An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make consequential amendments to another Act (interim release and domestic violence recognizance orders)


Report stage (House), as of Feb. 26, 2024

Subscribe to a feed (what's a feed?) of speeches and votes in the House related to Bill S-205.


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

This enactment amends the Criminal Code in respect of interim release and other orders related to intimate partner violence offences. The enactment also provides for recognizance orders to be made when there is a reasonable fear of domestic violence.


All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, an excellent resource from the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.


Nov. 1, 2023 Passed 2nd reading of Bill S-205, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make consequential amendments to another Act (interim release and domestic violence recognizance orders)

Corrections and Conditional Release ActPrivate Members' Business

February 27th, 2024 / 6:10 p.m.
See context


Christine Normandin Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Madam Speaker, I am also pleased to rise to speak to Bill C-320, which was introduced by the member for Oshawa.

This bill is very much in line with other private members' bills that have been introduced by various members from various parties. These bills demonstrate that there is complete unanimity on this issue, unlike in many other areas. All parties agree when it comes to the issue of protecting victims and integrating them better into the justice system.

For example, I can talk about two other bills that were debated very recently in the House, including Bill C-332, which was introduced by the NDP member for Victoria and seeks to criminalize coercive control. That bill focuses more on partners or spouses in a family context. I would like to read the bill summary:

This enactment amends the Criminal Code to create an offence of engaging in controlling or coercive conduct that has a significant impact on the person towards whom the conduct is directed, including a fear of violence, a decline in their physical or mental health or a substantial adverse effect on their day-to-day activities.

This bill seeks to create a new offence for conduct that often occurs in a domestic context.

I was also pleased to rise to speak to Bill S-205, which was introduced by now former senator Pierre‑Hugues Boisvenu and has to do with intimate partners. Once again, by way of explanation, I want to read the bill summary as it appears in the bill. It states and I quote:

This enactment amends the Criminal Code in respect of interim release and other orders related to intimate partner violence offences. The enactment also provides for recognizance orders to be made when there is a reasonable fear of domestic violence.

This bill, which I spoke to in the fall, is rather large in scope when it comes to measures to protect victims of domestic violence.

The two bills I just talked about deal with keeping women safe and protecting female victims. We know that the number of femicides increased by roughly 7.5% between 2009 and 2019. My colleague from Shefford also mentioned this. There is a great deal of work to be done to protect women. That is also the purpose of Senator Boisvenu's bill. It talks about the use of electronic bracelets, but also about the obligation to give the victim a copy of the order regarding the accused and to ensure that the victim has been consulted about her safety and security needs when a bail decision is being made.

There was already a strong interest in ensuring that victims of domestic violence offences or sexual offences are given more information about, and also have a say in, an accused's release, should a peace bond be issued. The idea is to ensure that the victim is aware of the situation and that she can even be involved in the release process, in a way, by helping monitor the actions of an accused who is subject to certain conditions, such as maintaining distance. Unfortunately, law enforcement agencies do not always have enough eyes to ensure that release conditions are met. Perhaps this is one way to ensure better monitoring and enforcement of orders.

Bill C-320 has some minor nuances. In this case, we are talking about victims in general. It is not just about victims of sexual offences or victims of domestic violence, but would include the families of murder victims, for example. The definition of victim as set out in the Corrections and Conditional Release Act includes the direct victim, but it also stipulates that someone else can act on the victim's behalf. This could include the victim's spouse or the person who was their spouse at the time of the victim's death, someone who was cohabiting with the victim, a relative or a dependant. This means that the bill can apply to a broader definition of victim. What this bill does is make it mandatory to give the victim more information on certain aspects.

We are not calling into question the very concept of parole, for example. That is something that the Bloc Québécois supports, because we believe in rehabilitation. The parole system may not be perfect, but we must still support it in the sense that, in some cases, rehabilitation takes precedence over a very strict desire to simply keep people incarcerated when it is not necessary or appropriate and when there is a real possibility of social reintegration.

Under the bill, the victim must be informed of the eligibility dates and review dates applicable to the offender in respect of temporary absences or parole, and they must be given an explanation of how those dates were determined. The victim must also be informed when the offender is released on escorted or unescorted temporary absence, on parole and on placement, meaning when the offender is sent to a halfway house. The victim must be informed of the date on which the offender will be released and how that date was determined. In short, explanations are given regarding the parole system, temporary absences and orders to place the offender in a halfway house.

Without completely reforming the issue of parole, this bill ensures that the person does not learn through the media that an individual convicted of a crime committed against her or a member of her family was released without her full knowledge of the process, the mechanics of that decision. This will ensure greater confidence. In fact, I dare to hope that the bill will help give victims more confidence in the federal prison system and further involve victims in the process. If this transparency can make victims more confident, that can have an untold impact on certain aspects of the judicial process.

I mentioned this during the study of Bill S-205. One of the common problems encountered in court when the time comes to lay criminal charges against someone, and particularly in the context of domestic violence, is that the victim is often not a party to the case, but simply a witness. This witness is important because, often, they are the only witness the Crown can use to put someone in jail and proceed with a hearing. If the victim does not have sufficient confidence in the justice system, she may decide not to testify, for fear of retribution. It is often for these reasons that domestic violence hearings go nowhere, for lack of a victim.

This is an opportunity to improve overall knowledge of the justice system, from one end of the legal process to the other, as was done with the other two bills, and this one. We can help people understand the system better, have more trust in it and participate more in the process to ensure that those who have committed wrongdoing end up serving the sentence handed down for their actions.

However, we also need to ensure that better psychological supports are available. As soon as the institution is required to properly inform victims about the parole process, for example, this can retraumatize many victims. We must therefore ensure that there are sufficient resources and supports in place for these victims if we want to get this right. We will have to make sure that there is a useful purpose, but also that we think more about the victims in the sense that this bill puts victims at the centre of the process. We must not do just one part of the job. We have to make sure that the work is done properly and that victims are fully supported. Ultimately, we have to be able to say that the victim has been put at the centre of our concerns and is part of the judicial process. She is not just an outside witness.

This bill has good intentions, and that is why I am convinced that the parties decided to unanimously support it at second reading and in committee, and that they will support it now at third reading.

