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View Karen Vecchio Profile
CPC (ON)
I call the meeting to order.
Welcome to meeting number 20 of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women.
I know that many of you are online and some people are just getting online right now. We have a very important day and the time is tight.
Pursuant to the order of reference of Friday April 29, 2022, the committee will begin its clause-by-clause study of Bill C-233, an act to amend the Criminal Code and the Judges Act (violence against an intimate partner).
Today's meeting is taking place in a hybrid format, pursuant to the House order of November 25, 2021. Members are attending in person in the room and remotely, using the Zoom application.
I would like to make a few comments for the benefit of our witnesses and members. Please wait until I recognize you by name before speaking. For those participating by video conference, click on the microphone icon to activate your mike and please mute it when you are not speaking. For interpretation for those on Zoom, you have the choice at the bottom of the screen of the floor, English or French. For those in the room, you can use the earpiece and select the desired channel.
I would remind you that all comments should be addressed through the chair.
Before we begin, I would like to welcome the Department of Justice officials who are here and will be discussing Bill C-233 with us. We have Shannon Davis-Ermuth, senior counsel in the criminal law and policy section of the policy sector; Claire Farid, director and general counsel in the family and children's law team of the policy sector; and Melissa Moor, counsel in the judicial affairs section of public law and legislative services.
We will be proceeding, but for some reason, Philippe, you are not in my introduction. I am sitting beside the legislative clerk, Philippe, who will keep this all in order and assist me with this if we have questions.
Because these were all confidential, there are some amendments that we may have questions on. You may want to ask one of the legal professionals about these, so that we can have a better understanding. I don't believe there are many lawyers in the room. I think we're all advocates for women and women's health.
We are going to proceed with clause-by-clause. I am going to move now to the agenda for clause-by-clause.
Do we have all of our members? I see Michelle and Shelby are on there. Fantastic.
Is Marc Serré here today?
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View Pam Damoff Profile
Lib. (ON)
No. I'm replacing him.
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View Karen Vecchio Profile
CPC (ON)
I want to make sure we have everybody here today. This is fantastic.
Welcome to Mike Morrice as well.
We're going to be going clause-by-clause. I'm going to be honest. This is my first time doing clause-by-clause, so I'll be turning my head a lot to the legislative clerk to ensure that we're getting this piece of legislation right.
(On clause 1)
The Chair: I'm going to pass it over to Leah Gazan to introduce NDP-1.
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View Leah Gazan Profile
NDP (MB)
View Leah Gazan Profile
2022-05-13 13:03
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I move that section 515 of the act be amended by adding the following after subsection (4.2):
(4.21) If the Attorney General requests that an accused who is charged with an offence against their intimate partner wear an electronic monitoring device, the Attorney General must take all reasonable measures to ensure that
(a) a device is available that makes the monitoring possible, regardless of the geographic area in which the accused has been directed to remain; and
(b) if the accused were to approach any place where any victim, witness or other person identified in an order made under subsection (2) might reasonably be found, emergency services would be available to provide any necessary assistance to that person.
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View Karen Vecchio Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much.
We can now discuss that. If there's some background that you want to provide, Leah, on the reasoning for this amendment and what you think we should do, please provide it. Then we can open discussion of this and move forward.
Leah, would you like to provide any...?
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View Leah Gazan Profile
NDP (MB)
View Leah Gazan Profile
2022-05-13 13:04
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Sure. In the committee meetings on this bill, one of the criticisms that was raised was access to this specific resource, meaning the electronic monitoring device. There were issues with when a person would be able to have an electronic device and if there were the appropriate supports in place to ensure that the individual were safe.
Those are the purposes of the amendment.
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View Karen Vecchio Profile
CPC (ON)
I'm going to go through the speakers list. If you are online, put up your hand on the little thing.
Pam, I'll see you in the room.
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View Pam Damoff Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you.
I want to start by acknowledging our chair, who is beyond outstanding and has really done tremendous work on this bill. I mean that sincerely. This is only the second bill that has ever come to the status of women committee, so it's groundbreaking for all of us to be here and making a difference.
