In Canada (Attorney General) v. Whaling, the Supreme Court of Canada held that a change in the parole regime was a form of “punishment” and that its retroactive application to offenders already serving sentences violated the constitutional right against double punishment. The court found that this change did not have a punitive purpose and held that it was punitive based solely on its effect. This is the first time that the court has characterized a consequence of offending as “punishment” based solely on the effect, rather than the purpose, of the law imposing the consequence. This case comment reflects on possible implications of Whaling for characterizing other consequences of offending, such as the victim surcharge and the registration requirement for sexual offenders.
"Punitive in Effect: Reflections on Canada v. Whaling."
The Supreme Court Law Review: Osgoode’s Annual Constitutional Cases Conference
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