Corrections and Conditional Release ActPrivate Members' Business

February 27th, 2024 / 5:30 p.m.
See context


Andréanne Larouche Bloc Shefford, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to speak to Bill C‑320, which amends the Criminal Code with respect to disclosure of information to victims. The Bloc Québécois supports this bill.

As vice-chair of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women since 2020, I have contributed to numerous studies aimed at addressing violence against women. The figures are very alarming. Many cities in Quebec and Canada have gone so far as to describe the situation as an epidemic. We need to come up with concrete solutions for victims, to prevent the violence from creating more victims. In a recent article, I promised to make this a priority in my status of women file.

Today, I will explain the Bloc's position in greater detail. Then, I will elaborate a bit on the benefits of this bill. In closing, I will reiterate the importance of making this a non-partisan issue.

First, the Bloc Québécois's position is consistent with its commitment to support initiatives that keep women safe and that address violence against women. We believe that victims have everything to gain from getting as much information as possible about their assailant and the situation surrounding the assailant's potential release. This position is in keeping with the Bloc Québécois's support for Bill C‑233. As a small reminder, that bill amended the Criminal Code to require a justice, before making a release order in respect of an accused who is charged with an offence against their intimate partner, to consider whether it is desirable, in the interests of the safety and security of any person, to include as a condition of the order that the accused wear an electronic monitoring device. The Bloc Québécois will always stand up to protect victims of crime and strengthen the relationship of trust between the public and our institutions.

Secondly, the bill before us now seeks to amend the Criminal Code to enable victims of a criminal offence to get an explanation about how certain decisions were made about their assailant. This includes the eligibility dates and review dates applicable to the offender in respect of temporary absences, work release, parole or statutory release. Adding a mechanism that would give victims access to additional information about their assailant's situation and decisions being made about that person is certain to strengthen the justice system.

Over the past few years, Quebec has positioned itself as a world leader in enhancing victim protection and strengthening victims' trust in the justice system. For example, the Government of Quebec has launched a pilot project in a number of courthouses to create courts specializing in sexual assault cases in certain courthouses; one of them is near me, in Granby. There is also the electronic monitoring device pilot project, which was successful and has been deployed across the province. These advancements meet the objective of recognizing how vulnerable victims of an offence are and putting all the tools at their disposal so they can be safe. This way, the justice system can evolve and adapt to better serve the needs of victims of crime. In an effort to be consistent, the Bloc Québécois will support Bill C‑320.

If they pass, these legislative changes will represent an added value for the victims, including female victims of domestic or sexual violence, for example. The justice system has to be more effective in general and more transparent, not least to facilitate the legal process and ease the long-term effects on victims or their family, especially when a decision is made about releasing the assailant. It also strengthens public trust in the justice system so that no other victim of a crime will hesitate to report it to the police.

Statistics show that there has been a spike in femicide and domestic violence. Between 2009 and 2019, there was an increase of 7.5%. As parliamentarians, we have a responsibility to help reverse this troubling trend. The year 2024 is not off to a good start, since the first femicide in Quebec took place at the beginning of January in Granby, in my riding. Once again, my thoughts and sympathies go out to the victim's loved ones.

The reality on the ground highlights the gaps, including the status quo in the justice system: Many victims continue to fear their assailant, even while that person is in custody. We can only applaud an initiative that seeks to improve the victim's experience of the justice system throughout the process, starting from the moment she decides to file a complaint. We need to rebuild their trust. Actually, “Rebâtir la confiance”, or rebuilding trust, is the title of an important non-partisan report that was produced by elected officials in Quebec City on the issue of violence against women, highlighting victims' lack of trust in the system.

Thirdly, I would like to emphasize this non-partisan aspect that allows us to move this file forward. I know that the Conservative members will support this bill. We need to rebuild victims' trust in the justice system, which these same victims describe sometimes as lax. This bill seeks to better equip victims and their families so that they can obtain accurate and concurrent information on the court's decisions on their attacker. Victims and their families say that they are sometimes surprised to learn that the attacker is entitled to early release, long before the end of the 25-year sentence, for example. This needs to be taken into account. The Liberal caucus will also be in favour of this bill because it will improve the level of transparency in the judicial process. The NDP caucus, too, will be in favour of this bill because it will improve the level of transparency in the judicial process.

We all agree on the need to find solutions to help victims regain this all-important trust and further encourage them to come forward.

I would like to briefly come back to a few other measures that were recently brought in that seek to meaningfully work on this issue of violence. We know that adding meaningful proposals and establishing a real continuum of services will help victims. No magic wand is going to fix all of this in one shot.

I want to come back to the matter of the special court for victims of sexual assault. This is a recommendation from the report entitled “Rebâtir la confiance”, that is currently being analyzed. The purpose of such a court would be to give victims a safe space where they can be heard by the justice system, a space where the workers at every level, including judges, are sensitive to the needs of victims. The first such court was set up in Valleyfield on March 5, 2022. It was a world first. Yes, Quebec became the first place in the world to set up a court specialized in domestic violence.

With regard to electronic monitoring devices, Quebec has once again been a leader in better protecting victims. Quebec became the first province in Canada to launch a two-pronged monitoring system for domestic violence suspects. However, threats still exist. From what I heard in committee, we need to be careful that these devices do not create a false sense of security and ensure that they are worn properly. We also need to consider the fact that connectivity may be a problem in some places, especially remote areas, which means that the devices may not work properly there. We need to address that.

I had argued from the outset that the government should follow suit and recognize Quebec's leadership on this issue. On May 20, 2022, Quebec was the first jurisdiction in the country to do this. It was ridiculous that only criminals sentenced to two years less a day should have to wear an electronic bracelet. The federal government should follow suit so that criminals with the toughest sentences could also find themselves subject to this measure under the Criminal Code.

We have seen study after study in committee, but concrete action is slow in coming. There was the committee study on intimate partner violence, which also demonstrated the need to broaden our perception of violence and include the notion of coercive control. Recently, there was the clause-by-clause study of Bill S‑205, which specifically aimed to broaden the scope of electronic bracelet use. There is also this question of trust in the system that was raised during the study on abuse in the world of sport. Victims questioned the complaints system and called for an independent public inquiry to restore their trust and encourage reporting. In fact, that was the top recommendation in the report by the Standing Committee on the Status of Women. The government must take action now.

