Public Safety Canada

Public Safety Canada

June 01, 2009 10:17 ET

Canada Takes Action to Strengthen the National Sex Offender Registry and the National DNA Data Bank

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 1, 2009) - The Honourable Peter Van Loan, Minister of Public Safety, together with the Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Minister of National Revenue, today announced proposed legislative amendments to strengthen the National Sex Offender Registry and the National DNA Data Bank.

"Police services and victims' groups have been clear - the National Sex Offender Registry must be strengthened so that it better protects our children and communities from sexual predators," said Minister Van Loan. "The changes we are proposing today will enhance public safety and make the Registry and the National DNA Data Bank more effective tools for police not only to investigate but also prevent sex crimes."

Proposed amendments in the legislation include:

- Automatic inclusion of all convicted sex offenders in the Registry - as opposed to the current scheme where prosecutors must apply and a judge has discretion whether to include a convicted sex offender in the registry.

- Offenders convicted of a designated sexual offence under the Sex Offender Information Registration Act will also now be subject to a mandatory order to provide a DNA sample for the National DNA Databank;

- Police will be empowered to use the Registry to prevent sexual offences, unlike now where they can only use the registry to investigate crimes after they are committed;

- People who are convicted and jailed for sex crimes in another country who return to Canada under the International Transfers of Offenders Act to serve the remainder of their sentence will now be registered in the Sex Offender Registry;

- Canadians convicted abroad of sex crimes and returning to Canada at the end of sentence must report their conviction to police within 7 days of arriving in Canada or face criminal prosecution;

- Police to notify foreign or other Canadian police when high-risk registered sex offenders are travelling to that area; and,

- Amendments to the National Defence Act to ensure that reforms also apply to the military justice system.

In addition, several administrative and operational enhancements are proposed. For example, registered sex offenders must report the name of their employer, the type of employment as well as any volunteer organizations they are associated with. They will also be required to provide notice in advance of absences from their residence of seven days or more.

Correctional authorities would also be permitted to notify the registration centre of the sex offender's address where a registered sex offender is serving the custodial portion of a sentence temporarily in the community for a period of 7 days or more.

"We are fulfilling the commitment we made to strengthen the National Sex Offender Registry and the National DNA Data Bank" added Minister Blackburn. "We will continue to work with the police and our provincial and territorial partners on this important issue as they are partners in the administration and enforcement of the Registry."

The Sex Offender Information Registration Act that established a national sex offender database was proclaimed as law and came into force on December 15, 2004. The database is administered by the RCMP.

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