An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (restrictions on offenders)

This bill was last introduced in the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in August 2015.

This bill was previously introduced in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session.

Sponsor

Mark Warawa  Conservative

Introduced as a private member’s bill.

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment amends section 161 of the Criminal Code to require a court to consider making an order prohibiting certain offenders from being within two kilometres, or any other distance specified in the order, of any dwelling-house where the victim identified in the order resides or of any other place specified in the order. It also amends subsection 732.1(2) (probation) 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. It makes similar amendments to section 742.3 (conditional sentence orders) and subsection 810.1(3.02) (conditions of recognizance).

The enactment also amends section 133 of 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.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Votes

Dec. 4, 2013 Passed That the Bill be now read a third time and do pass.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

May 21st, 2013 / 11:50 a.m.
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NDP

Jasbir Sandhu NDP Surrey North, BC

Mr. Speaker, I speak today about Bill C-489, an act to amend the Criminal Code and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (restrictions on offenders). It is a privilege to speak on behalf of my constituents of Surrey North about this important bill. As my hon. colleague, the member for Gatineau, has pointed out in a previous speech, it is rare that we as MPs have the opportunity to discuss something that has a tangible outcome for our constituents. It is a privilege to be able to bring a Surrey North perspective to this debate.

The NDP has a solid history of advocating for survivors of violent crimes, particularly in reference to gendered violence and violence against children.

In my own riding, offenders who are released from detention have moved into neighbourhoods where constituents are worried for their safety and the safety of their families.

My predecessor NDP MP, Penny Priddy, along with other MPs from British Columbia, previously proposed measures to assist municipalities in the management of violent offenders. They have called for federal funding for communities that must pay extraordinary costs to monitor these offenders, to support mental health facilities and addiction services, and to provide appropriate housing for the reintegration process. Lack of funding has not prevented hard-working professionals from addressing this concern. We have seen from the federal side, over the last number of years, a downloading of a number of services to the provinces and, eventually, to the municipalities.

However, Surrey's crime reduction strategy has been heralded as the most comprehensive community-based initiative intended to reduce delinquency and re-offence. It builds community capacity to address crime while providing rehabilitation and reintegration assistance to the offenders.

Surrey's program has been particularly successful because of the extensive collaboration between law enforcement and correction services, non-profit organizations, the Surrey school board, the Surrey Board of Trade and other community organizations. I am also grateful for the professionals who work in rehabilitation and half-way house services, and I encourage a perspective of rehabilitation and social integration in our justice system.

The bill proposes restricting certain offenders from being within two kilometres of a house where a victim is present without a parent or a guardian, or from being in a vehicle with a person who is under the age of 16 years old without the presence of a parent or a guardian. It also would potentially prevent certain offenders from communicating with any victim, witness or any other person identified in a probation order, or from going anyplace specified in the order, except in accordance with specified conditions.

This is an important bill for violent crime survivors' rights, and it must be examined with the needs of survivors in mind. Along with my NDP colleagues, I am in favour of Bill C-489, as we are in favour of any proposal that would protect vulnerable members of our society.

Although well intentioned, the structure of the justice system often retraumatizes the very people it is trying to protect. It is well documented that witnesses and survivors, particularly of gendered crimes and cases involving children, are revictimized throughout the justice process, particularly when the victim must confront the alleged offender at trial.

Once the ordeal is over, survivors can begin their healing journey. However, imagine a survivor's shock when the offender returns to the neighbourhood. The retraumatization of having to see this person every day could undoubtedly lead to increased mental health issues and challenges to the healing of the survivor.

Although victims understand that offenders will eventually be released, it is imperative that they be informed of the release and the relocation.

Research has proven that knowledge about the offender and the rehabilitation of such can be incorporated into the psychological healing journey of the survivor. The knowledge that the offender is taking steps to address the reasons for his or her crime could be relieving to some survivors.

Furthermore, information on the offender's relocation is essential to the development of a safety plan and a general feeling of security.

However, as with any proposal that would affect Canadian lives, we need to ensure that the bill would offer suitable solutions.

The NDP proposes that there be extensive consultations with victim rights groups to ensure that Bill C-489 offers adequate and appropriate protection for survivors of violence. I am particularly interested in gaining the perspective of organizations in my community, such as the Surrey Women's Centre, The Centre for Child Development and Options Community Services. By talking to these front-line service providers, families and local enforcement agencies, we can gauge whether the bill, in its current form, would address the needs of the most vulnerable.

