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Results: 1 - 28 of 28
View Ginette Petitpas Taylor Profile
Lib. (NB)
I call this meeting to order.
Good afternoon, everyone. It is 2:44 Atlantic Time.
Welcome to the third meeting of the Subcommittee on Private Members' Business. Pursuant to Standing Order 91.1(1), we are meeting to consider the items placed in the order of precedence of May 31, 2021, to determine whether they should be considered non-votable.
Since I believe we are all online, I don't have to read the instructions that would apply if anyone were in the room.
During this meeting, should you wish to get my attention, please signal me with your hand gesture or, at an appropriate time, call out my name.
Madame Normandin, before the meeting officially started, I asked all the members if there were any items they had any issues with, and I am going to ask the same question to you. Is there any item you would like to discuss?
Nathalie Levman
View Nathalie Levman Profile
Nathalie Levman
2021-06-01 12:28
Thank you for welcoming us all to your study of sex trafficking of indigenous peoples.
I speak with gratitude from the unceded territory of the Algonquin people.
The Department of Justice works closely with Public Safety Canada, which leads the national strategy to combat human trafficking, as you've just heard. In particular, Justice Canada is responsible for the criminal law framework governing human trafficking. That framework addresses human trafficking through a range of offences, including offences that specifically target human trafficking conduct.
While the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act includes an offence that addresses transnational human trafficking, the Criminal Code contains specific offences on human trafficking that address transnational cases as well as those that occur entirely within Canada. The main human trafficking Criminal Code offences prohibit recruiting, transporting or harbouring of adults or children to exploit them or to facilitate their exploitation by someone else. Exploitation occurs when a reasonable person who was in the victim's circumstances would believe their physical or psychological safety would be threatened if they failed to provide their labour or services, and this includes sexual services.
In determining whether exploitation occurred, courts may consider a broad range of factors, including whether the accused used or threatened to use coercion, deceived the victim, or abused a position of trust, power or authority.
Other trafficking offences prohibit receiving a material benefit from trafficking children or adults and withholding or destroying travel documents to commit or facilitate trafficking. This is regardless of whether those documents are authentic.
These are all serious offences, with maximum penalties of up to life imprisonment. More severe penalties are imposed when the victim is under the age of 18 years. Moreover, sentencing principles require courts to give primary consideration to the objectives of denunciation and deterrence when imposing a sentence for an offence that involves the abuse of a person who is vulnerable because of personal circumstances, including because the person is indigenous and female.
Other charges are often laid in trafficking cases, such as sexual assault, uttering threats, intimidation and extortion, because human trafficking is an offence that often involves the extraction of another person's labour or services over time. Traffickers may commit these other offences to maintain control over their victims while they extract labour or services from them.
Traffickers may also be charged with sex trade offences in sex trafficking cases, such as procuring others to provide sexual services and profiting from others' sexual services. Individuals who purchase sexual services from trafficking victims may be charged with the Criminal Code offence that prohibits purchasing sexual services, regardless of whether they knew that the person from whom they purchased sexual services was a trafficking victim.
Through Justice Canada's victims fund, the department provides $1 million annually in funding for projects and activities that focus on the needs of victims and survivors of human trafficking. Since 2012, the department has funded 47 human trafficking-related projects by community organizations and law enforcement agencies. These projects include improved services for victims of human trafficking, training for law enforcement officers and frontline service providers working directly with victims of human trafficking, and support for labour trafficking victims.
I'd be very happy to answer any questions you may have on the criminal justice system's response to human trafficking.
Thank you very much.
View Rhéal Fortin Profile
BQ (QC)
I want to ask you about something else.
There has been a lot of focus on measures the government could take to prevent abuse. For example, amendments could be made to the Criminal Code, but not necessarily to send the abuser to jail, since they are often a close friend or relative.
Do you have any suggestions? What should the government do to stop elder abuse but not necessarily send the abuser to jail? Of course, in some cases, that is necessary.
What would you recommend?
Stéphanie Bérard
View Stéphanie Bérard Profile
Stéphanie Bérard
2021-05-11 11:58
In the case of sexual or physical violence, criminal penalties are certainly appropriate. However, when the abuse is psychological, therapy is available to people who—
Stéphanie Bérard
View Stéphanie Bérard Profile
Stéphanie Bérard
2021-05-11 11:58
Precisely, the abuser could be ordered to receive counselling or rehabilitation therapy.
