Quasi-criminal offences are those commenced pursuant to federal or provincial legislation other than the Criminal Code. The can include:
Mr. Peters now spends a great deal of his time defending tax evasion charges or otherwise fighting with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). Very recently, Mr. Peters has been successful in having the Federal Court quash demand letters for net worth information sent to persons alleged to have been involved in gangs.
The consequences of a conviction for a quasi-criminal offence can be as serious as a conviction for a criminal offence: very large fines and in some cases prison terms for the individual’s convicted. The Crown will often proceed against the corporation as well as its officers or directors. The result can be in affect a double penalty on conviction as the source to pay fines levied against the corporate and personal defendants invariably come from the corporation.
In many instances quasi-criminal offences arise in the context of a business activity. Those charged with such offences in relation to an ongoing business venture (where there is a risk that the offence may occur more than once) should be aware that the sentencing provisions under many statutes dramatically increase the size of potential fines for subsequent offences. Thus the need to avoid a first conviction can be very important.