In closing, I would say that it is important to send a strong message to the victims and to take additional measures. We have to set partisanship aside and ensure that we actually mean it when we call ourselves feminists, that we walk the talk. I have had enough of fake feminism. On the other side, they cannot claim to be feminists by boasting about getting tough on crime if they also infringe on women's right to control their own bodies.

We have to remain vigilant and not fall prey to demagoguery, disinformation, and dare I say even the erosion of law and order. That would be the logical conclusion.

It is going to take a lot more than common sense to find solutions. Let us all—elected members, justice officials and community stakeholders at every level—work toward a common objective: to save women's lives so that there is not one more victim.

Motions in amendmentCriminal CodePrivate Members' Business

February 26th, 2024 / 12:10 p.m.
See context


Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to address the House today on Bill S-205, a bill that comes from a Conservative senator and a Conservative member of Parliament. It is a Conservative initiative aimed at combatting domestic violence.

Before I speak specifically about this bill, I do want to pay particular tribute to Senator Boisvenu, who is responsible for putting this bill forward. Senator Boisvenu has seen the impacts of this kind of violence on his family. He has turned personal tragedy into public advocacy, standing up for victims of crime. He has devoted his energies in the Senate and outside of the Senate to standing for justice and for the inclusion of victims' voices in various processes.

I want to take this opportunity to recognize his incredible work on this bill and on so many other different areas. He is now retiring, and I think all members from all sides in the other place and in this place would pay tribute to him, his commitment to public service and his work. Bill S-205 is one of many proposals he has put forward for combatting domestic violence and other forms of violence, as well as standing up for victims.

Bill S-205 seeks to deal with orders that go against perpetrators of domestic violence, which a judge would issue in order to protect victims and control the perpetrators' activities. In particular, it would create a mechanism where a judge can mandate that a perpetrator would wear an electronic monitoring device and also that victims would be consulted in the process of judges making decisions about the kinds of orders that apply to perpetrators.

These initiatives make sense. They are common sense. They would give victims of domestic violence a greater sense of security, and I believe they would reduce subsequent violence and would save lives.

Unfortunately, what we have seen in the process of this bill making its way through Parliament is that members of the Liberal government supported amendments at committee that would weaken the bill, so here we are in the House at report stage, which is when this bill comes out of committee, and Conservatives are working to add back in some of those critical sections that were removed at committee. There is a lot of discussion in this place about combatting domestic violence, but when the rubber hits the road, we have Liberals voting against critical measures that would actually protect victims of crime.

Victims of crime are not primarily concerned about words of solidarity from politicians. There are a lot of politicians who say they have had enough, that enough is enough and that it must stop, but the rubber hits the road with the concrete legislative initiatives we put forward that punish perpetrators of this horrible crime and that create the kinds of mechanisms, such as electronic monitoring, that will allow victims of these crimes to feel safer.

It is disappointing that, while having words to say about the problem of domestic violence, Liberal members have not actually supported the constructive initiatives that Conservatives in the other place and in this place have put forward.

As well, I wanted to mention an issue I have been working on and advocating for, and that is more bystander intervention training. I think one of the ways we can combat crime, domestic violence and other forms of violence, is by empowering bystanders, people who may be outside of a situation and see things that are going on, to know how to respond, how to intervene and what kinds of tools are available to them. I have been to a number of bystander training events, including in my own community, and I think these are very powerful tools for combatting this kind of violence. We have focused a lot, as we should, on punishing the perpetrator and protecting the victim, but I think we can also look at other people, bystanders and potential bystanders, in terms of how to engage them. I have put forward Motion No. 57 in the House that deals with promoting more bystander intervention, awareness and training, which I think is another step we should be talking more about in terms of combatting domestic violence.

Fundamentally, this is a phenomenal bill, a great bill, and I want to again recognize the excellent work of Senator Boisvenu throughout his life and career standing for and with victims of crime. However, it is unfortunate to see efforts by Liberals and others to water down these kinds of initiatives. Words of solidarity are not enough. We need action, we need policy, to punish perpetrators and protect victims. Those concrete initiatives are going to really make a difference to vulnerable people in our society. I hope that the House will support Conservative efforts to reverse the watering-down amendments at committee and to strengthen this bill again so that we can do the work that everybody talks about, which is to protect victims of domestic violence.

Motions in amendmentCriminal CodePrivate Members' Business

February 26th, 2024 / noon
See context


Leah Gazan NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today in support of this bill, Bill S-205, which was first introduced by Senator Boisvenu in 2021. First, I want to acknowledge his hard work and effort in putting this bill forward, as well as his courage in sharing his story about how gender-based violence impacted his own family. With that in mind, I think it was critical for him to ensure this bill passed through the House.

In general, this bill sets out to protect survivors of intimate partner violence through various amendments to the Criminal Code. These include ensuring judges consult the accused's intimate partner about their safety and security needs; allowing judges to consider the use of an electronic monitor for interim release; and establishing a new type of recognizance order, or peace bond, for survivors of intimate partner violence. If granted, the peace bond would allow the judge to impose conditions that could include electronic monitoring and a treatment or domestic violence counselling program.

Given that this bill is of great importance, especially because we know that rates of gender-based violence have increased since the pandemic, I can affirm the committee worked very hard to ensure that this bill was reviewed promptly so it could be passed into law. I am very excited to be here for the debate today and to keep this bill moving along. The committee also worked to make necessary amendments to address concerns expressed by the study's witnesses.

While discussing the bill, it is important to emphasize that intimate partner violence is a national crisis. We certainly know, as I indicated, that rates of violence within the home have increased since the pandemic. We also see a connection between intimate partner violence and the mental health crisis we are currently witnessing in Canada.

In fact, every six days, a woman in Canada is killed by her intimate partner. Given the severity of intimate partner violence, some Canadian cities, including Ottawa, Toronto and Kitchener, have gone so far as to declare it an epidemic. Therefore, we know that we need to address this crisis of violence. It is critical to put in place laws to ensure the safety of those who are experiencing violence.