Daniel Brown
View Daniel Brown Profile
Daniel Brown
2021-04-29 12:12
Good afternoon, Madam Chair, vice-chairs and honourable members.
Criminal cases are more complex and consume greater court resources than ever before. We all know that lengthy court delays can violate an accused person's constitutionally protected right to a trial in a reasonable amount of time and lead to charges being stayed. Ongoing and repeated delays in the court system caused by the COVID-19 pandemic can also diminish the public's confidence in the criminal justice system, which is fundamental to its operation.
The answer isn't to give up and to ignore constitutionally protected rights, as advocated by Mr. McCarthy in the last panel. The Criminal Lawyers' Association believes that the answer to COVID-related backlogs in the court system is to enact policy changes that will ensure the system has both the time and resources to focus on the most serious cases and those that just simply can't be solved without a trial.
In our time here, we'll focus on three suggestions that will help remove cases that are clogging up the court system but shouldn't be. Number one is to remove barriers to resolving cases without a trial. Number two is to divert administration of justice offences out of the court system. Number three is to decriminalize drug possession offences.
The decision about whether or not an accused person should proceed to trial can be heavily influenced by the sentencing consequences of a particular crime. A person is far less likely to plead guilty if there are consequences that impact their immigration, their employment or will simply incarcerate them for a long period of time. These significant consequences act as barriers to solving cases without trials. One of these barriers is mandatory minimum sentences. I don't just mean mandatory minimum jail sentences, but mandatory minimum consequences that flow from certain criminal convictions.
Drinking and driving convictions, for example, require the sentencing judge to impose the mandatory criminal record in every single case, even for a first offender who's barely over the legal drinking limit. These otherwise resolvable cases are clogging up the courts. It's no coincidence that drinking and driving offences are one of the most litigated categories of cases and one of the offences that frequently breaches the delay ceiling set by the Supreme Court in the Jordan decision. Eliminating mandatory sentences would drastically reduce the number of cases that go to trial, which would, in turn, ensure timely justice for other cases in the system.
Another barrier to resolving cases is the five- to 10-year waiting period a person with a criminal conviction must endure to have their criminal record cleared through the record suspension process. The proposed changes in Bill C-22, introduced by this government, address some of these barriers, including the elimination of some mandatory minimum sentences, but fails to address other ones like the drinking and driving mandatory convictions. Bill C-22 also fails to address the barriers to obtaining record suspensions, including the prohibitive costs and lengthy wait times.
Another way we can reduce backlogs in the court system is to divert administration of justice offences from the system all together. These offences, including failing to appear in court and failing to comply with a court order, account for more than one in five cases right now in our justice system. Following Senate recommendations in 2017, the government changed the Criminal Code to include a process whereby the police or the prosecutors could now opt to not charge somebody and opt not to prosecute them for one of these offences. Instead, they can refer them to a judicial referral hearing where a judge would potentially tweak the bail release plan or decide to reincarcerate the person. This regime avoids piling on criminal charges, which come with their own requirements for disclosure, meeting with the prosecutor, guilty pleas, trials and sentencings.
Unfortunately, these diversion tools simply aren't being utilized by the crowns or the police who must initiate the referral hearing process. This new regime designed to reduce some 175,000 cases in our system is lying dormant. The solution here is simple: Remove those barriers that prevent either a judge from referring a case or place discretion completely in the hands of the police and the crowns.
A similar concern exists with the increased discretion afforded to prosecuting low-level drug offences. Bill C-22 goes some way toward decriminalizing these offences by encouraging prosecutors to divert some drug cases out of the system in favour of drug treatment programs. Placing discretion to divert these charges entirely in the hands of prosecutors and the police creates obvious problems. For example, will they use this discretion?
We're also concerned about whether this discretion will be applied equitably. We know that discrimination and bias run rampant through the justice system, adversely impacting indigenous and black defendants far more than any other race. If we accept that drug addiction is a public health issue, not a criminal law issue, we shouldn't be prosecuting these cases at all.