I agree with everything Leah talked about. We did hear about it during testimony. The problem we have with the amendment is that when you talk about ensuring that emergency services would be available, we can't direct emergency services as a federal government. It's the same for the piece that delves into provincial-territorial jurisdiction.
I hope those watching this meeting—and I know there are many—are paying really close attention to the intent of what this committee wants, which is to make sure that we're keeping women safe. It's only a tool. We've all acknowledged that there are issues in rural, remote, and indigenous communities with access to the Internet. It's the same with access to emergency services. I suspect that the Justice officials would agree, if we were to ask them, that this is outside the scope of what we're able to do federally.
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View Karen Vecchio Profile
CPC (ON)
Next, I have on my list Andréanne, followed by Dominique, and then we'll ask for justice department support and advice.
Andréanne, please go ahead.
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View Andréanne Larouche Profile
BQ (QC)
View Andréanne Larouche Profile
2022-05-13 13:06
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Madam Chair, I would like to follow up on what Ms. Damoff said.
I think that officials and witnesses have told us that the application of this device is a provincial and Quebec responsibility. Everyone agrees that it's within provincial jurisdiction. So I'm trying to see how this amendment could realistically be applied. The Department of Justice officials could confirm whether this is feasible. In addition, I would like to know how this could be imposed on the Attorney General.
In short, we want to attach conditions to both what the Attorney General should do and how it should be done. In both cases, I think it doesn't pass the test.
At the moment there is money available. The network is expanding everywhere. The money has been transferred, at least for Quebec, and the Quebec government is working on the issue of connectivity and Internet access.
Unfortunately, I don't see how this amendment could be applied.
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View Karen Vecchio Profile
CPC (ON)
Dominique, the floor is yours.
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View Dominique Vien Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
I do not see things quite the same way as my colleagues. Unless the legal experts say otherwise, I believe that the amendment is sound. It says: "… the Attorney General must take all reasonable measures to ensure that…” I see this as part of their recommendation. This must not be allowed to become unenforceable. The Attorney General will not recommend or request that an accused person wear a monitoring bracelet in a particular area if he or she knows that there is no Internet connection and that it will be impossible to use the device there. That is how I interpret it.
The Attorney General is not asked to ensure that all the necessary measures or arrangements are in place to enable the mechanism to function. I don't think that's what it's about.
Furthermore, as I have already mentioned, it seems to me that a judge cannot request that an accused person wear a monitoring bracelet. This request must come from the Attorney General.
Since the debate on this bill is coming to an end, I would like to be assured that this is the case. We have legal experts from the department here, and they have had a few days to think about this issue.
It is written in black and white that it is the Attorney General who must make the request. As far as I can see, it is not written anywhere that the judge can go ahead on their own without the Attorney General having requested it.
Thank you very much, Madam Chair.
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View Karen Vecchio Profile
CPC (ON)
Excellent. I'm going to now ask for some legal advice, and then we'll come back to Michelle and Shelby.
Go ahead, Ms. Davis-Ermuth.
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Shannon Davis-Ermuth
View Shannon Davis-Ermuth Profile
Shannon Davis-Ermuth
2022-05-13 13:09
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Thank you very much. I'd be happy to speak to that.
I'll start with the last point first, because that's a question that I've heard come up over the course of some of the testimony you've heard from witnesses, namely, this question about whether the judge can only impose the condition if the Attorney General requests it.
That's not the case. Even if this bill were not to pass, it's still possible for judges to impose this condition.
Under the Criminal Code and the bail provisions, before a justice releases somebody who's held in custody, there are three reasons for detention they have to consider. They wouldn't release somebody if they had a concern that any of these things would not be protected if they released them. Those three factors they have to consider are whether or not the accused person will attend court; whether they can also detain them for the protection or safety of the public, including victims; and whether they can maintain confidence in the administration of justice.
Subsection 515(4) of the Criminal Code lists the most commonly applied conditions of bail, and two particular paragraphs under those lists—and these apply to any case—are paragraph (g), where justices can impose any condition that they consider “necessary to ensure the safety and security of any victim of or witness to the offence”. Under paragraph (h), they may impose any condition that they consider desirable.
