A fact that hasn’t yet been publicized following the sentencing of CCF client Michael Schmidt on Friday, November 25 is that in addition to the fine of $9,150 imposed by Justice Tetley, a “victim surcharge” totaling $1,945 was also added to the tab. The total amount that Michael is supposed to pay is therefore $11,095.
Under section 60.1 of Ontario’s Provincial Offences Act, the “victim surcharge” gets added automatically. The amount is determined on a little chart found in the regulations, here.
According to the Office for Victims of Crimes, the money from victim surcharges gets put into a “victim’s justice fund account” and is used “to assist victims of criminal offences”. However, criminal offences are defined as offences under the Criminal Code—things like murder, assault and robbery. These have nothing to do with the offences under the Provincial Offences Act.
So for the peaceful acts of distributing raw milk and operating a milk plant without a licence, Michael is forced to pay compensation to people who were violently assaulted or robbed by unknown criminals. Does this make sense to you?
Of course, in Michael Schmidt’s case, there were no victims. Not a single person has ever been known to have gotten sick from milk he produced at Glencolton Farms. On the contrary, we submitted 21 letters of character reference from cowshare members who told the court about ways in which Michael and raw milk had helped them. Another 114 people had written to the judge on their own initiative to praise Michael and raw milk.