012, the availability of conditional sentences (i.e., time served in the community) was further limited by amendments that came into force in November, 2012 to restrict such sentences from being imposed for some Competition Act offences, including conspiracy (under section 45 of the Act) and bid-rigging (under section 47 of the Act) (see: here and here).
Both of these Competition Act criminal offences carry potential maximum penalties that include 14 years imprisonment (the recent amendments restricting the availability of conditional sentences to, among other things, any offence for which the law prescribes a maximum penalty of 14 years or life imprisonment).
In addition to increased criminal enforcement by the Competition Bureau and a stricter approach to sentencing recently adopted by the Federal Court in the Maxzone case, this decision and related Criminal Code amendments eliminating conditional sentences for cartel and bid-rigging offences further ups the ante and risk for violating the criminal provisions of the Competition Act.
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