R. v. Wholesale Travel Group Inc.
, is a leading Supreme Court of Canada
case on the distinction between "true crime" and regulatory offences.
Wholesale Travel sold vacation packages which it advertised as being at "wholesale prices" when, in fact, they were not wholesale prices at all. The company was charged with five counts of false or misleading advertising contrary to s. 36(1)(a) of the federal Competition Act. The charge was a hybrid offence
that could be either an indictment
consisting of a fine and prison term under 5 years, or a summary conviction
consisting of a fine and a prison term under a year.
At trial, the judge held that ss. 36 and 37.3, which allowed for a due diligence
defence, were in violation of ss. 7
of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
. The Crown's appeal for a dismissal was allowed and the case was resubmitted for trial. At appeal, the Court of Appeal for Ontario
upheld the order for a trial. The accused applied to the Supreme Court of Canada and was rejected the first time but was accepted on a second appeal.
The issue before the Court was whether s. 37.3(2) of the Competition Act violated s. 7 of the Charter (which safeguards the "security of the person
The Court unanimously held that offences for which the mens rea
component is negligence
do not violate s. 7 of the Charter when a due diligence defence (s. 37.3(2)(a) and (b)) is available, but that the "timely... Read More