The Criminal Code does already permit justices to impose electronic monitoring as a condition of release for any offence. What this bill proposes is that, in certain cases, it would mandate that a judge had to consider whether or not they should impose a condition of electronic monitoring.
That's the difference the bill makes. If it were to pass, and electronic monitoring is specific.... Right now, electronic monitoring itself is not mentioned by name in the bail conditions. It could be imposed if the judge felt that it were appropriate under the considerations they have to take into account, but it's not explicitly listed. This bill would explicitly list electronic monitoring as a condition that a judge would have to consider. In the way the bill is currently worded, any time there was an alleged offence before the judge where somebody was alleged to have committed an offence against an intimate partner, the judge would have to consider imposing this condition.
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View Karen Vecchio Profile
CPC (ON)
Okay, thank you.
I'm going to pass it to Michelle and then Shelby.
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View Michelle Ferreri Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, Chair.
I think my questions might have been answered there, so thank you for that.
I was just curious if there's a double benefit to this, and maybe I missed this part as well when we explained how the electronic bracelet works, but I'm just wondering if there could be an extended benefit to this clause in pushing forward more access to Internet and services in more rural areas. It could bleed into that.
It's just a thought, because I see them as, in response to what Dominique said, reasonable measures. I think the way that it's worded by Ms. Gazan, it says that it's within reasonable measures, but I also see a positive coming out of this amendment in that it's saying we do need access to more Internet, if I'm understanding correctly how the electronic bracelet works.
What I'm talking about in particular in my experience here is that we as MPs have an emergency fob when we're out, and we can click it wherever we are, and it will engage the police, but it only works if there's cell service. Those are my thoughts.
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View Karen Vecchio Profile
CPC (ON)
Thanks very much.
I'll pass it over to Shelby.
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View Shelby Kramp-Neuman Profile
CPC (ON)
Just for clarification, I think on behalf of all of us, I agree 100% and can voice that none of us have malicious intentions. We all agree that we're here for the right reasons to look after women and children, but what we need to recognize is that, whenever we're going clause by clause, it's really important that we reflect the true testimony that was given.
We can't add, we can't take away, and we can't amend it to our liking. We have to make sure that it really echoes the voices that were heard in the testimony because, all too often, if committees add amendments and changes here and there, we really have to be cautious that they echo what exactly went on during testimony and not just our interpretation of it.
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View Karen Vecchio Profile
CPC (ON)
I'm just going to take the chair's prerogative and give it back to Leah, because I think one of the biggest things is that we do know that this is probably what we want across the entire country. The problem is that it is a cell service. If anything, there could be a resolution from us that we could take back to the House of Commons saying, get some cell service out there for all of these people who absolutely need it.
I don't know if it could be part of the Criminal Code. That's the only thing. I fully support where this goes, absolutely. I'm just concerned with—
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View Shelby Kramp-Neuman Profile
CPC (ON)
Sorry to interrupt, Karen.
I do agree and recognize with Leah Gazan that everything is in order, but just moving forward as we progress through the different amendments, as long as we have that in the back of our minds....
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View Karen Vecchio Profile
CPC (ON)
Okay. I'm going to go back to Leah, Pam and then Andréanne.
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View Leah Gazan Profile
NDP (MB)
View Leah Gazan Profile
2022-05-13 13:15
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Thank you, Chair.
I just so appreciate this committee. I really do love this committee. It's so weird, because you would think this wasn't politics.
Just going back to some of the feedback, this actually is directly related to the feedback about accessibility. I take Pam's points about the second one. It has to be within the confines of the law. I appreciate that, with the intent, however, to reflect the deep concerns that were raised by some of the witness testimony.
In proposed subsection (4.21)—and again I'm not a lawyer—it says, “all reasonable measures”. It says “a device is available that makes the monitoring possible, regardless of the geographic area in which the accused has been directed to remain”. So I think it's all reasonable, knowing that there are issues with cell service. But with regard to “all reasonable”, I could be wrong, but I think covers that disparity in access.
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View Karen Vecchio Profile
CPC (ON)
Pam.
