Department of Justice

CCS Programs and Services



Sentencing takes place with the following objectives in mind:

Utility (general and specific deterrence, rehabilitation and incapacitation)

  • to deter the offender and others from committing offenses
  • to separate offenders from society, where necessary
  • to assist in rehabilitating offenders

Retribution (denunciation and retribution)

  • to denounce the unlawful conduct;
  • to provide reparations for harm done to victims or to the community;


  • to promote a sense of responsibility in offenders, and acknowledgment of the harm done to victims and the community.

There are a number of sentencing options, including:

  • Absolute discharge
  • Conditional discharge
  • Fine
  • Suspended sentence
  • Probation
  • Conditional sentence
  • Imprisonment

Any or all of these options may be impact on each other, or may be in place at the same time with an offender.

Sentencing Reform:

In 1996 Criminal Code changes led to Sentencing Reform:

  • Section 742 Conditional Sentences
  • Section 718.2(e) Aboriginal Offender recognition.
  • In 1999 Supreme Court of Canada passed judgment on section 718.2(e) in the Gladue decision. The court found that the purpose of this section was to:
    • improve the serious problem of over-representation of aboriginal offenders in prison
    • encourage sentencing judges to take a "restorative approach"
    • consider the unique systemic factors that may have played a part in bringing the offender to court

Information obtained from Canadian Corrections (Griffiths and Cunningham) 2000 Nelson Thomson Learning.