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Archived - Government Actions to Protect Canadians and Recognize the Rights of Victims

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The Government of Canada has introduced the following legislative measures, many of which have been enacted into law by Parliament, to protect Canadians and to recognize the rights of victims of crime.

Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act (Bill C-26)
(Introduced February 2014)
The Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act would require child sexual offenders to serve multiple sentences consecutively, one after another, instead of at the same time. It would increase maximum and minimum prison sentences for certain child sexual offences, and would create a High-Risk Child Sex Offender Database.
Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act (Bill C-13)
(Received Royal Assent December 9, 2014, effective date: March 2015)
The Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act protects Canadians, and in particular youth, from online exploitation by prohibiting the non-consensual distribution of intimate images. This type of cyberbullying can have devastating impacts on the victim and has been a factor in the tragic suicides of several Canadian teenagers.
Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act (Bill C-36)
(Effective date: December 2014)
The Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act makes it illegal for anyone to purchase sexual services while protecting those who sell their own sexual services from criminal liability, except in very narrow circumstances where the risk of exposure to children is high. To support this legislative approach, the Government is providing new funding of $20 million to support programming for those who want to leave prostitution. Together, the legislation and funding provide a comprehensive approach to assisting victims of sexual exploitation and protecting Canadians from the harms of prostitution.
Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act (Bill C-14)
(Effective date: July 2014)
The Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act better protects Canadians from not criminally responsible (NCR) accused persons, including those who are designated by a court to be at high-risk of committing future acts of violence. The Act explicitly sets out that public safety is the paramount consideration in court and review board decision-making processes relating to accused persons found to be NCR or unfit to stand trial. It enhances victim safety by, among other measures, ensuring that victims are notified, upon request, when such an accused is discharged and where that person intends to reside.
Citizen's Arrest and Self Defence Act (Bill C-26)
(Effective date: March 2013)
The Citizen's Arrest and Self Defence Act expanded the existing power to make a citizen's arrest. A property owner is now allowed to arrest a person within a reasonable amount of time after having found the person committing a criminal offence on or in relation to their property. It also simplified the law in relation to the defence of property and persons.
The Protecting Children from Sexual Predators component of the Safe Streets and Communities Act (Bill C-10)
(Effective date: August 2012)
The Safe Streets and Communities Act amended the Criminal Code to better protect children from sexual predators by ensuring that the penalties imposed for sexual offences against children are consistent and better reflect the heinous nature of these acts, and by creating two new offences concerning conduct that could facilitate the sexual abuse of a child.
Identity Theft and Related Misconduct Act (Bill S-4)
(Effective date: January 2010)
This legislation provided police and justice officials with important new tools in the fight against identity theft. The Act created three new "core" Criminal Code offences targeting the early stages of identity-related crime, all subject to five-year maximum prison sentences.
Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act (Bill S-7)
(Introduced November 2014)
The Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act proposes to put an end to early and forced marriage, polygamy or other types of barbaric cultural practices.
Victims Bill of Rights Act (Bill C-32)
(Introduced April 2014, effective date pending)
The Victims Bill of Rights Act will give victims of crime a more effective voice in the criminal justice system across the country by creating, at the federal level, clear rights for victims of crime, such as the right to information, the right to protection, the right to participation, and the right to restitution.
Protecting Canada's Seniors Act (Bill C-36)
(Effective date: January 2013)
The Protecting Canada's Seniors Act better protects seniors by helping ensure tough sentences for those who take advantage of elderly Canadians. Evidence that an offence has had a significant impact on the victim due to their age - and other personal circumstances such as their health or financial situation - must be considered an aggravating factor for sentencing purposes.
An Act respecting the mandatory reporting of Internet child pornography by persons who provide an Internet service (Bill C-22)
(Effective date: December 2011)
This legislation protects children from online sexual exploitation by requiring suppliers of Internet services to report online child pornography. It will help identify victims so they may be rescued and will improve law enforcement's ability to identify, apprehend and prosecute offenders.
Protecting Victims from Sex Offenders Act (Bill S-2)
(Effective Date: April 2011)
The Protecting Victims from Sex Offenders Actstrengthened the National Sex Offender Registry and the National DNA Data Bank through the following fundamental reforms:
  • Automatic inclusion of convicted sex offenders in the registry
  • Mandatory DNA sampling for convicted sex offenders
  • Proactive use of the registry by police
  • Registration of sex offenders convicted abroad
  • Notifications to other police jurisdictions when high-risk registered offenders travel
  • Operational and administrative amendments to enhance registry operations
  • Amendments to the National Defence Act
Serious Time for the Most Serious Crime Act (Bill S-6)
(Effective date: December 2011)
The Serious Time for the Most Serious Crime Act ensures a "life" sentence means a lengthy period of incarceration by effectively repealing the "faint-hope clause," which allowed murderers to apply for early parole. This legislation spares victims' families the anguish of attending repeated parole eligibility hearings and having to relive their losses over and over again.
Protecting Canadians by Ending Sentence Discounts for Multiple Murders Act (Bill C-48)
(Effective dates: March and December 2011)
This legislation helps ensure that each life taken is acknowledged in the sentencing process and that those who commit multiple murders serve a sentence that adequately reflects the heinous nature of their crimes. For murders committed after December 2, 2011, it allows judges to impose consecutive parole ineligibility periods on individuals convicted of more than one first- or second-degree murder.
Abolition of Early Parole Act (Bill C-59)
(Effective dates: March 2011)
This legislation abolished the previous system of Accelerated Parole Review, which allowed those convicted of non-violent offences to obtain day parole after serving one-sixth of their sentence and full parole after serving one-third.