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View Pam Damoff Profile
Lib. (ON)
Just on your point, I recall doing this with another bill that we studied. When we studied Bill C-71 at the public safety committee, we sent it back with a note for the things that were outside of federal jurisdiction. I think it would be completely reasonable to send this bill back with a resolution from the committee that recognizes this, because it's not just with electronic monitoring. We heard testimony about how women are at risk when there's a lack of cell service.
It doesn't mean there's a requirement on the government to act on it, but I think it recognizes the concerns that we all heard, while not trying to get into provincial jurisdiction with the legislation or trying to make requirements, because this is also talking about the Attorney General. The rest of the bill is about judges considering e-monitoring, so I think we could come up with something about how, while this is outside the scope of the bill, the committee recognizes that a lack of cell service can put women at risk.
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View Karen Vecchio Profile
CPC (ON)
We're having a really good discussion because I'm going back and forth on this one myself: Do we support it or do we not support it? This is great debate.
Andréanne and then Shelby.
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View Andréanne Larouche Profile
BQ (QC)
View Andréanne Larouche Profile
2022-05-13 13:18
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I would like some clarification from the officials. There is talk of electronic bracelets or of the imposition of conditions. Unless I am mistaken, this is already being done. The bill proposes to add the requirement "that the accused wear an electronic monitoring device, if the Attorney General makes the request." I want to make sure I understand that, because we are told that this is already being done.
I know that Ms. Gazan's intention is to try as much as possible to ensure that there is an Internet connection. When I read the proposed wording, however, I am afraid that it becomes a condition. In some cases, if it is known that the device will not work in a given area for lack of an Internet connection, will it still be recommended? I'm trying to figure out how that would apply.
As Ms. Damoff said, we are already working on the issue of the electronic bracelet. At least, that is the case in Quebec. I would like the officials to clarify this. It was clearly stated that implementation was the responsibility of Quebec and the provinces. Then, when we tried to find out what the federal government could do, we were told that enforcement was their responsibility. I am therefore trying to find out, once again, how this amendment could realistically be applied. I would especially like clarification on the conditions, because this is already being done. I want to make sure I understand.
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View Karen Vecchio Profile
CPC (ON)
Sorry, Shelby, I'm going to go back to the justice department officials.
I'm going to pass that back to you, Ms. Davis.
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Shannon Davis-Ermuth
View Shannon Davis-Ermuth Profile
Shannon Davis-Ermuth
2022-05-13 13:19
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Thank you very much for the question.
You're right that it's already possible to impose the wearing of an electronic bracelet as a condition. What the bill would do is require the judge to impose that condition in certain cases, such as when someone is accused of having committed a crime against their intimate partner.
When I answered the previous question, I hadn't specifically spoken to NDP-1 and what its effect would be.
It is true that it is not typical that a provincial Attorney General would be directed to do something in the Criminal Code. Looking at it from a legal perspective, it's possible that, as has been raised, this is not necessarily enforceable. It says that the Attorney General “must take all reasonable measures to ensure” something after the fact. That's after it would be imposed, basically.
As has been described, it's not necessarily a criterion that a justice must take into consideration, but already in the way that bail courts operate now, there are a number of provisions that require judges to consider the safety of witnesses. If a judge is imposing a condition for an electronic bracelet, it would be the normal course for them to look into the availability, the logistics, of it. Is it a jurisdiction where there's a funded program and where that province itself has a program to make it available?
Right now, in some of the provinces where they don't have programs, an electronic monitoring condition would probably be something that would be proposed by the accused person who has means to pay and doesn't want to be detained. They would say, “Look, you don't think I'm a good risk? I'll tell you what; I'll pay for this. Here are the details.” These are the types of details that judges would be considering and then, as has been mentioned, some of the other details in paragraph (b) are things that would fall under provincial jurisdiction in terms of ensuring safety and emergency services.
Another matter that the committee might want to consider, Madam Chair, is the way that paragraph (b) is written, “if the accused were to approach any place where any victim, witness or other person identified in an order made under subsection (2) might reasonably be found, emergency services would be available”.
