Thank you so much, and thank you to the committee for inviting us.
The intent behind the bill is laudable, and we support the general approach considering the social context surrounding sexual assault in judicial training and education.
We have a couple of concerns that we would like the committee to take into consideration. Our first concern relates to the idea of, or the appearance of, judicial interference that is created by the legislation. We query whether undertaking to complete certain seminar training will be seen as interference with judicial independence by the legislative and executive branches of government.
Secondly, the amendments do not contain any enforcement mechanism. If an individual undertakes to go to the seminar, and then fails to actually go through once appointed, there doesn't appear to be a mechanism to enforce that piece.
In that context, we query whether the appearance of judicial interference is worth it, especially when you consider that the Canadian Judicial Council currently provides training to judges on these types of issues. Perhaps the concern is the coordination with that entity to educate judges on these issues.
That is the first point I would like to make. The second point relates to the notion of social context. The proposed amendments do not define social context. Traditionally, the law has had differential impacts on the bodies of black and indigenous people in Canada. We would like to see a more specific definition of social context that takes into account stereotypes about black people and black bodies that lead to the differential impact of the law on them, whether as victims or as accused in sexual assault cases.
CABL urges the committee to include such express language in the preamble, as well as in the body of the text that takes into account the lived experiences of black and indigenous people, both as accused and as victims of sexual assault.
Thank you very much.