OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 05/21/13 -- The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, today announced the Government's support for Private Member's Bill C-489 (restrictions on offenders), An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act. Sponsored by Mark Warawa, M.P. for Langley, this legislation would impose restrictions on offenders who are conditionally released.
"The Government's support for this Bill demonstrates our commitment to standing up for victims and keeping our streets and communities safe," said Minister Nicholson. "I am pleased to support my colleague Mark Warawa in his efforts to protect victims from being further traumatized by contact with their offenders after they are released."
Bill C-489 proposes that child sexual offenders be prohibited from coming within two kilometres of a victim's dwelling, and requires that other criminal offenders subject to parole, probation, conditional sentences and child sex offender peace bonds be under strict conditions not to contact their victims, unless the victim consents or there are exceptional circumstances present.
"In my riding of Langley, two brave families lived in constant fear when the sex offender of their child was permitted to serve house arrest in their neighbourhood," said Mr. Warawa. "In one case, the offender served his sentence right across the street from his young victim, and in the other case, next door to his victim. This legislation will ensure greater peace and security to young victims of crime."
The Government's support for the proposed legislation, with some amendments to ensure clarity and consistency with existing law, is in keeping with the Government's Plan for Safe Streets and Communities, one of four priorities identified recently by the Prime Minister. This plan focuses on holding violent criminals accountable, enhancing the rights of victims, and increasing the efficiency of our justice system.
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Key Accomplishments in Keeping Canadians Safe: Restricting Release for Offenders
The Government of Canada has made significant accomplishments in protecting the public from offenders by restricting their release and imposing measures to hold criminals accountable.
Restrictions on Release of Offenders
The Ending House Arrest for Property and Other Serious Crimes component of the Safe Streets and Communities Act (Bill C-10) (Effective date: November 20, 2012)
These amendments restricted the use of conditional sentences, including house arrest. A conditional sentence is a sentence of imprisonment that may be served in the community, provided certain conditions are met. The amendments provided an expanded and clear list of offences for which conditional sentences are not available.
The Protecting Children from Sexual Predators component of the Safe Streets and Communities Act (Bill C-10) (Effective date: August 9, 2012)
This legislation 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. It prevents the commission of child sexual offences by creating two new offences, and introduces two new conditions to prohibit conduct that could facilitate the sexual abuse of a child.
The Abolition of Early Parole Act (Bill C-59) (Effective date: March 28, 2011)
This legislation abolished the system of Accelerated Parole Review for first-time offenders, 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.
The Serious Time for the Most Serious Crime Act (Bill S-6) (Effective date: December 2, 2011).
This legislation ensured that a "life" sentence means life by repealing the "faint-hope clause," which allowed murderers to obtain early parole. Victims' families will be spared the anguish of attending repeated parole eligibility hearings and having to relive their losses over and over again.
The Protecting Canadians by Ending Sentence Discounts for Multiple Murders Act (Bill C-48) (Effective dates: March 23 and December 2, 2011)
This legislation helped ensure that each life taken is acknowledged in the sentencing process and that those who commit multiple murders will serve a sentence that more adequately reflects the heinous nature of their crimes. It allows judges to impose consecutive parole ineligibility periods on individuals convicted of more than one first- or second-degree murder.
The Tackling Violent Crime Act (Bill C-2) (Effective dates: May 1 and July 2, 2008).
This legislation strengthened the Criminal Code by imposing more effective sentencing and monitoring to prevent dangerous, high-risk offenders from re-offending. It included a reverse onus bail component that targets persons charged with certain serious firearms offences by imposing a "reverse onus" that requires the accused to show why he or she should not be kept in jail while awaiting trial.
The Increasing Offenders' Accountability for Victims Act (C-37) (Passage in Parliament, April 30, 2012; Royal Assent: date pending)
This legislation amends the victim surcharge provisions in the Criminal Code to double the amount that an offender must pay when sentenced, and to ensure that the surcharge is applied in all cases.
The Eliminating Pardons for Serious Crime component of the Safe Streets and Communities Act (Bill C-10) (Effective date: March 13, 2012)
This legislation eliminated "pardons" and replaced them with "record suspensions." It also restricted eligibility for a record suspension by eliminating it for anyone convicted of a sex offence against a child and those convicted of more than three indictable offences under certain circumstances.
The Protecting Victims from Sex Offenders Act (S-2) (Effective date: April 15, 2011)
This legislation strengthened the National Sex Offender Registry and the National DNA Data Bank by automatically including convicted sex offenders in the registry and making DNA sampling for convicted sex offenders mandatory.
The Response to the Supreme Court of Canada Decision in R. v. Shoker Act (Bill C-30) (Royal Assent: March 23, 2011, effective date: pending)
These amendments and supporting regulations will help control repeat criminal behaviour by ensuring that individuals comply with court orders prohibiting drug and alcohol use.
The Act respecting the mandatory reporting of Internet child pornography by persons who provide an Internet service (Bill C-22) (Effective date: December 8, 2011)
This legislation protects children from online sexual exploitation by requiring suppliers of Internet services to report online child pornography. It helps identify victims so they may be rescued, and improves law enforcement's ability to identify, apprehend and prosecute offenders.
The Increasing Offender Accountability component of the Safe Streets and Communities Act (Bill C-10) (Effective date: June 13, 2012)
These changes 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 National Strategy to Protect Children from Sexual Exploitation on the Internet - renewed and expanded in 2009
This Strategy supports increasing law enforcement capacity to investigate and track down predators; enhancing public education and awareness on the issue; and further research on child sexual exploitation.
Julie Di Mambro
Office of the Minister of Justice
Department of Justice
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