Some possible concerns that arise sometimes in bail court are how you know where that victim might reasonably be found. Right now, the usual course with a condition like an electronic monitoring condition would be to prohibit an accused person from leaving a certain boundary, so they would make sure that there were sufficient services to cover the boundary that the accused person was supposed to be within, and the bracelet would provide an alert as to whether the accused person left that boundary, or they could probably program it to indicate if the accused attended at certain addresses.
One thing they need to consider when they're in a bail court is whether they want to identify the places where a victim might reasonably be found, because they might want to have places where they go that the accused person is not going to know about. Whether a condition like that would require a victim to share information that might better not be known to the accused is something they have to think about when they craft the conditions in a certain circumstance. Those are a couple of considerations for the committee with regard to that portion.
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View Karen Vecchio Profile
CPC (ON)
Excellent. Thank you so much, Shannon.
I always like to give Leah the last opportunity to speak since this is her response.
Are there any other questions? Are we all happy? I'm passing it to Leah for her final words on this.
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View Leah Gazan Profile
NDP (MB)
View Leah Gazan Profile
2022-05-13 13:24
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I actually have a question. We're talking about policing being a provincial jurisdiction, but that's not actually true on reserve or in certain areas where it's within the RCMP's jurisdiction. Does that fall outside of provincial jurisdiction, or would that be within provincial jurisdictions? For example, if the RCMP are policing on reserve, is that provincial or federal jurisdiction? I'm just wondering.
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View Karen Vecchio Profile
CPC (ON)
Let's discuss that.
Pam, you bring a lot to the table. Let's discuss it.
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View Pam Damoff Profile
Lib. (ON)
The justice officials can probably correct me, but they would still.... Any charges related.... I'm not a lawyer, but I'm pretty sure that if they were charges laid under the Criminal Code, that would be federal or provincial jurisdiction. They aren't separate.
Other than Akwesasne, which has its own courts to deal with offences—and I think those are mostly offences that are bylaw related, Leah—even if you're living on reserve, you're still coming under the criminal justice system of the Government of Canada or of the province where the reserve is located. Can the justice department officials confirm that?
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View Karen Vecchio Profile
CPC (ON)
I was going to say that. I think what Leah was asking...and I really appreciate what you came with, Pam.
Shannon, maybe you can comment on this. If we're looking at something that's happening on a reserve, where we know it's indigenous compared with where we have the OPP or the city police around, who has jurisdiction over that one section?
No, let's ask Leah. We're going to go to Leah, then Andréanne, and then we're going to come back to you, Shannon.
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View Leah Gazan Profile
NDP (MB)
View Leah Gazan Profile
2022-05-13 13:25
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Yes, particularly related to the policing piece—not the courts piece but the policing piece. Whose jurisdiction is that? Do you know what I mean?
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View Pam Damoff Profile
Lib. (ON)
It's still enforcing the laws from the Criminal Code and the bylaws that may have been passed. If we're talking about family violence and domestic violence, which is what was contemplated in this bill, they would be policing under the laws of the Government of Canada. The police would be responding based on Canada's laws when it relates to domestic violence and family violence.
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View Karen Vecchio Profile
CPC (ON)
But they would be provincially regulated, operating—
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View Pam Damoff Profile
Lib. (ON)
If it went to court, it would be going to a provincial or a federal court—
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View Leah Gazan Profile
NDP (MB)
View Leah Gazan Profile
2022-05-13 13:26
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Right—that piece I understand. It's the policing piece that I don't.
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View Pam Damoff Profile
Lib. (ON)
Yes, and it depends on the reserve who is responding. Even if it were the RCMP responding or if it were the NAN police service or Akwesasne police service—
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View Leah Gazan Profile
NDP (MB)
View Leah Gazan Profile
2022-05-13 13:27
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That's tribal police.
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View Pam Damoff Profile
Lib. (ON)
It is, but they're enforcing Canada's laws, though, Leah, when it comes to violence.
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View Karen Vecchio Profile
CPC (ON)
I'm going to take it to Shannon and then we're going to come back to Andréanne.
Shannon, on this policing thing, I know that it's not directly under Justice Canada, but perhaps you can give us a little insight from what you know. Then we're going to Andréanne.