In conclusion, removing barriers to guilty plea resolutions and diverting drugs and access to justice offences from the justice system would free up precious court time and resources that could be redeployed to other cases in danger of being tossed for unreasonable delay following the COVID-19 pandemic, and ensure timely justice for victims and accused persons.
Thank you.
View Élisabeth Brière Profile
Lib. (QC)
In your introduction, you talked about structural changes. Do you have any concrete examples that could enlighten us?
Joshua Sealy-Harrington
View Joshua Sealy-Harrington Profile
Joshua Sealy-Harrington
2021-04-29 12:39
Madam Chair, absolutely.
There's decriminalization of drug possession, dropping mandatory minimum sentences, as Mr. Brown mentioned, and the impact that has on the resolution of disputes. I think more fundamentally, as I raised in my remarks, the government itself, in its budget, admits and describes the various ways in which the conditions of people in society—low-income people, racialized people—is foundational to cycles of criminality.
The government spends a lot of money on criminal punishment—on policing, on prosecutions, on incarceration. These are not cheap fixes, and money is fungible. I would stress that if the goal is decreasing crime and deceasing delays, meaningful and substantial, perhaps even unprecedented, investment, in communities—which I'm happy to hear some other witnesses echoing in their remarks—is an approach that would will engage with the root causes of crime.
There are certain labels that come up in the government budget: root causes, systemic racism. I would urge the committee to take those terms seriously and not refer to them performatively, but to think about the ways in which significant change as to how we approach public safety within Canada is urgently needed if we actually want to decrease delays.
I think the ideas you're proposing may work in certain ways to tweak the system, but I would encourage the committee to think more broadly in terms of how we approach public safety in Canada.
View Pam Damoff Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Chair.
It is an absolute pleasure to join this committee today.
Mr. Brown, you mentioned record suspensions, and I couldn't agree with you more. It's something I was really pleased to see in the budget in terms of dealing with those mean-spirited increases in the record suspension fee, which meant that people couldn't apply. It is in the budget. There are 700 pages there, so I am not surprised if you may have missed that, but it is something that we're committed to changing.
I want to thank all the witnesses today for your testimony. You've been talking a lot about indigenous peoples, Black Canadians and racialized Canadians who are disproportionately impacted by their being touched by the criminal justice system. It costs us $330 a day to put someone into prison, and that's not the place where most of them need to be.
Because you've brought up those issues, I want to focus on Bill C-22, because that bill does include reducing mandatory minimum sentences, drug diversion and conditional sentences. It's dealing with a number of issues that you've all touched on as being of concern.
There was a study that was done of 44 indigenous women—the fastest-growing prison population in Canada—who received conditional sentences prior to 2012. It was found that 36 of them would have been ineligible to receive a conditional sentence under the Harper government restrictions. I met two of them when I visited the Edmonton Institute for Women. They were women who should not have been in jail, and because they were in jail, it was going to impact the rest of their lives.
I'm just wondering if each of you could maybe talk a bit about how important it is to get Bill C-22 passed—and passed quickly.
Drew Lafond
View Drew Lafond Profile
Drew Lafond
2021-04-29 13:02
Sure, I can chime in on this one.
On Bill C-22, again, we've had a lot to say to the minister's office on this point specifically. Our written correspondence outlines that while we're pleased to see some changes that reflect some of the calls to action—specifically, call to action 32—there's nothing of any substantive or systemic value in Bill C-22 or Bill C-23.
We've raised 16 points—10 immediate action points need to be addressed today. They need to be addressed immediately. They've been studied extensively and repeatedly and, again, set out in 21 commissions, reports and studies over the last 30 years. The problem we have with Bill C-22 and Bill C-23 is that the scope of their focus is too narrow and doesn't focus on any of the systemic items that we've identified need to take place immediately.
Just to name a few—I've named 10 already in my initial presentation—there are others that we've communicated: addressing over-policing and over-criminalization of indigenous peoples; implementing a multi-pronged indigenous de-escalation strategy; and ensuring appropriate systems are in place for carefully and systemically investigating reports of crime and violence against indigenous victims. These are systemic items that have been identified on numerous occasions, and what we lack right now is the implementation.
