Mandatory Minimum Penalties

Mandatory Minimum Penalties

Mandatory Minimum Penalties - Text version

Mandatory Minimum Penalties

Data collected via the National Justice Survey (2017; N=2,-19)

Scenario response

Presented 3 scenarios where a MMP would apply; some offender and offence characteristics were presented.

  • ¬†Sexual assault involving a minor
  • ¬†Recklessly discharging a firearm
  • ¬†Trafficking in opioids while in possession of a weapon


Judges should be allowed to impose:

  • Less time in jail or prison 67% agree and
  • A less restrictive sentence than jail or prison 65% agree.


More than half (49%-70%) of the respondents did not believe the MMPs to be fair.

Less than 16% thought the offender should be sentenced to incarceration.

Informed Response

More information provided on sentencing included MMPs (e.g. lack of discretion to impose a sentence less than the MMP).

A pie chart with 90% agree, 2% don’t know and 8% no. Text to the right that says: Canada should consider allowing judges flexibility to impose sentences less than the MMP.

A pie chart with 77% agree, 7% don’t know, and 16% disagree. Text to the right that says: MMPs do not lead to a fair and appropriate sentence.


Some factors that should be considered in giving a sentence less than the MMP include:

Family circumstances such as the harm to young children, if the offender is the sole breadwinner or caregiver (72%).

Brain damage, mental health or cognitive problems (81%).