This page gives general information about sentencing. It does not give legal advice. If you are charged with a crime, you should speak with a lawyer to get legal advice. Try to speak with a lawyer before you go to court. Click here for ways to find a lawyer.

This page only talks about sentencing of adults (age 18 or older) who have been charged with a criminal offence under the Criminal Code or Controlled Drugs and Substances Act

The Criminal Code is a federal law that sets out most criminal offences in Canada.   It also:

  • gives procedures for dealing with persons accused of committing a criminal offence, and
  • outlines the sentencing principles to be followed, and
  • outlines penalties available if an accused is found guilty or pleads guilty to a criminal offence.

The Criminal Code is available online at:

The Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, which deals with criminal offences like possession, production, importing and trafficking of drugs, also has some sentencing principles. The Controlled Drugs and Substances Act is available online at:

Content last reviewed February 2016