View Pam Damoff Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you, although mandatory minimum sentences, drug diversion and conditional sentences are also important.... I'm not arguing with you that there is a lot more that needs to be done, but I think that for a number of people who come in contact with the criminal justice system, those would make a difference.
I'm wondering if Mr. Brown and Mr. Sealy-Harrington want to add any comment.
Daniel Brown
View Daniel Brown Profile
Daniel Brown
2021-04-29 13:04
Madam Chair, I'm happy to address this.
I can say that we really do applaud the government for introducing these changes to conditional sentences. I think they're going to make a huge difference.
It takes $330 a day, in fact, on average, about $100,000 a year, to house an inmate in custody. That $100,000 a year could be used for education programs, for addressing at-risk youth or even for hiring a prosecutor to get through some of these other cases. There is absolutely no reason not to bring these types of things back and to allow more people to simply resolve their cases without having to go to trial, to avoid these mandatory harsh jail sentences.
Joshua Sealy-Harrington
View Joshua Sealy-Harrington Profile
Joshua Sealy-Harrington
2021-04-29 13:05
Madam Chair, I'll just say that I spoke with Senator Kim Pate about my concerns about Bill C-22. If you listen to that interview, you'll be able to hear a detailed discussion about my support of certain aspects of it, but also my significant concerns with it.
View Colin Carrie Profile
CPC (ON)
View Colin Carrie Profile
2021-04-12 12:02
Thank you.
Minister Lametti, could you please let Canadians know what the maximum sentence is for those convicted of the indictable offence of human trafficking, and what the maximum prison sentence would be for those convicted of a summary offence, just the numbers, please?
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
I'm sorry but I don't have those provisions in front of me. I will get back to you with those answers.
View Ginette Petitpas Taylor Profile
Lib. (NB)
Good afternoon, everyone.
I call this meeting to order. Welcome to the third meeting of the Subcommittee on Private Member's Business. Thank you for joining us today.
I'll say a special hello to Mr. Charlie Angus, a replacement today. We are pleased to have you with us.
Pursuant to Standing Order 91.1(1), we are meeting to consider the items placed in the order of precedence on February 22, 2021, to determine whether they should be considered non-votable.
Following the order adopted by the House of Commons on January 25, 2021, the subcommittee is sitting in a hybrid and webinar format, meaning that members can participate either in person or by video conference, and staff may follow the meeting on Zoom as non-active participants.
We don't have any members that are in the meeting room, so I won't go over the meeting room requirements. For members participating virtually, you may speak in the official language of your choice. At the bottom of your screen, you have the option of choosing floor, French or English audio.
We may now proceed to the consideration of the items recently placed on the order of precedence. We can either go through each item, or if there are any items that anyone wants to discuss, we can bring them forward. If there are no issues, perhaps we'll be able to proceed by way of unanimous consent.
I'm going to ask the committee members if there are any bills that are problematic, or anything that members want to discuss.
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Good morning, colleagues, and thank you to all the members from my departmental team who are here with me today.
I am pleased to help the committee as it studies the 2020-21 supplementary estimates (C) and the 2021-22 main estimates for the Department of Justice.
I am joining you today from the Department of Justice Canada, which sits on the traditional territory of the Algonquin people.
Despite the challenging times, Justice Canada has accomplished an enormous volume of work to help ensure a fair, transparent and accessible Canadian justice system.
We continue on our reconciliation journey with indigenous peoples, including introducing Bill C-15, legislation respecting the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Canada. This is fundamental to our broader efforts to tackle deep-rooted and systemic discrimination.
An important example of that is Bill C-22, which proposes changes that would reform sentencing practices and focus on diversion programs. It also proposes changes to treat substance use as a health issue, rather than a criminal one.
We also introduced Bill C-23, which provides greater flexibility on how courts hold criminal proceedings and issue orders. We must ensure that both victims and accused receive their fair and timely justice.
Ultimately, our goal is to ensure that our justice system remains fair, effective, accessible and equitable.
These priorities are echoed within the 2020-21 supplementary estimates (C), which include an additional $78.5 million this fiscal year, bringing the total budgetary authority for 2020-21 to $863.9 million.
Also, the 2021-22 main estimates include a budgetary authority of $794.5 million—an increase of $25.5 million from the previous fiscal year.
I would like to highlight a few key funding areas.