Rates of intimate partner violence have been on the rise in recent years, especially, as I said, since the COVID-19 pandemic. Between 2014 and 2022, intimate partner violence rates increased by an alarming 20%. Intimate partner violence overwhelmingly impacts women, particularly young women. Forty-four per cent of women, or 6.2 million women aged 15 and older, have reported some kind of abuse in their intimate partner relationship. We often think about intimate partner violence in terms of those who are cohabiting, but even when we look at the impact on youth, the rates of intimate partner violence are alarming.

Women are similarly overrepresented in intimate partner homicides, which make up nearly one-fifth of all solved homicides in Canada. We also know that intimate partner violence disproportionately impacts low-income and indigenous women, as well as women who are visible minorities, disabled or 2SLGBTQ+. Particularly, there has been a rise of anti-trans hate happening in the country. We saw the Leader of the Opposition, the member for Carleton, fuelling the fires of anti-trans rhetoric last week when talking about safe places that will now exclude trans women.

We need to be vigilant in all areas of society to protect women. We know that the consequences of intimate partner violence are also very costly. The Department of Justice, for example, estimated the cost of intimate partner violence to be roughly $7.4 billion. It not only costs dignity and safety, it also costs us financially by turning a blind eye to the crisis of intimate partner violence.

One of the biggest concerns I had with this bill was the impact it might have on indigenous peoples. We know that the Liberal government throwing out the amendments to Bill C-318, as we heard this morning, is certainly not committed, but in the last Parliament, we did pass Bill C-15, which includes clause 5. It states, “The Government of Canada must, in consultation and cooperation with Indigenous peoples, take all measures necessary to ensure that the laws of Canada are consistent with the Declaration.”

Today, for example, it could have taken all the measures necessary to pass Bill C-13 and provide royal assent with the amendments to make sure it was consistent with the United Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It did not, but we know the Liberal government is not a champion of indigenous rights in this country as it continues to willfully violate our rights.

When we were amending Bill S-205, one of the concerns I had was related to indigenous peoples due to the ongoing legacy of colonial-state policies and laws. Indigenous people, as a result, are overrepresented in Canada's criminal justice system. We must make sure that our criminal justice system is consistent with Bill C-15, which affirms all legislation going forward. I know that this is a Senate bill, but, just as a matter of principle, it should be consistent with the United Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

In 2018, indigenous adults made up 30% of admissions to provincial and territorial custody and 29% of admissions to federal custody, while representing 4% of the population. Indigenous women made up an even greater share of those admitted into custody, at 42%. I moved an amendment in committee to add cases involving indigenous people to enable judges to consider alternative, culturally appropriate indigenous support services rather than imprisonment. This type of amendment is not only morally necessary, it is legally necessary as well. Again, Bill C-15 requires all Canadian government legislation to be consistent with the United Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which includes requirements to prevent discrimination against indigenous people and respect the integrity of indigenous cultures and traditions.

The Gladue principles in Canadian law compel judges to recognize the unique experiences of indigenous peoples, including prevent discrimination against indigenous people and respect the integrity of indigenous cultures and traditions. Given these considerations, judges must consider alternatives to prisons while sentencing, such as, for example, alternative restorative justice.

I would like to thank everybody and congratulate Senator Boisvenu. I am looking forward to seeing this bill move quickly through the House. I would also like to thank the committee for the hard discussions we had getting this bill through committee.

Motions in amendmentCriminal CodePrivate Members' Business

February 26th, 2024 / 11:50 a.m.
See context


Kristina Michaud Bloc Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois’s position has not changed since the bill was introduced. Obviously, we are in favour of it, since it is consistent with initiatives aimed at strengthening the justice and police systems in their fight against all forms of violence, including repeat violence. Our thoughts go out to victims of domestic violence, women who are victims of domestic violence. Gender-based violence is a scourge on our society. Obviously, we need to do more to prevent it.

I would like to begin by commending the sponsor of this bill, Senator Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu. We are all familiar with his story. His daughter was murdered by a sexual predator in 2002. Following that event, he chose to dedicate his life to protecting crime victims and strengthening the rights of all victims of violence, and especially women, who make up the majority of victims. It is in a way his legacy to our institution.

I hope that, with the contribution of all members of Parliament, this legislative measure will take effect very soon. I sincerely believe that it will help many people become more involved in the entire judicial process, which can be extremely trying for obvious reasons. Despite our differences of opinion on various topics, the senator and I agree on this one.

Protecting crime victims’ rights is a priority for the Bloc Québécois. I am very pleased to speak today on this extremely important subject.

In Quebec and Canada, criminal and penal law must punish crime and ensure public safety. With the rise in the number of femicides and cases of domestic violence, it is important that we reinforce our mechanisms for protecting crime victims, as well as their children and other loved ones. This requires an amendment to the Criminal Code.

Bill S-205 is a firm step in that direction. It essentially seeks to get victims more involved in the judicial process by, for example, forcing the judge to consult them before issuing a release order with conditions.

The conditions that justify detaining an accused awaiting trial are set out in the Criminal Code. Let us take a closer look at what subsection 515(10) has to say:

For the purposes of this section, the detention of an accused in custody is justified only on one or more of the following grounds:

(a) where the detention is necessary to ensure his or her attendance in court in order to be dealt with according to law;

(b) where the detention is necessary for the protection or safety of the public, including any victim of or witness to the offence, or any person under the age of 18 years, having regard to all the circumstances including any substantial likelihood that the accused will, if released from custody, commit a criminal offence or interfere with the administration of justice; and

(c) if the detention is necessary to maintain confidence in the administration of justice, having regard to all the circumstances, including

(i) the apparent strength of the prosecution’s case,

(ii) the gravity of the offence,

(iii) the circumstances surrounding the commission of the offence, including whether a firearm was used, and

(iv) the fact that the accused is liable, on conviction, for a potentially lengthy term of imprisonment or, in the case of an offence that involves, or whose subject-matter is, a firearm, a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of three years or more.