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Shannon Davis-Ermuth
View Shannon Davis-Ermuth Profile
Shannon Davis-Ermuth
2022-05-13 13:27
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Thank you very much.
My knowledge in this area is not complete. It's a very complex area.
One thing to begin with in terms of when we were talking about the not reserve area and whether RCMP...we know there are jurisdictions where the RCMP is providing policing services in provinces. There are provinces where the RCMP is under a contract with the province to provide services. Those policing services.... It's quite complex. Although the RCMP employees themselves have a federal employer, through providing contract policing services in those jurisdictions, they would also be bound by...they would be providing a provincial service.
In terms of reserves, there are different arrangements. It's not the same everywhere. In terms of how we're thinking about this for the purpose of the bill, as has been said, it's a federal law. Everything in the Criminal Code is a federal law that applies across the country. Where we're talking about the relevancy of provincial jurisdiction here in terms of what the motion is proposing, under the Constitution of Canada, as I'm sure you all know, there's a division of powers for different responsibilities. The criminal law is a federal responsibility, but the administration of criminal justice is a provincial responsibility, with provincial prosecutors, and the administration of justice for the criminal courts is within provincial jurisdiction.
The administration of the devices themselves falls under provincial jurisdiction—making them available, if that's something they choose to do, as well as monitoring their use and enforcement—as is the provision of emergency services, so that things that are being proposed to be written into the bill itself generally fall within provincial responsibility.
It's confusing with the Criminal Code, because there is overlap. That's why we call it a “shared responsibility”. It's not unusual that the Criminal Code would direct a police officer.... What's in the Criminal Code essentially might define police officers' powers in certain instances, but it's not typical that the Criminal Code would speak to the operational details of how their operations should be run.
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View Karen Vecchio Profile
CPC (ON)
Andréanne, you had your hand up.
Then, Leah, I will always give you the last word.
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View Andréanne Larouche Profile
BQ (QC)
View Andréanne Larouche Profile
2022-05-13 13:30
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Okay, thank you.
We understand that, when it comes to implementing these provisions, there is no real connection with the Criminal Code.
Can we send the bill back and specify that certain aspects do not concern the federal government, but rather Quebec and the provinces? If so, what is the process?
I'm trying to see the feasibility of this, especially in this area. There's a real grey area between what we can recommend in the Criminal Code, what a judge can ask for, and the enforcement afterwards.
When we talk about coverage problems in certain regions, it really has to do with the implementation of the bracelet, and this very technical aspect is really a matter for Quebec and the provinces.
With regard to this aspect, then, can we send the bill back? If so, what is the process?
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View Karen Vecchio Profile
CPC (ON)
There was a discussion of the option of bringing forward a resolution. When we're discussing bringing that forward, we could bring forward all the other problems that we found in this bill that we have not addressed. That's another option.
Leah, you get the last word.
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View Leah Gazan Profile
NDP (MB)
View Leah Gazan Profile
2022-05-13 13:31
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I'd like to thank everybody for their feedback relating to the proposed amendment. I'm certainly not attached to it.
I'll go back to what Pam recommended at the beginning, in terms of not necessarily excluding it as an opportunity to discuss some of the gaps, particularly around cell service and accessibility. It's to ensure that the testimony that was provided is very well reflected in the bill or, even if it doesn't make it into the bill, that the discussions around the bill are reflected.
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View Karen Vecchio Profile
CPC (ON)
As the committee chair, I will make a note to ask the clerk to ensure that we do have these outside recommendations. When I report this back, we can point out that we recognized many outstanding factors that we need to bring forward. Then we can even put forward a clear resolution from our committee in time, for sure.
I would like to know is if this clause shall carry. This will be a recorded vote. Is that correct?
We're going to start with the question on the amendment from Leah Gazan.
(Amendment negatived: nays 10; yeas 0 [See Minutes of Proceedings])
The Chair: At least we can laugh when we are doing such a serious bill. We can at least still find hope.
I'm going now to amendment LIB-1.
Ms. Sidhu, I'm passing you the floor.
