Published In

Supreme Court Law Review

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sentencing; mandatory minimum sentences; Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms


This paper attempts to assess the impact that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms has had, and may have in the near future, on mandatory minimum sentences and their legislated proliferation. To answer those questions, the paper first briefly reviews the Supreme Court of Canada case law on the constitutionality of mandatory minimum sentences. The next two sections will outline the approach taken in the recent Smickle decision in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice before moving on to argue that courts should subject the purported goals, justifications and implications of mandatory minimum sentences to a more searching form of Charter scrutiny as we enter the fourth decade of the Charter’s operation.