Consequently, the decision to detain someone awaiting trial depends on multiple factors specific to each situation. When the public interest justifies keeping the accused in detention, it must be recognized that they are being deprived of their basic rights, including the presumption of innocence, and the right to life, liberty and security.

Allowing more victim involvement in the legal process that concerns them is a praiseworthy step that we can support without reservation. Victims do not have to fight every day for justice to be served. The bill helps lower the barriers victims potentially face that could dissuade them from pursuing the courageous process of filing a complaint against their attacker.

The Bloc Québécois has always strived to defend victims of crime. As I stated earlier, our thoughts are with women and victims of domestic violence. Every victim is one too many.

Quebec is a world leader in protecting the victims of domestic and family violence.

Quebec's public safety department has launched an electronic monitoring device project province-wide. It is used to prevent femicides and to protect the victims of domestic violence or sexual exploitation.

According to an article in Le Devoir, “this protective measure was offered for the first time in the Quebec City area in 2022. It was then deployed [across Quebec].” The Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine and northern Quebec regions have had this service since last September. Simply put, it prevents offenders from approaching their victim.

The article goes on to say, “the system consists of two interconnected GPS tracking devices, a bracelet permanently affixed to the ankle of the accused...and a mobile application installed on a smartphone held by the person to be protected. If the offender enters defined restricted areas around the victim, a notification is sent to a monitoring centre, which can then view the location of each of the two parties on a screen. An agent will ask the wearer of the bracelet to move away. If they refuse or continue to approach, the agent will request police intervention. Sometimes, the police are deployed immediately, without waiting for the offender's reaction”.

In the article, Isabelle Mailloux, director general of security at Quebec's correctional services, said that the idea behind this measure is to give victims some peace of mind and ensure their safety.

She also said, and I quote, “The bracelet may be imposed on offenders who are serving their sentence in the community, who are released pending trial, who are released on parole, or who have to meet certain conditions upon their release from prison. In all cases, the victim must consent before the order for the bracelet to be worn is issued”.

Isabelle Mailloux also pointed out that Quebec was a trailblazer when it implemented this protection system, and that it remains to this day the only Canadian province to use it.

She also explained the following to Le Devoir: “Whenever I hear from a victim who tells me that she has regained some peace of mind, that she has started sleeping again at night, that, to me, is the best indicator of success”. She said that it can have a deterrent effect on offenders when they realize that they really are being monitored and authorities will actually call them.

As reported in the article later on, she hopes that, if the program becomes well known, more women will be tempted to take part in it if they ever need to.

Personally, I hope that the rest of Canada will follow Quebec's example. I think it is time to come full circle and make inmates released from prison subject to the same restrictions across the country. Measures like those proposed in Bill S‑205 could have a very positive impact on the safety of our communities.

These legislative changes are obviously an added value for victims. The justice system needs to be more effective and more transparent. We must also make the judicial process easier for victims, their families and their loved ones when the fateful decision is made to release the offender.

The bill could help build the public's trust in the justice system so that victims do not hesitate to report the crimes against them. We know that is far too often the case. The statistics are troubling and show how important it is to have the right legislative measures. Between 2009 and 2019, we saw a 7.5% rise in femicide and domestic violence. That number peaked in 2021: As many as 18,571 female victims were reported in Quebec, or 1,788 more than in 2020. I think that as parliamentarians, we have a responsibility to contribute to reversing this very troubling trend.

I want to come back to the key components of the bill. I mentioned the requirement to consult the victim ahead of a release order with conditions. There is also the introduction of the concept of domestic violence, in which case a victim can apply to have the defendant enter into a recognizance to keep the peace. There is also the preponderance of the victim's version of events, which could influence the choice of conditions the defendant will be subject to under the recognizance.

The Bloc Québécois promised to help improve this bill. That is what we did in committee. We agreed with most of the amendments that were made to this bill, which mainly sought to strengthen it and provide more support for victims. There is just one thing that we did not support, and that was the amendment to decrease the maximum time for good behaviour from two years to 12 months. As we saw in the news recently, abusive partners can act out years later. It is therefore important to be vigilant when it comes to those with a violent past. As for the rest, we will continue to support this bill, which I think will help keep our communities safe.

Motions in amendmentCriminal CodePrivate Members' Business

February 26th, 2024 / 11:40 a.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba


Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I listened closely to what the member said, and I think it goes without saying that every member of the House of Commons, of every political stripe, recognizes the gravity and importance of the issue.

With respect to domestic violence, I like to think we have seen significant investments, both from budgetary measures of investments into shelters and transitional homes and through government and private member legislation. I would remind the member about Bill C-233, introduced by the member for Dorval—Lachine—LaSalle, which recognizes the importance of electronic monitoring and which looks at specific cases dealing with domestic violence.

These types of issues are very touching. Just a week or so ago a great tragedy took place in Manitoba, where a man killed his entire family: his wife and three children. Our hearts and prayers go out to the family, friends and members of the community.

Recently, the Prime Minister made an announcement on health care with the premier. The premier, as the Prime Minister has done, emphasized the importance of getting to some of the root causes. Let us find out what is taking place and what we can do. I think that as legislators, whether at the provincial or national level, we all have a role to play, as the member pointed out. In the past we have seen a great deal of co-operation among members that crosses party lines. In particular I would cite the private member's bill of the former Conservative leader Rona Ambrose that was an attempt to provide education through our judicial system. The support for the legislation crossed party lines, and the bill passed virtually unanimously. There was a bit of a hiccup because of a Senate issue, so the government ultimately had to bring it forward in order for it to pass.

I say that because, at the very beginning of her comments, the member pointed out that Bill S-205 received quite a few amendments. She is right. Although I was not at the committee, but I believe she was, that shows me that there was likely a great deal of dialogue with respect to the different amendments, and I suspect a number of them passed. I have had the opportunity to look at a couple of them, and I believe that the legislation was enhanced by the passing of some of the amendments. When we look at the work the committee has done and how we continue to advance the issue, we see that there is a great deal of merit in voting for the legislation.