Standing Up For Victims of White Collar Crime Act (Bill C-21)
(Effective date: November 2011)
This legislation helps combat white-collar crime by toughening sentences for fraud, including a mandatory minimum penalty of imprisonment for frauds over $1 million, and by requiring judges to consider restitution for fraud victims.
Nuclear Terrorism Act (Bill S-9)
(Effective date: November 2013)
The Nuclear Terrorism Act enhanced the domestic legal framework to better respond to the threat of nuclear terrorism, including through the creation of four new offences, and fulfilled key international commitments Canada has made in the area of nuclear security.
Increasing Offenders' Accountability for Victims Act (Bill C-37)
(Effective date: October 2013)
The Increasing Offenders' Accountability for Victims Act amended the Criminal Code to double the victim surcharge and make it mandatory in every case without exception.
Combating Terrorism Act (Bill S-7)
(Effective date: July 2013)
The Combating Terrorism Act enhanced the tools needed to anticipate and respond effectively to acts of terrorism. It re-enacted the investigative hearings and recognizance with conditions provisions that had expired in 2007. It also created new offences of leaving or attempting to leave Canada to commit certain terrorism offences.
The Ending House Arrest for Property and Other Serious Crimes component of the Safe Streets and Communities Act (Bill C-10)
(Effective date: November 2012)
The Safe Streets and Communities Act amended the Criminal Code to prevent the use of conditional sentences including house arrests for serious and violent offences. A conditional sentence is a sentence of imprisonment that may be served in the community if certain conditions are met. The amendments provided an expanded and clear list of offences for which conditional sentences are not available.
The Targeting Serious Drug Crime component of the Safe Streets and Communities Act (Bill C-10)
(Effective date: November 2012)
The Safe Streets and Communities Act amended the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) to address serious organized drug crime. The CDSA now provides mandatory minimum penalties for serious drug offences, including those carried out for organized crime purposes and those that involve targeting youth. The legislation supported the National Anti-Drug Strategy's efforts to combat illicit drug production and distribution and to help disrupt criminal enterprises by targeting drug suppliers.
The Protecting Canadians from Violent and Repeat Young Offenders component of the Safe Streets and Communities Act (Bill C-10)
(Effective date: October 2012)
The Safe Streets and Communities Act included reforms to help ensure that violent and repeat young offenders are held fully accountable and that the protection of society is given due consideration in applying the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
The Increasing Offender Accountability component of the Safe Streets and Communities Act (Bill C-10)
(Effective date: June 2012)
The Safe Streets and Communities Act included amendments to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act that provide better support for victims of crime, increase offender accountability, and ensure that the protection of society is the paramount principle of corrections and conditional release.
The International Transfer of Offenders component of the Safe Streets and Communities Act (Bill C-10)
(Effective date: May 2012)
The Safe Streets and Communities Act amended the International Transfer of Offenders Act to enshrine in law a number of additional criteria that the Minister of Public Safety may consider when deciding whether to allow the transfer of a Canadian offender back to Canada to serve a sentence.
The Eliminating Pardons for Serious Crimes component of the Safe Streets and Communities Act (Bill C-10)
(Effective date: March 2012)
The Safe Streets and Communities Act amended the Criminal Records Act to prevent the most serious criminals from seeking a record suspension (formerly called a pardon) and extending the period of ineligibility for applying for a record suspension.
Tackling Auto Theft and Property Crime Act (Bill S-9)
(Effective dates: November 2010 and April 2011)
The Tackling Auto Theft and Property Crime Act gave law enforcement and the courts better tools to tackle auto theft and the entire range of activities involved in the trafficking of all types of stolen or fraudulently obtained property.
Response to the Supreme Court of Canada Decision in R. v. Shoker Act (Bill C-30)
(Effective date: March 2015)
This legislation and supporting regulations help control repeat criminal behaviour by ensuring that individuals comply with court orders prohibiting drug and alcohol use.
Truth in Sentencing Act (Bill C-25)
(Effective date: February 2010)
The Truth in Sentencing Act limits the amount of credit courts can give for time served in custody prior to conviction and sentencing.
An Act to amend the Criminal Code (organized crime and protection of justice system participants) (Bill C-14)
(Effective date: October 2009)
This Act provided important new tools to fight the threats posed to Canadians by organized crime. The Act made murders connected to organized crime activity automatically first-degree, created a new offence to address drive-by and other reckless shootings, and created two new offences of aggravated assault against a peace or public officer and assault with a weapon on a peace or public officer.
Tackling Violent Crime Act (Bill C-2)
(Effective dates: May and July 2008).
The Tackling Violent Crime Act strengthened the Criminal Codein the following five areas:
  • Tougher mandatory jail time for serious gun crimes
  • New bail provisions requiring those accused of serious gun crimes to show why they should not be kept in jail while awaiting trial
  • Better protection for youth from adult sexual predators (by increasing the age of protection for sexual activity from 14 years to 16 years)
  • More effective sentencing and monitoring to prevent dangerous and high-risk offenders from re-offending
  • New ways to detect and investigate drug-impaired driving and stronger penalties for impaired driving
An Act to amend the Criminal Code (street racing) and to make a consequential amendment to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (Bill C-19)
(Effective date: December 2006)
This legislation protects Canada's streets and communities from the harm caused by street racing by creating new offences that increase penalties, including mandatory driving prohibitions for repeat offenders.
Amendments to the DNA Identification Act (Bill C-43)
(Royal Assent December 2014)
Legislative amendments to the DNA Identification Act will enable the creation of a new national DNA-based Missing Persons Index (MPI). The MPI, one of five new indexes in the RCMP's National DNA Data Bank, will provide new tools for investigating missing persons, unidentified remains and criminal cases. One of the other new indexes, the Victims of Crime Index, will contain DNA profiles of victims of crime, which were submitted voluntarily by the victim and recovered from the scene of a designated offence or a place associated with the commission of a designated offence. By comparing a victim's DNA against DNA found at a crime scene, police will be better equipped to rapidly identify violent and serial offenders, link cases and provide investigative leads. This index could enhance investigations related to violent and serial offenders.

