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Bill C-41

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This enactment implements reforms to the Criminal Code respecting sentencing, mainly by amending Part XXIII.

The major elements of the enactment are as follows:

Part XXIII is amended to include an express statement of the purpose and principles of sentencing. Where a crime is motivated by "hate", this is deemed to be an aggravating factor for the purpose of sentencing. Where a crime is committed by a person abusing a position of trust or authority, this is also deemed to be an aggravating factor.

Rules of evidence and procedure are updated.

A provision for alternative measures for adult offenders is provided.

The penalty for breach of probation is increased, and the conditions of probation are modernized.

New provisions for fine enforcement require courts to satisfy themselves that an offender can pay, before imposing a fine. Provinces and the federal government are authorized to refuse to issue permits, licences or other similar instruments until the fine is paid. Civil enforcement of fines is provided. Incarceration is a last resort for fine enforcement, and the period of incarceration is governed by a formula based on the provincial hourly minimum wage.

A new sanction called the "Conditional Sentence" is introduced, which permits the judge to impose a sentence of incarceration and then suspend the operation of the sentence on conditions imposed by the court. The purpose of a Conditional Sentence is supervision in the community. An administrative enforcement mechanism is provided.

Victims are permitted to make representations at hearings held to determine whether the court-imposed period of ineligibility for parole (for first or second degree murder) should be changed.

The order of the provisions in Part XXIII is reorganized, so that Part XXIII flows more logically and is easier to understand and use.

Provinces are authorized to develop regulations respecting pre-sentence reports.