section 737(2)


The victim surcharge for an offence is 15% of any fine imposed or a set amount if no fine is imposed based on the severity of the offence.


737(2) Subject to subsection (3), the amount of the victim surcharge in respect of an offence is (a) 15 per cent of any fine that is imposed on the offender for the offence; or (b) if no fine is imposed on the offender for the offence, (i) $50 in the case of an offence punishable by summary conviction, and (ii) $100 in the case of an offence punishable by indictment.


Section 737(2) is a provision of the Canadian Criminal Code that relates to the imposition of victim surcharges in criminal proceedings. A victim surcharge is an additional monetary penalty that is imposed on offenders to provide financial support to victims of crime. The objective of this surcharge is to ensure that the offender takes responsibility for their actions and contributes towards the costs of addressing the harm caused to the victim. Under Section 737(2), the amount of the victim surcharge is determined by the penalty imposed on the offender for the offence. If the offender is fined, the victim surcharge is 15% of the total amount of the fine. The court has discretion to waive the surcharge or reduce the amount if payment would cause undue hardship to the offender. If the offender is not fined for the offence, such as in cases of imprisonment or probation, the amount of the victim surcharge is set at either $50 (for summary conviction offences) or $100 (for indictable offences). This is to ensure that even when a fine cannot be imposed, the offender is still contributing towards the support of victims of crime. It is important to note that the victim surcharge does not go to the victim directly, but is paid into a fund that is used to support programs and services for victims of crime. These programs may include victim support services, counselling, and other forms of assistance that help to address the negative impacts of crime. Overall, Section 737(2) highlights the importance of holding offenders accountable for their actions and ensuring that victims of crime are provided with the necessary support and resources to recover from the harm they have suffered.


Section 737(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada deals with the victim surcharge and the amount that offenders must pay in accordance with the crime they committed. The section has been the topic of much debate since its introduction in 2013. The victim surcharge, a fee that is added to fines imposed on offenders, is meant to provide financial assistance to the victims of crime. However, the implementation of this section has caused many controversies and has drawn criticisms from several quarters, including judges, lawyers, and victims' advocates. The main criticism of the victim surcharge is that it disproportionately impacts offenders who are already marginalized and financially vulnerable, such as those who cannot afford to pay the fine. This issue, along with the fact that the surcharge often exceeds the fine amount, has led some judges to waive the fee entirely, leaving victims without adequate compensation. Critics argue that the surcharge should be means-tested or calculated based on the severity of the offence, rather than imposing a mandatory fee for all offenders. Another issue with the victim surcharge is its effectiveness in providing financial assistance to victims. The amount collected from the surcharge is not specifically allocated to individual victims, but rather it goes into a general fund that supports victim services and programs across the country. Some critics argue that this system does not effectively assist victims of crime and that the funds should be distributed directly to the victims. Moreover, some critics argue that the surcharge is contrary to the principles of restorative justice, which prioritize repairing harm caused by offenders to victims and communities. They argue that the surcharge does not have a restorative effect on the offender, as it is simply a financial penalty, and it does not address the underlying harm caused by the crime. In conclusion, while the victim surcharge is intended to provide financial support to victims of crime, its implementation has been the subject of much debate and controversy. Many critics argue that the mandatory fee places an unfair burden on marginalized and financially vulnerable offenders, and that its effectiveness in providing support to victims is questionable. There is a need for further discussion and reforms to ensure that the victim surcharge system is more equitable and effective in its aims.


The victim surcharge provision in Section 737(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada mandates that offenders must pay a specific percentage of any fines imposed or a fixed sum if no fine is imposed to support victim services and programs. However, the application and enforcement of this legislation pose various challenges and considerations for legal professionals, policymakers, and other stakeholders. In particular, some of the strategic considerations when dealing with this section of the Criminal Code of Canada are as follows: 1. Balancing offender punishment and victim support: One of the primary strategic considerations is to balance the goal of punishing offenders for their crimes while also supporting victims of crime. While the victim surcharge provision is intended to ensure that offenders contribute to victim services, advocates argue that it should not be used as a substitute for more comprehensive victim support measures. Thus, a strategy that balances the competing goals of offender punishment and victim support could involve supplementing the victim surcharge provision with other funding models for victim services. 2. Ensuring consistency and fairness in application: Another strategic consideration is to ensure consistency and fairness in the application of the victim surcharge provision. For instance, some critics argue that the current provision creates inconsistencies and imposes disproportionate financial burdens on low-income offenders or those facing multiple charges. Lawyers and other legal professionals serving offenders and victims can play a critical role in ensuring that the victim surcharge provision is applied fairly and consistently across the criminal justice system. 3. Maximizing victim compensation: A third strategic consideration is to maximize the amount of compensation that victims receive from the offender surcharge provision. In some cases, the victim surcharge amount required to be paid by the offender may not cover the full extent of the victim's losses or financial damages. Hence, the legal professionals supporting victims can explore alternative avenues for seeking compensation, such as through civil courts or insurance claims, to supplement the victim surcharge. Given these strategic considerations, various strategies could be employed to ensure that the victim surcharge provision is applied effectively and efficiently. Some of these strategies may include: 1. Enhancing victim services: To complement the victim surcharge provision, policymakers could consider enhancing victim services and programs. This could include increasing funding for victim counseling, compensation for emergency expenses, or financial support for lost wages or income. The legal professionals advising victims can also assist them with accessing these services. 2. Advocate for equal application of the law: Lawyers and other legal professionals can advocate for the equal application of the victim surcharge provision. They can work with justice system stakeholders, such as judges, court clerks, and probation officers, to ensure that the victim surcharge is applied uniformly across all cases. 3. Advocating for a more comprehensive approach to victim compensation: To ensure that victims receive full compensation for their losses, legal professionals and advocates can push for more comprehensive victim compensation models. This could include proposing amendments to the Criminal Code of Canada, such as expanding the scope of offences eligible for surcharges or increasing the percentage of fines offenders must pay. 4. Actively monitor and evaluate the implementation of the law: To ensure that victim surcharges are effectively implemented and improved as necessary, advocates and policymakers must monitor their implementation continually. This could involve gathering data, conducting surveys, and engaging in consultations with key stakeholders. Such efforts can help identify gaps and areas for improvement in the legislation. In conclusion, the victim surcharge provision in the Criminal Code of Canada is a crucial tool for supporting victims of crime and ensuring that offenders contribute to their recovery and rehabilitation. However, effective implementation of this provision requires careful consideration of various strategic factors. Legal professionals serving both offenders and victims will play an essential role in advocating for policies and approaches that balance the competing goals of offender punishment and victim support.