Private Members' Bills

The following Private Members' Bills have also been introduced in support of efforts to protect Canadians and to recognize the rights of victims of crime.

An act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (Accountability of Offenders) (Bill C-350)
(Introduced November 17, 2011)
This bill would amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act to provide that any monetary amount awarded to an offender pursuant to a legal action or proceeding against Her Majesty in right of Canada would be paid to victims and other designated beneficiaries.
An act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (Fairness for Victims) (Bill C-479)
(Introduced October 16, 2013)
This bill would amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act in regard to the parole review of offenders who are serving a sentence of at least two years for an offence involving violence; the attendance of victims and members of their family at parole review hearings; the consideration of victims' statements by the Parole Board of Canada when making a determination regarding the release of an offender; the manner of presentation of victims' statements at a parole review hearing; the providing of information under consideration by the Board to a victim; the cancellation of a parole review hearing if an offender has repeatedly refused to attend or waived his or her right to attend previous hearings; the providing of transcripts of a parole review hearing to the victim and members of their family and the offender; and the notification of victims if an offender is to be released on temporary absence, parole or statutory release.
An act to amend the Criminal Code and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (Restrictions on Offenders) (Bill C-489)
(Royal Assent June 19, 2014)
The bill amended the Corrections and Conditional Release Act to provide that the releasing authority may impose any conditions on the parole, statutory release or unescorted temporary absence of an offender that it considers reasonable and necessary in order to protect the victim or the person, including a condition that the offender abstain from having any contact, including communication by any means, with the victim or the person or from going to any specified place. This enactment also amends the Criminal Code to require a court to consider making an order prohibiting certain offenders from being within a specific distance of the dwelling of the victim, and to ensure that the offender abstains from communicating with any victim, witness or other person identified in a probation order, or refrains from going to any place specified in the order, except in accordance with certain conditions.

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April 2015
Government of Canada


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