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View Sonia Sidhu Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Sonia Sidhu Profile
2022-05-13 13:34
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Thank you, Madam Chair.
I won't read my amendment because I think everyone has it in front of them.
The rationale behind this, Madam Chair, is that I know that we will all agree that the bill's changes to bail practices are an important objective. At the same time, we need to ensure that the measures do not result in unintended negative consequences. Based on some of the testimony we heard, I'm concerned that [Technical difficulty—Editor] further than necessary and will result in the routine imposition of electronic monitoring as a condition of bail.
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View Karen Vecchio Profile
CPC (ON)
Is there discussion on this amendment?
Andréanne.
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View Andréanne Larouche Profile
BQ (QC)
View Andréanne Larouche Profile
2022-05-13 13:35
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I just want to say that it's very logical and consistent with what the witnesses have said.
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View Karen Vecchio Profile
CPC (ON)
Is there any further discussion?
Dominique.
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View Dominique Vien Profile
CPC (QC)
Thank you, Madam Chair.
I understand the amendment and I completely agree with the idea. However, there is one question I have when I compare the text of the bill I have before me with the text proposed in the amendment. The latter would specify that it is an offence "in the commission of which violence against a person was used, threatened or attempted". Wouldn't circumscribing the offence in this way have the effect of excluding other situations that might otherwise be included?
I may be wrong, but it seems to me that the bill as currently drafted does not impose any restrictions. I'm not saying that it will if these words related to violence are added, but it qualifies the offence, as if a condition were added.
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View Karen Vecchio Profile
CPC (ON)
Sonia's hand is up, but I'd like to pass this over to Shannon.
Shannon, what would the impact of this be on this bill and the Criminal Code?
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Shannon Davis-Ermuth
View Shannon Davis-Ermuth Profile
Shannon Davis-Ermuth
2022-05-13 13:36
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As I had mentioned, the focus of these amendments in relation to the bill's provisions is to define the situations in which the judge is obligated to consider imposing this question, so the effect of making this amendment would actually be to.... There is a list of offences in paragraph subsection 515(4.3) of the Criminal Code. It lists certain offences, or offence groups, for which the judge has to consider imposing the conditions that are listed in subsection (4.2).
Those are offences, like a terrorism offence, criminal harassment and intimidation. It does currently list “an offence in the commission of which violence against a person was used, threatened, or attempted”. There are also offences in relation to the Security of Information Act.
By making this amendment and slightly narrowing the situations in which a judge would have to consider imposing this condition, it brings it more into alignment with the other types of offences that are currently listed in the Criminal Code, which trigger the imposition of these specific conditions.
It also lines it up with the considerations that a justice must make, which I mentioned before. There were three of them, and one of them was related to safety, so it links it to that safety aspect.
It's true that there are other situations where there might have been an offence against an intimate partner that could indicate there was a concern about violence, but, as I mentioned before, the judge could still impose it in those situations, so it doesn't take away the ability to impose it in those situations. It just helps narrow the focus for the way this section of the Criminal Code tends to be used.
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View Karen Vecchio Profile
CPC (ON)
I really do appreciate this feedback.
What you're describing is what you're going to see in here. As you said, it's narrowing it, but it's also getting it very focused on what we need to do, which is to talk about the violence—sexual, physical, and abusive—we're seeing in intimate partner violence. It's just narrowing down on IPV.
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Shannon Davis-Ermuth
View Shannon Davis-Ermuth Profile
Shannon Davis-Ermuth
2022-05-13 13:39
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Also, note that the wording that's proposed in the amendment is “violence against a person was used, threatened or attempted”, so in the Criminal Code that would include other things, like uttering threats, criminal harassment, and those other types of things. Violence isn't just physical violence.
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View Karen Vecchio Profile
CPC (ON)
Absolutely.
Andréanne, did you have your hand up?
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View Andréanne Larouche Profile
BQ (QC)
View Andréanne Larouche Profile
2022-05-13 13:39
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No, Madam Chair.
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View Karen Vecchio Profile
CPC (ON)
I'd like to go back to Sonia as the person who brought it forward.
Do you have any last comments?
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