I mentioned Bill C-15 and our commitment to changing the relationship between the crown and indigenous peoples. To this end, the supplementary and main estimates include $2.6 million from the $2.8 million in funding announced in the 2020 fall economic statement. Coupled with funding provided to Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada to support indigenous partners, this funding will help us continue the engagement process as the legislation moves through Parliament.
The supplementary and main estimates also include an increase of $7.3 million per year to continue to respond to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls final report. This will extend family information liaison units and community-based services to provide direct support to families of victims.
We are also focused on supporting the courts. The supplementary estimates of both the court administration service and the registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada include funding to help courts serve Canadians and adapt to new realities.
The supplementary estimates also include $20.3 million to address immigration and refugee legal aid pressures, to help provinces maintain service delivery levels and prevent processing delays for asylum seekers.
We are also taking action to better respond to the needs of families, particularly children, during divorce or separation. The supplementary and main estimates include, respectively, $1 million and $6.7 million to implement new family support enforcement provisions and to increase access to family justice services in the official language of one's choice.
Budget 2019 announced funding of $21.6 million over five years, starting in 2020-21, to support these provisions. These funds will help the department transform the Canadian justice system to better serve all Canadians. Our government will continue to push ahead with measures to create a strong, equitable and effective justice system that protects Canadians, their communities and their rights.
Thank you for your time. I'm now happy to take questions.
View Rob Moore Profile
CPC (NB)
Thank you, Minister.
I know we all have a responsibility to move forward together, and I know you and I haven't seen 100% eye to eye on the issue of Bill C-7. The world wouldn't be a very interesting place if we all agreed 100% of the time.
However, on this, I really strongly feel the wishes of this House of Commons and even your testimony.... I respect you and your opinion—the opinion that would have been backed by the charter analysis conducted by the Department of Justice—that, in fact, the bill as presented and as studied in the Senate was, in your opinion, constitutional.
With this amendment to include those.... I know we all share Bell's Let's Talk; we all urge people who are struggling with mental illness to try to get the help they need, to talk to friends and to reach out. I'm looking at a list that was sent to me: the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association, the Canadian Institute for Inclusion and Citizenship, Communication Disabilities Access Canada, Inclusion Canada, the British Columbia Aboriginal Network on Disability Society, the Council of Canadians with Disabilities, and the list goes on. There are well over a hundred individual organizations that are asking members of Parliament to please, at this point, not include mental illness. As you said, Minister, we should have started this study a year ago under Bill C-14 on possible expansions to MAID, but this is putting the cart way before the horse.
I appreciate the response you gave—that Liberal members will be given a free vote—and I hope they support Canadians with disabilities on this.
Minister, I have only 30 seconds, so I just have a quick question on consecutive sentences. The Quebec Court of Appeal reduced the sentence of the man who murdered six people in the Quebec City mosque to 25 years without parole rather than 40, after striking down consecutive sentences. Do you intend to defend this law?
Thank you, Minister.
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
Thank you very much, Mr. Moore, for your question, but thank you also for the tone with which you're asking it because I very much appreciate the open-minded tone on both questions actually, particularly on the sensitivity surrounding MAID and mental illness. I thank you for that.
With respective to consecutive sentences, my counterpart in Quebec, the Attorney General of Quebec, has appealed that decision. We are still studying it, and we are in communication with that office, but there is no decision at the present time.
View Randall Garrison Profile
NDP (BC)
Thanks very much, Minister. I look forward to working with you on that. I take you at your word.
Now I'm going to talk about a bill that's going to come to us fairly soon, and that's Bill C-22. The exchange, perhaps, will be a little less cordial.
I know you are committed to tackling the opioid crisis and also to tackling racial injustice within the Canadian justice system. I'm very disappointed with Bill C-22. I know it's consistent with your mandate letter, but it really misses the opportunity to decriminalize the personal possession of small amounts of drugs. Instead, it keeps those who have addiction issues in the criminal justice system. Instead of diversions and instead of taking away mandatory minimums—which I support—you had the opportunity here to decriminalize personal possession. We've had broad calls from the health field, from municipal officials and even from the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, to consider more dramatic action to make sure addiction is a health issue, as you mentioned at the beginning.