The member spent a lot of her time talking about electronic monitoring. I first looked into electronic monitoring in, I guess, the nineties. I argued then, when I was the justice critic in the province of Manitoba, how that technology could enable us to improve the quality of our judicial system. I believe that today it is a very effective tool that could in fact make a difference in a very real and tangible way. However, I think we have to be careful about electronic monitoring or ankle bracelets. Often they are of great value, but they are not necessarily the answer in all situations. They do not necessarily prevent a crime from happening, but I acknowledge that they can be an effective tool, if not directly then indirectly, in preventing crimes from happening.

That is one of the reasons why, when it came time for us to talk about Bill C-233, there was support for the legislation from all political parties. I believe that legislators at that time recognized the true value of bringing in that sort of technology and encouraging our courts and the judicial system to better utilize, in certain situations, ankle bracelets. I saw that as a very strong positive.

I am not too sure exactly why the member feels the legislation before us would be stronger than what Bill C-233 has actually done. Maybe members who follow her would be able to provide further explanation as to how Bill C-233 would be complemented by what the Conservatives are currently talking about.

When we look at the seriousness of the issue, it is important for us to highlight that victims of sexual assault are to be treated with dignity and respect throughout the entire process. It is one of the reasons we brought forward government legislation in the past to support victims. I can recall debates on the floor of the House about public disclosure and ensuring that we protect the identity of the victims. At the same time, what we found was that there was a bit of a catch in the sense that there were a number of victims who wanted to be able to share their stories in certain situations, and how the law made that complicated. The government brought in the legislation to enable victims to share their stories in certain situations.

There is an educational component that is very real. The member made reference to breaking the chain. At the end of the day, the federal government needs to demonstrate leadership through actions, and we have done that with legislative changes as well as budgetary measures. We also need provinces, and even school divisions, to look at how they could contribute to the debate.

I have always thought that in certain areas of public policy, there is great value in incorporating things into our educational system through our public curriculum. I think the potential of dealing with this specific issue is underestimated, whether through family, course-based curricula or looking at different ways that education could be elevated to a higher priority to deal with this very serious issue. It is important.

From a provincial perspective, we need to look at resources and to ensure that we have proper supports in place. Far too often, victims are put in a situation, out of fear, that may lead to a peace bond's not being issued, and legislation has enabled family members or others to be able to look at getting a peace bond issued.

These are types of issues that the Crown and others have to deal with on a daily basis. We can look at how advocacy groups could further enhance the safety of women in their homes. This is critically important. I look forward to the ongoing debate. Suffice it to say, all of us are concerned about intimate partner violence. We have to ensure that the victims of sexual assault are treated with respect and dignity.

Motions in amendmentCriminal CodePrivate Members' Business

February 26th, 2024 / 11:15 a.m.
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Michelle Ferreri Conservative Peterborough—Kawartha, ON


Motion No. 1

That Bill S-205, in Clause 1, be amended

(a) by replacing lines 4 to 17 on page 1 with the following:

“1 (1) Section 515 of the Act is amended by adding the following after subsection (3):

(3.1) Before making an order under subsection (2) in respect of an accused who is charged with an offence in the commission of which violence was used, threatened or attempted against the accused’s intimate partner, the justice must ask the prosecutor whether the intimate partner of the accused has been consulted about their safety and security needs.

(2) Subsection 515(4) of the Act is amended by adding the following after paragraph (e):

(e.1) wear an electronic monitoring device, if the Attorney General makes the request;

(2.1) Subsection 515(4.2) of the Act is amended by adding “or” at the end of paragraph (a.1) and by repealing paragraph (a.2).

(3) Paragraph 515(6)(b.1) of the Act is replaced by”; and

(b) by replacing line 1 on page 2 with the following:

“(4) The Act is amended by adding the following”

Motion No. 2

That Bill S-205, in Clause 2, be amended

(a) by replacing lines 9 to 12 on page 2 with the following:

“810.03 (1) A person who fears on reasonable grounds that their intimate partner will commit an offence that will cause personal injury to them, to their child or to a child of that intimate partner may lay an information”;

(b) by replacing lines 32 and 33 on page 2 with the following:

“(5) An order under either subsection (3) or (4) must be made in a timely manner.

(6) The provincial court judge may commit the defen-”;

(c) by replacing line 1 on page 3 with the following:

“(7) The provincial court judge may add any reasonable”;

(d) by replacing lines 4 and 5 on page 3 with the following:

“or to secure the safety and security of the informant, their child or a child of the defendant, including condi-”;

(e) by replacing line 20 on page 3 with the following:

“rectly, with the informant, a child of the informant or”;

(f) by replacing lines 1 to 5 on page 4 with the following:

“(8) The informant may provide submissions in writing on the conditions that the judge may add to the recognizance under subsection (7).

(9) The provincial court judge shall consider whether it is desirable, in the interests of the informant’s safety or”;

(g) by replacing lines 14 and 15 on page 4 with the following:

“(10) If the provincial court judge adds a condition described in subsection (9) to a recognizance, the judge”;

(h) by replacing lines 22 and 23 on page 4 with the following:

“(11) If the provincial court judge does not add a condition described in subsection (9) to a recognizance, the”;

(i) by replacing lines 26 and 27 on page 4 with the following:

“(12) A provincial court judge may, on application of the informant or the defendant, vary the conditions fixed in”;

(j) by replacing lines 29 to 31 on page 4 with the following:

“(13) When the defendant makes an application under subsection (12), the provincial court judge must, before varying any conditions, consult the informant about their”; and

(k) by replacing line 33 on page 4 with the following:

“(14) A warrant of committal to prison for failure or re-”





Motion No. 3

That Bill S-205, in Clause 2, be amended by replacing, in the English version, lines 15 and 16 on page 2 with the following:

“under subsection (1) may cause the informant and the person who is the subject of the information to appear”

Motion No. 4

That Bill S-205, in Clause 2, be amended

(a) by replacing line 23 on page 2 with the following:

“not more than two years.”;

(b) by replacing line 30 on page 2 with the following:

“into the recognizance for a period of not more than three”; and

(c) by replacing line 35 on page 2 with the following:

“dant to prison for a term not exceeding two years if the”

