Department of Justice Canada

Department of Justice Canada

February 26, 2014 15:35 ET

Government of Canada Introduces Legislation to Protect Children from Predators and Exploitation

Ministers MacKay and Blaney Table Legislation Geared at Crimes Against Children

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Feb. 26, 2014) - Department of Justice Canada

Introduction

In support of the Government of Canada's commitment to standing up for victims of crime, Peter MacKay, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and Steven Blaney, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, introduced comprehensive legislation to better protect children from a range of sexual offences and exploitation at home and abroad.

These nine new measures, introduced in the House of Commons today, reflect the government's commitment in the 2013 Speech from the Throne to re-establish Canada as a country where those who break the law are punished for their actions, where prison time matches the severity of crimes committed, and where the most vulnerable victims - children - are better protected.

Quick Facts

The legislation includes nine key measures:

  • Requiring those receiving separate sentences at the same time for contact child sexual offences against multiple children to serve their sentences consecutively- one after another;
  • Requiring those sentenced at the same time for child pornography offences and contact child sexual offences to serve their sentences consecutively;
  • Increasing maximum and minimum prison sentences for certain child sexual offences;
  • Increasing penalties for violation of conditions of supervision orders;
  • Ensuring that a crime committed while on house arrest, parole, statutory release or unescorted temporary absence is an aggravating factor at sentencing;
  • Ensuring that spousal testimony is available in child pornography cases;
  • Requiring registered sex offenders to provide more information regarding travel abroad;
  • Enabling information-sharing on certain registered sex offenders between officials responsible for the National Sex Offender Registry and at the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA); and
  • Establishing a publicly accessible database of high-risk child sex offenders who have been the subject of a public notification in a provincial/territorial jurisdiction to assist in ensuring the safety of our communities.

Quotes

"Our Government is making our streets and communities safe by cracking down on predators who abuse and exploit children. Every day in Canada, our most vulnerable - our children - are the victims of sexual abuse. This is truly unacceptable and as a society we must do our part to better protect our youth. Child sexual abuse causes unimaginable devastation to the lives of children, and can cause lifelong emotional distress that profoundly affects victims for the rest of their lives. Our Government's comprehensive legislation will better protect children from a range of sexual offences, including child pornography, while making our streets and communities safer by cracking down on the predators that hurt, abuse and exploit our children."

Peter MacKay, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

"Child sexual abuse is a horrifying crime. Our Government is strengthening measures that will better protect children from sexual exploitation in Canada and abroad. It will enhance accountability of registered sex offenders, particularly those with convictions for sexual offences against children who travel out of the country to engage in child-sex tourism."

Steven Blaney, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

"We need to protect the vulnerable and make sure they have the tools to get help, heal and move forward with their lives - especially our children. We at Victims of Violence welcome the federal government's move to strengthen laws surrounding sexual abuse, so children are protected from abuse and exploitation, victims are heard and our communities are made safer."

Sharon Rosenfeldt, President, Victims of Violence

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Backgrounder

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Backgrounder

Child Sexual Offenders

Our Government is bringing forward nine new key measures that build on the significant work that has already been done to combat child sexual exploitation and protect Canadians from online crime. The proposed new measures comprise amendments to the Criminal Code, the Canada Evidence Act and the Sex Offender Information Registration Act, and the creation of a High-Risk Child Sex Offender Database. They include:

  • Requiring those convicted of contact child sexual offences against multiple children to serve their sentences consecutively - one after another;
  • Requiring those convicted of child pornography offences and contact child sexual offences to serve their sentences consecutively;
  • Increasing maximum and minimum prison sentences for certain child sexual offences;
  • Increasing penalties for violation of conditions of supervision orders;
  • Ensuring that a crime committed while on house arrest, parole, statutory release or unescorted temporary absence, is an aggravating factor at sentencing;
  • Ensuring that spousal testimony is available in child pornography cases;
  • Requiring registered sex offenders to provide more information when they travel abroad;
  • Enabling information-sharing on certain registered sex offenders between officials responsible for the National Sex Offender Registry and at the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA); and
  • Establishing a publicly accessible database of high-risk child sex offenders who have been the subject of a public notification in a provincial/territorial jurisdiction to assist in ensuring the safety of our communities.

Since 2006, our Government has taken strong actions to better protect children, including:

  • Putting in place, through the Safe Streets and Communities Act, new mandatory prison sentences for seven existing Criminal Code sexual offences, including assault, assault with a weapon, and aggravated assault (where the child is under 16 years);
  • Making it illegal for anyone to provide sexually explicit material to a child for the purpose of facilitating the commission of an offence against that child - this process is often referred to as "grooming";
  • Making it illegal to use computers or other means of telecommunications to agree with or make arrangements with another person to commit a sexual offence against a child;
  • Strengthening the sex offender registry;
  • Increasing the age of protection - the age at which a young person can legally consent to sexual activity - from 14 to 16 years of age;
  • Putting in place legislation to make the reporting of child pornography by Internet Service Providers mandatory; and
  • Strengthening the sentencing and monitoring of dangerous offenders.

Broader measures that the Government has taken to help young victims of crime include:

  • Providing over $10 million for new or enhanced Child Advocacy Centres (CAC) since 2010. So far, CAC projects have been funded in 20 cities or municipalities across Canada. Teams of professionals at these centres help young victims and witnesses cope with the trauma they've experienced and to navigate the criminal justice system;
  • Launching www.GetCyberSafe.gc.ca, the Government of Canada's public awareness website on online safety. The site contains information for parents on how to protect their children from people who go online for the purpose of exploiting, manipulating or abusing children;
  • Joining the Global Alliance Against Child Sexual Abuse Online in June 2013. The goal of the Global Alliance is to strengthen international efforts to fight Internet predators and child abuse images online. It focuses on identifying and helping victims, prosecuting offenders, increasing public awareness and reducing the availability of child pornography online;
  • Consulting with the public and stakeholders to better understand the differing views about which rights should be recognized and protected by a federal Victims Bill of Rights. These consultations are critical in identifying and recognizing how to better entrench the rights of victims into a single law at the federal level, as part of the Government's commitment to victims of crime; and,
  • Allocating more than $120 million since 2006 to respond to the needs of victims of crime through programs and initiatives delivered by the Department of Justice.

Contact Information

  • Paloma Aguilar
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Minister of Justice
    613-992-4621

    Media Relations
    Department of Justice
    613-957-4207

    Jean-Christophe de Le Rue
    Director of Communications
    Office of the Minister of Public Safety
    and Emergency Preparedness
    Jean-Christophe.deLeRue@ps-sp.gc.ca