Why is the bill such a timid one?
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
I wouldn't characterize it as timid. I think I'm the first minister of justice to propose taking away minimum mandatory penalties, ever. I wouldn't say that's timid.
I was attacking sentencing and the question of sentencing reform in this bill. It's within my mandate letter, but it's also the overall scope of the bill. I am open to those other conversations. I think they are necessary conversations. I'm aware of the chiefs of police call, the calls particularly from elected leaders in British Columbia at all levels, municipal and provincial. I have spoken to David Eby and others about it. I'm open to that discussion. I know my colleague Patty Hajdu is open to that discussion as well, particularly with respect to the health response to the opioid crisis.
While I'm open to that, that wasn't what I was trying to attack in this particular bill. However, I'd like to think this bill, in the criminal justice and sentencing sphere, is a step towards opening up that other discussion, which has a wider variety of issues that go well beyond the criminal law or the health response with the criminal law intact. I'm open to that discussion, but that wasn't what I was trying to accomplish here.
View Randall Garrison Profile
NDP (BC)
Given the narrow scope of the bill, it's going to be difficult to have that discussion. I will keep trying to have it during the debate on this bill, but the urgency of the opioid crisis and of tackling racial injustice in the system, I think, demands that we take broader action than what you've suggested in this bill.
How do you suggest we pursue these larger issues, if it's not through this bill?
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
My colleague Patty Hajdu has publicly expressed an openness to discussing with elected officials in British Columbia a geographical response under her powers under the Health Act, and the potential powers she might have with respect to decriminalization. That's an open discussion, and I know she has responded in writing to those overtures from British Columbia.
As a society we need to move forward with a larger discussion, in the same way we did with cannabis. It might not be legalization, but decriminalization of small amounts, looking at what has been done in other countries. There are many sorts of empirical data points and evidence points that we need to look at if we're going to undertake that discussion.
I would encourage you to push, and I would encourage others to think about that publicly so we can move Canadian society to think about this.
View Randeep Sarai Profile
Lib. (BC)
Many justices and people in the legal community have advocated for eliminating mandatory minimum sentences. You've tabled legislation to that effect. How does it empower judges to be more reflective of the victim as well as the accused's situation and address past systemic biases or aspects that particularly indigenous and Black Canadians face?
Maybe you can elaborate on that. Many people ask: What's the benefit of reducing mandatory minimum sentences, and how does it actually help a judge make that decision and give him or her more flexibility?
View David Lametti Profile
Lib. (QC)
MMPs have shown to be a colossal failure in terms of helping victims and helping the justice system be more efficient. They simply clog up the system. They cost us money. Over half the challenges in the criminal justice system are challenging MMPs, and they're often successful, so it ends up clogging the justice system such that real perpetrators who ought to be punished severely end up getting their charges dropped under Jordan rulings.
With respect to indigenous and other racialized accused, I'll give you an example. We have Gladue reports, and we're going to invest more in those reports across Canada in the fall economic statement. This is precisely so that a sentencing judge can take into account intergenerational trauma caused, say, by residential schools. With a project we're going to have in major urban centres—IRCAs—the same will be true for Black communities. Having these sentencing reports will allow a judge to look at the context of the person who is in front of them.
If you have a mandatory minimum penalty and you don't have an option of a conditional sentencing order, and you have to put somebody away for a minimum period of time, you have reduced the ability greatly—sometimes eliminated the ability altogether—of the judge to take into account the particular circumstances of the person in front of them and to tailor the best sentence that fits the crime, allows society to be made safer, allows the person to be made whole and allows the victim to be made whole. Eliminating as many mandatory minimum penalties as we can and bringing back conditional sentencing orders are critically important to making the justice system work the way it's supposed to work in terms of protecting society and trying to make victims whole, and moving forward in a progressive way.
Nathalie Drouin
View Nathalie Drouin Profile
Nathalie Drouin
2021-03-11 12:30
If you'll allow me, Madam Chair, I'd like to give quite a comprehensive answer to that very important question.
As you know, the fundamental reason that we are interested in disaggregated data is really to better address the issue of racism in the justice system, and also access to justice. There is maybe one thing: In the fall economic statement, we announced support for the creation of a community justice centre. This is a very important announcement, as it can help to address root causes when it comes to crime, and also support breaking the cycle of offences and offenders. It's a budget of $20.6 million over five years.
