Department of Justice Canada

Department of Justice Canada

March 23, 2011 15:52 ET

Legislation Standing Up for Victims of Crime Receives Royal Assent

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 23, 2011) - The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada is pleased to announce that legislation aimed at ensuring more truth in sentencing and protecting children from on-line sexual exploitation received Royal Assent today.

"The safety and security of law-abiding Canadians is a priority for this Government," said Minister Nicholson. "Our Government has taken action to ensure the rights of victims are respected and that tough action is taken against murderers, white collar criminals and Internet child pornography offences." 

Four Bills have received Royal Assent:

  • S-6 - Serious Time for the Most Serious Crime Act:
    Ensures a 'life' sentence means life by repealing the "faint-hope clause" that allows 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.
  • C-21 - Standing Up For Victims of White Collar Crime Act:
    Cracks down on white collar crime by toughening sentences for fraud and requiring judges to consider restitution for victims.
  • C-22 - An Act respecting the mandatory reporting of Internet child pornography by persons who provide an Internet service:
    Helps protect children from online sexual exploitation by requiring suppliers of Internet services to report online child pornography. This bill will help identify victims so they may be rescued, and improve law enforcement's ability to identify, apprehend and prosecute offenders.
  • C-48 - Protecting Canadians by Ending Sentence Discounts for Multiple Murders Act:
    Helps ensure that each life taken is acknowledged in the sentencing process and that those who commit multiple murders can 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.

"Our Government is working to ensure the justice system delivers justice more fairly and effectively," said Minister Nicholson. "These Bills will help ensure convicted criminals receive sentences that truly reflect the severity of their crimes, making our streets and communities safer."

The four bills will come into force on dates yet to be determined. Online versions of the bills can be found at

(Version française disponible)


Bill S-6, the Serious Time for the Most Serious Crime Act, eliminates the faint-hope clause, ensuring that criminals who commit first-degree murder are not eligible for parole until they serve the full 25 years of their sentence. Similarly, offenders serving life imprisonment for second-degree murder are no longer eligible for parole until their parole ineligibility period is served, which could be up to 25 years.

Bill C-21, the Standing Up For Victims of White Collar Crime Act, includes a mandatory minimum penalty of at least two years for fraud over $1M. It also toughens sentences by adding aggravating factors that courts can consider. These aggravating factors include:

  • if the fraud had a significant impact on the victim, given the victim's particular circumstances, including their age, health and financial situation;

  • the offender's failure to comply with applicable licensing rules or professional standards; and,

  • the magnitude, complexity, and duration of the fraud and the degree of planning that went into it.

Bill C-22, An Act respecting the mandatory reporting of Internet child pornography by persons who provide an Internet service, applies to suppliers of Internet services to the public, including those who provide electronic mail services, Internet content hosting services, and social networking sites. It requires them to:

  • report, to a designated agency, tips they receive regarding Web sites where child pornography may be available to the public; and,

  • notify police and safeguard evidence if they believe that a child pornography offence has been committed using an Internet service that they provide.

Failure to comply with the duties under Bill C-22 will constitute an offence punishable by graduated fines.

Bill C-48, the Protecting Canadians by Ending Sentence Discounts for Multiple Murders Act, allows judges to impose consecutive parole ineligibility periods on individuals convicted of more than one first- or second-degree murder. Under the old system, criminals convicted of multiple murders served their parole ineligibility periods concurrently, meaning that they were eligible to apply for parole after just 10 to 25 years, depending on their sentence.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of Justice
    Pamela Stephens
    Press Secretary
    Department of Justice Canada
    Media Relations