Throughout our discussions today, we need to be conscious of the fact that most crimes are unreported, particularly sexual assaults, and if they are reported, often survivor stories are not believed. Contrary to the “stranger danger” myth, the University of Toronto reports that in as many as 85% of sexual assault cases, the survivors know their attackers. As found by Calgary Communities Against Sexual Abuse, if children are the target of violence, in 75% of the cases they know the offender, who is usually a relative or family member.

Power imbalance between the victim and offender and even the victim and justice services, as well as societal reception of certain crimes, often averts survivors from reporting. This means that many survivors are forced to relive their trauma without closure, justice and adequate support services. If the offender is a close relative, friend or community member, the survivor may be forced to continue to see the offender on a regular basis, reliving the trauma first experienced and making him or her increasingly vulnerable to further violence.

Today we may not be able to change the lives of survivors of unreported crimes. However, through a debate in the House, we have the power to make a real change in the lives of those people who we can help. We need to do what we can here in the House to say that the retraumatization and revictimization of survivors of violence, particularly women, youth and children, is not okay. We need to protect survivors and empower them to continue their journey of healing.

I encourage my hon. colleagues in the House to reflect on these ideas while remaining conscious of the power we have in our positions as members of Parliament. We need to use this power to support survivors of violent crimes and continue to support tangible solutions for prevention, the justice system and protection of victims rights.

I encourage members of the justice committee to examine this bill further, to look at ways we can protect victims and provide services to victims of crime.

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

May 21st, 2013 / 11:55 a.m.
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NDP

Hoang Mai NDP Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to Bill C-489, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act.

I would first like to congratulate my colleague, the hon. member for Langley, on his initiative. We in the NDP understand that steps have been taken for both victims and witnesses. We understand where he is coming from on this. We know he met with people in his riding who went to see him to explain what a real problem this is.

As long as I have been a member of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, along with my hon. colleague from Gatineau, we have seen a great deal of discussion and many bills on this matter. Quite frankly, having moved over to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights from the Standing Committee on Finance, we can understand much better and see the concrete impact this could have on victims.

The NDP has always been in favour of victim protection and we still are, which is why we are supporting the bill. We want to study it at the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

Why do we want to study it? We are seeing more and more private members' bills being used to advance the government's agenda. We are not the only ones to say so. It is being widely reported in the media. Why is the government doing that? That is what we want to know and we think it is worth looking into the process. Again, this is not about taking away from or attacking the member for Langley's bill, but about how the process is being used.

This bill addresses something rather important in that it would amend the Criminal Code and related legislation. In this case, we know that the Conservative government is being sued by Edgar Schmidt, who used to work at Justice Canada. He claims that the government was not obeying the law and not fulfilling its obligations to ensure that government bills are consistent with the charter.

What is more, with the Conservatives, the cost of justice is at a record high because the government has to defend its bills in court. We are talking about $5 billion. That is quite a bit of money just to get the government to fulfill its legal obligations.

Again, we want to know why a private members' bill is being used to introduce something that is already part of the government's law and order agenda.

The Minister of Justice has really pushed this agenda. It is not necessarily the government doing this. It is backbenchers who are introducing these bills.

To come back to Bill C-489, I want to say that it has good intentions in that it seeks to protect victims. The bill would ensure that a judge hearing a case is required to impose certain obligations. The judge would have to make an order prohibiting certain offenders from being within two kilometres of a dwelling house where the victim is present without a parent, say, the father. This is very important, as it was something that was raised by the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime.

In his report it was mentioned that “...it might help a victim to feel more at ease if they were informed of a local instruction placed on the offender that prohibited him or her from going within a certain distance of the victim's residence.”

One thing that we will need to look at is how the two kilometres would apply. I heard the member of Parliament for Langley mention that he went from five kilometres to two kilometres. When we look at what happens specifically in certain regions, two kilometres basically means that the person would have to be evacuated from where he or she lived. This is something we need to look at in the justice committee.

Again, I applaud and commend the member for thinking of victims. On this side, we also understand that we need to protect victims and we will look at the bill in more detail in the justice committee.

Criminal CodeRoutine Proceedings

April 18th, 2013 / 10:05 a.m.
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Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-489, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (restrictions on offenders).

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to introduce the safe at home bill. Canadian children should feel safe in their homes, especially if they have been a victim of a sexual assault.

In my riding of Langley, a sex offender was permitted to serve a house arrest right next door to his young victim. In another case, the sex offender served house arrest across the street from the young victim. In both cases, the poor victims lived in fear and were re-victimized every time they saw their attacker.

One mother asked me, “Why should we have to move from our home when we are the victims?” That is a good question.

This bill will amend the Criminal Code to require a bubble zone around the victim's home, and the sex offenders will not be able to knowingly be anywhere near the victim.

I look forward to working with all members of the House to ensure the passage of this very important bill.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)