In January 2020, the Supreme Court of Canada heard a case that made headlines because it raised a provocative question: Can corporations be subject to cruel and unusual punishment?
Supreme Court: Can a corporation be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment?
While the question might strike the ordinary person as amusing, by the time the Attorney General of Québec vs. 9147-0732 Québec Inc. case arrived at Canada’s top court, the stakes were high. That’s because some established elements of corporate and criminal law were thrown into doubt when the case was decided by a 2-1 majority) of the Québec Court of Appeal in favour of a Québec contracting company.
The company had challenged what it thought was an unreasonably high mandatory minimum fine that it claimed could push it into bankruptcy. It argued the fine, upwards of $30,000, was an over-the-top consequence for doing renovation work without a