Motion No. 5

That Bill S-205, in Clause 2, be amended

(a) by replacing lines 24 and 25 on page 3 with the following:

“(f) to refrain from using social media;

(g) to abstain from the consumption of drugs — ex-”;

(b) by replacing line 28 on page 3 with the following:

“(h) to provide, for the purpose of analysis, a sample of”; and

c) by replacing line 38 on page 3 with the following:

“(i) to provide, for the purpose of analysis, a sample of”

Motion No. 6

That Bill S-205, in Clause 3, be amended

(a) by replacing line 10 on page 5 with the following:

“810.01(4.1)(f), 810.011(6)(e), 810.03(7)(h),”;

(b) by replacing line 15 on page 5 with the following:

“810.01(4.1)(g), 810.011(6)(f), 810.03(7)(i), 810.1(3.02)(i)”; and

(c) by replacing line 2 on page 6 with the following:

“810.01(4.1)(g), 810.011(6)(f), 810.03(7)(i), 810.1(3.02)(i) or”

Motion No. 7

That Bill S-205, in Clause 6, be amended by replacing lines 34 and 35 on page 7 with the following:

“directly, with the informant, the informant’s child or any relative or close friend of the informant,”

Motion No. 8

That Bill S-205, in Clause 6, be amended by replacing lines 39 and 40 on page 7 with the following:

“(e.3) refrains from using social media (section 801.03 of the Criminal Code);”

Motion No. 9

That Bill S-205, in Clause 7, be amended by replacing line 13 on page 8 with the following:

“810.01(4.1)(g), 810.03(7)(i), 810.011(6)(f), 810.1(3.02)(i) and”

Motion No. 10

That Bill S-205, in Clause 8, be amended by replacing lines 18 to 21 on page 8 with the following:

“fears on reasonable grounds that their intimate partner will commit an offence that will cause personal injury to them, to their child or to a child of that intimate partner, and a provincial”

Motion No. 11

That Bill S-205, in Clause 10.1, be amended by replacing, in subclause (2), the word “810.03(7)“ with the following:


Motion No. 12

That Bill S-205, in Clause 10.1, be amended by replacing, in subclause (2), the words “the intimate partner’s safety” with the following:

“the informant’s safety”

Mr. Speaker, people watching at home may think that these are just so many amendments. That is the essence of what I am going to talk about today.

I must also always thank the people from Peterborough—Kawartha, my riding. It is always an honour to stand here and speak on something so critical that affects Canadians and families across this country.

We are speaking today about domestic violence in particular. This is a bill, Bill S-205, that was put forward by Senator Boisvenu. I will be talking a lot about him in this speech today because it is a very personal story of what he did to put forward this bill. We had the chance to study this bill in my committee, the Standing Committee on the Status of Women, also known as FEWO.

Before we go into this and the amendments that we have put forward to this bill, I want to provide some stats for people watching at home, many of whom are living these stats.

Domestic violence in this country is an epidemic, and 94 Ontario municipalities have declared intimate partner violence an epidemic. In Ontario, 30 women were killed in a 30-week window between 2022 and 2023. Compared to 2014, intimate partner sexual assault was 163% higher. There has been an increase of 72% in domestic violence in this country.

I think, right now, people really have on their minds, especially my Albertan colleagues, a tragic story that happened just weeks ago in front of a elementary school. The headline reads, “Man who killed his estranged wife outside Calgary school was facing domestic violence charges”.

The man who killed his estranged wife outside of a Calgary elementary school was facing criminal charges for domestic violence and was charged with twice violating a no-contact order. This woman was murdered in front of an elementary school. Her three children no longer have either parent. This bill that we are talking about today, Bill S-205, could have prevented that tragedy. Let us break it down, and let us talk about why these amendments are critical and why I am asking every member in this House to support these amendments and to strengthen the bill that was originally created.

The senator who put forward this bill, Senator Boisvenu, is an incredible human. His daughter was murdered in 2002. She was 27 years old. She was randomly kidnapped and killed, because she was in the wrong place at the wrong time, by a repeat violent offender.

The senator said, “Changing the system takes a lot of energy. But I had no right to miss the mission that Julie had given me....

One day I will return to Julie, it will be her, my judge. And I'm sure she'll tell me that we've done great things together, the two of us.”

I think it is very important that members in the House, people at home and constituents recognize that the intention behind this bill comes from a very personal place of the lived experience of a man who lost his daughter to domestic violence. He did his due diligence. He spoke with stakeholders and did all the legal correspondence that was necessary to ensure this bill was done properly. When it went to the status of women committee, FEWO, it was watered down beyond belief. The whole purpose of the bill was removed by the amendments put forward by the Liberals and the NDP.

Today, we are asking them to reconsider what they are doing to this watered-down bill and to approve the amendments we have put forward, to leave the bill as it was and to put victims first. I want to give us some victim testimony from the committee that verifies what we are saying here today. This is from Ms. Diane Tremblay. She testified at FEWO on November 20, 2023, about Bill S-205 and said:

If my abuser had been required to wear an electronic bracelet under a recognizance order pursuant to section 810 of the Criminal Code, as proposed in Senator Boisvenu's bill, my children and I would have been safer and I wouldn't have had to go through these attempted murders. Believe me, you don't emerge unhurt from an attempted murder. You suffer the after-effects for life.

I am asking the House of Commons, the Prime Minister of Canada, the Minister of Justice, the judges, all the provinces of Canada and the members to pass and enforce this new bill. It should be adopted immediately, without any amendments.

This is victim testimony.

It's very urgent. To conclude, I'd like to add that we have a right to live peacefully and safely under the law in our country.

For those watching at home and looking at these amendments, I will say that the Liberals removed the clause asking for the electronic bracelet to be worn by the attacker. That is the whole weight of the bill, the whole point of it. During the period of time between when a victim is strong enough and courageous enough to even report it, which is another issue, they are in a very dangerous position to be attacked or killed by their attacker, as are their children.

I think it is also really important for people at home to recognize something if we really want to think of the big picture and help prevent domestic violence. How many of those attackers grew up in a home where they witnessed domestic violence as children? We have to break the cycle. The impacts on children witnessing domestic violence are profound.