We also announced the support of the application and enforcement of the Gladue report for indigenous people. This will also allow a better sentencing approach for indigenous people.
Of course, having data to make sure we bring adequate and appropriate policies is very important. In this budget, you don't have specific funding for the Department of Justice Canada. What we are doing right now is working with other departments to build that frame to be able to collect disaggregated data.
This is the stage we are at right now.
Stéphanie Bouchard
View Stéphanie Bouchard Profile
Stéphanie Bouchard
2021-02-02 11:17
Bonjour, I'm going to give my remarks that my colleague, Nathalie Levman, was supposed to provide. They're still trying to connect her to the committee. We apologize for the inconvenience.
I am the director of the policy centre for victim issues within the criminal law section at Justice.
Thank you for welcoming us to your study of controlling or coercive conduct within intimate relationships.
Coercive control in the context of intimate partner violence refers to a pattern of controlling behaviour that takes place over time and serves to entrap victims, eliminating their sense of freedom in the relationship.
A broad range of controlling conduct may be employed but the focus is on how a pattern of such conduct serves to subjugate, not the individual incidents wherein abusers exercise control.
Specifically, coercive control is concerned with the cumulative impact of the abusive conduct on the victim.
Legal systems have been struggling with responding to intimate partner violence, and other forms of family violence, for decades.
Criminal law has traditionally responded to incidents of violence and other forms of abuse, not patterns of behaviour. A broad range of offences apply in the intimate partner violence context, depending upon the conduct at issue, including assault, sexual assault, uttering threats, intimidation, forceable confinement, fraud, making harassing phone calls, trespassing at night and mischief.
The Criminal Code also requires sentencing courts to treat abuse of the spouse or a child in the commission of an offence as an aggravating factor for sentencing purposes.
Additionally, as of 2015, non-consensual distribution of intimate images is also a criminal offence. Abusive spouses may also engage in this type of conduct to exercise control.
Criminal Code amendments enacted through former Bill C-75 in 2019 strengthened the criminal law's response to intimate partner violence by imposing a reverse onus on bail for repeat offenders, clarifying that abusing a current or former spouse, common-law partners and dating partners in the commission of an offence is an aggravating factor for sentencing purposes, and allowing a higher maximum penalty in cases involving repeat intimate partner violence offences.
In recognition of the fact that abusive conduct may involve a series of behaviours that can literally have an impact on victims' sense of physical or psychological safety, Parliament enacted the criminal harassment offence in 1993. This offence is designed to respond to the impact of a series of interrelated incidents on victims, in particular in the context of family violence, so the offence applies more broadly. It criminalizes engaging in specified conduct that causes a person reasonably, in all the circumstances, to fear for their physical or psychological safety, or that of a person known to them.
The focus of this offence is on the cumulative impact the conduct has on the victim, not individual incidents of abuse.
Criminal harassment may be charged alongside incident-based offences depending on the facts of the case.
Criminal Code peace bonds are also available to protect victims, including victims of intimate partner violence. Peace bonds may be imposed prior to the commission of an offence where any person fears, on reasonable grounds, that another person will cause personal injury including to their spouse or child, or will damage their property.
A wide range of conditions may be imposed, including no-contact orders, the breach of which is a criminal offence with the maximum penalty of four years imprisonment.
Ten provinces and all three territories have in place family violence legislation that complements these criminal law measures.
For example, this legislation authorizes emergency intervention orders, which can grant the victim the right to remain in the home and use the family vehicle. Conditions may also be imposed to restrain the abuser from communicating with, or contacting, the victim or members of the victim's family.
In terms of victim support, the federal victim strategy seeks to give a more effective voice in the criminal justice system to victims and survivors of crime in Canada. A key component of this strategy is the program development and delivery through the Justice Canada victims fund. A range of supports are available through this fund to victims of intimate partner violence. In particular, since 2016, the Government of Canada has made funding available through the victims fund to the provinces and territories in support of pilot projects to provide independent legal advice to victims of sexual violence.
View Ginette Petitpas Taylor Profile
Lib. (NB)
I'll first of all call this meeting to order.
Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you all so much for being here today.
Before I commence, I would like to mention that Madame Normandin is going to be replacing Monsieur Therrien today. Christine, it's great to see you, a former PROC committee member, again. We also have Kirsty Duncan, who is going to be replacing Mark Gerretsen today, as he was feeling under the weather. Thank you both so much for being here today.
Welcome to the first meeting of the Subcommittee on Private Members' Business.
Pursuant to Standing Order 91.1(1), we are meeting to consider the items placed in the order of precedence on February 27, 2020, to determine whether they should be considered non-votable.
I would like to start the meeting by providing you with some information following the motion that was adopted in the House on Wednesday, September 23, 2020.
The subcommittee is sitting in a hybrid format, meaning that members can participate either in person or by video conference. All members, regardless of their method of participation, will be counted for the purpose of quorum. The subcommittee's power to sit is, however, limited by the priority use of House resources, which is determined by the whips. All questions must be decided by a recorded vote unless the committee disposes of them with unanimous consent or on division.
Today’s proceedings will be made available via the House of Commons website.
To ensure an orderly meeting, I would like to outline a few rules.
For those participating virtually, members may speak in the official language of their choice. Interpretation services are available for this meeting. You have the choice, at the bottom of your screen, of either “floor” or “English” or “French”.
Before speaking, click on the microphone icon to activate your own mike. When you are done speaking, please put your mike on mute to minimize any interference. As a reminder, all comments by members should be addressed through the chair.
Should members need to request the floor outside of their designated time for questions, they should activate their mike and state that they have a point of order. If a member wishes to intervene on a point of order that has been raised by another member, they should use the “raise hand” function. This will signal to the chair your interest in speaking and create a speakers list. In order to do so, you should click on “Participants” at the bottom of the screen. When the list pops up, you will see next to your name that you can click “raise hand”.
When speaking, please speak slowly and clearly. Unless there are exceptional circumstances, the use of headsets with a boom microphone is mandatory for everyone participating remotely.
Again, I want to thank our interpreters, who do such a tremendous job at all the committees on which we sit.
Should any technical challenges arise, please advise the chair. Please note that we may need to suspend for a few minutes in that case, as we need to ensure all members are able to participate fully.
For those participating in person, moi et Christine, proceed as you would normally in any in-person meeting. Keep in mind the Board of Internal Economy guidelines concerning the wearing of masks and all the health protocols. Should you wish to get my attention, please signal me with a hand gesture or, at an appropriate time, just call out my name. Should you wish to raise a point of order, wait for an appropriate time and indicate to me clearly that you wish to raise a point of order.
With regard to the speakers list, the committee clerk and I will do our best to maintain a consolidated order of speaking for all members, whether they are participating virtually or in person.
We are now ready to start consideration of the 30 items placed on the order of precedence. Generally, the analyst takes the floor to present the votability criteria. Then the analyst would usually give a succinct summary of the first item, after which members can ask questions. If there are no questions, the chair puts the question. The same process is followed for each item on the order of precedence.
Since 2016, at times the subcommittee has accepted all items at once by way of unanimous consent. This worked well when all items remained votable, but it could have created some confusion when members had a concern about some of the items.
I have to say that I was the chair back in early 2016, and this was probably the fastest committee meeting to ever go through, actually. It was pretty quick.
If there's debate or discussion, we certainly want to make sure that it is allowed, but if we can work through these fairly quickly, we'll be able to do so by way of UC as well. I am in the hands of the subcommittee as to how to proceed. If all members agree to adopt all items at once, we can do it this way. However, if members wish to debate some items, it may be better to take the time needed to discuss and make decisions on each item.
At this time, I want to ask how the committee prefers to move forward with the first 30 items.
Agricultural productsAnimal healthArms-length relationshipC-204, An Act to amend the Canadian Envi ...C-205, An Act to amend the Health of Ani ...C-206, An Act to amend the Greenhouse Ga ...C-208, An Act to amend the Income Tax Ac ...C-210, An Act to amend the Canada Revenu ...C-213, An Act to enact the Canada Pharma ...C-214, An Act to amend the Income Tax Ac ...C-215, An Act respecting Canada's fulfil ... ...Show all topics
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