I want to go on to another victim's testimony. It is by Martine Jeanson, president, founder and frontline worker of La Maison des Guerrières. She testified November 23, 2023, giving powerful testimony in the status of women committee. She said:

Over the past 20 years, I've worked with hundreds of women who needed help. There is no way to hide them. Men can track them down at their place of work or through their family. They can follow children to school or to their friends' homes. The man will never stop stalking them, following them, harassing them and harming them. Until an electronic bracelet is required, women and their children will never be protected. Electronic bracelets may not be perfect, but that's all we have for the time being. We have no protection. That's why we are asking you, on behalf of all women, to pass the bill [unamended].

This is victim testimony.

I will reiterate this over and over again: We were elected to the House to elevate the voices of the people outside the House; we were not elected to push our own agenda and our own ideology. We were elected to make life better and safer, and right now, this country is not safe. There are serial killers who are eligible for day parole, retraumatizing their victims. There are children and mothers, people from all socio-economic classes, who are afraid to go to school. The men, the attackers, will find them wherever they are; they are stalkers. They control them and their lives, and they ruin children's lives. They ruin the lives of all the people around them.

The bill before us should be the most simple bill. We have an opportunity in the House to fix it. In committee, one of the members on the Liberals' side said they are just trying to keep it in line with how the current justice system works. The current justice system is broken, full stop. All we have to do is listen to the stats and read the paper. A CTV reporter tweeted this past weekend that she had someone criminally charged for harassing her. She was told to contact the police the minute he contacted her again. He is supposed to be in jail, but he is out. That is the danger, and that is why the bill and the amendments were put forward.

The bill would amend the Criminal Code with respect to bail pending trial and with respect to peace bonds, to provide that a judge, and in some cases a peace officer, may impose, as a condition of release, an electronic bracelet on an accused who is released pending trial or on a defendant who has entered into a section 810 peace bond. Electronic monitoring creates a security perimeter between the two intimate partners. The victim can carry a transmitter with them at all times, allowing them to maintain the safety perimeter even if they are away from home, giving the power to the victim.

I am asking every member of the House to please vote in support of the amendments. Let us strengthen our justice system and protect victims from domestic violence.

Speaker's RulingCriminal CodePrivate Members' Business

February 26th, 2024 / 11:15 a.m.
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The Speaker Liberal Greg Fergus

There are 12 motions in amendment standing on the Notice Paper for the report stage of Bill S-205.

Motions Nos. 1 to 12 will be grouped for debate and voted upon according to the voting pattern available at the table.

I will now put Motions Nos. 1 to 12 to the House.

Criminal CodeCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

February 8th, 2024 / 10 a.m.
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Karen Vecchio Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the ninth report of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women, in relation to Bill S-205, an act to amend the Criminal Code and to make consequential amendments to another act (interim release and domestic violence recognizance orders). The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back to the House with amendments.

I would also like to say congratulations to Senator Boisvenu, who brought forward this bill and who has been a voice for so many victims across Canada. The 11 of us really appreciated working on such an important bill that had such personal intent.

February 1st, 2024 / 3:50 p.m.
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Michelle Ferreri Conservative Peterborough—Kawartha, ON


To go back to that other question, then, it's still at the judge's discretion whether or not this happens. Then we come back to judge training, etc., which is a whole other can of worms outside of this bill.

If I'm understanding correctly, with Keira's law, Bill C-233, the victim doesn't get to monitor the electronic bracelet; it's just the police officials and law enforcement. However, with this bill, Bill S-205, it was written into the bill. Is that correct?

It's not? Okay. I stand corrected.

February 1st, 2024 / 3:50 p.m.
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Acting Senior Counsel, Criminal Law Policy Section, Department of Justice

Chelsea Moore

Thanks for the question.

To clarify, Bill S-205 would not be taking it out. What the changes—

February 1st, 2024 / 3:50 p.m.
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Michelle Ferreri Conservative Peterborough—Kawartha, ON

I think one of the big concerns around this one, and why it was so contentious, was that this was the foundation of the bill for the senator, in that the victim would have access to see where their attacker was.

My question to you, again through the legal world, is whether that would happen.

The other thing I can't reconcile here is that if it's covered in Bill C-233, why wouldn't it just be put in Bill S-205? I don't understand why you wouldn't do that for consistency.

There are two questions there. Number one, would the victim still be able to monitor and have that choice to monitor if this is removed? Number two, if it's already in Bill C-233, wouldn't it be more consistent to keep it in Bill S-205?

I apologize that you guys went to legal school and I did not.

February 1st, 2024 / 3:50 p.m.
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Anna Roberts Conservative King—Vaughan, ON

The reason I bring this up is that in my past life, I was a branch manager. Someone was released on bail with a bracelet, and he was not allowed to come within a certain distance of any bank—not just the branch I was at, but any branch.

Guess what? It didn't work. From what I was told by the police—and this happened a long time ago—there was a method in which he could still be wearing it but not have it correspond. I don't know how that works; I'm not a criminal.

That's what scares me. It scares me that we're still not putting the victims first, and I'm wondering if this is going to....

We need to pass Bill S-205, yes, but I want to make sure that all the protections for the victims are in place so that what happened to the senator's daughter doesn't happen again. That's my worry.

February 1st, 2024 / 3:45 p.m.
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Marc Serré Liberal Nickel Belt, ON

Just on that point, my understanding is that with Bill C-233, the judge has the discretion to require the ankle bracelet, so that's already in place today.

My understanding of the G‑1 motion that we had that Anna and Michelle were debating is that the amendment was removed because it would be automatically imposed, regardless of a judge's judgment, and this would then, we heard, penalize indigenous and marginalized women because it was automatic. The judge had no....

The way S-205 was written, it was explicit that the ankle bracelet would go on automatically, so there wasn't that discretion for the judge to decide.

The victims will be protected. I'm not a lawyer, as Michelle said, but that aspect, I thought, was because Bill S-205 would have penalized marginalized and indigenous women. Now the judge has the obligation and discretion in Bill C-233 not to marginalize and penalize indigenous women, but to make sure that if the ankle bracelet is needed, it would be put in place. Does that explain it?