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41st Parliament, 1st Session

Legislative Summary of Bill C-10: An Act to enact the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act and to amend the State Immunity Act, the Criminal Code, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, the Youth Criminal Justice Act, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and other Acts *



Laura Barnett, Tanya Dupuis, Cynthia Kirkby, Robin MacKay and Julia Nicol, Legal and Legislative Affairs Division
Julie Béchard, Social Affairs Division
5 October 2011, Revised 17 February 2012

Publication Number 41-1-C10E PDF  PDF 1.2 MB, 158 pages



1 Introduction

On 20 September 2011, the Minister of Justice introduced Bill C-10, An Act to enact the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act and to amend the State Immunity Act, the Criminal Code, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, the Youth Criminal Justice Act, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and other Acts (short title: Safe Streets and Communities Act), in the House of Commons and it was given first reading. The bill groups together nine bills that had been dealt with separately during the 3rd Session of the 40th Parliament.

Part 1 of Bill C-10 creates a new Act, the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act, to introduce a specific cause of action for victims of terrorism, allowing them to sue for loss or damage as a result of actions punishable under the Criminal Code. This part also amends the State Immunity Act to lift state immunity where a state has supported terrorist activities (state immunity being the general rule that prevents other states from being sued in Canada’s domestic courts). However, only states included in a list to be established by the Governor in Council may have their immunity lifted and be sued.

Part 2 of Bill C-10 amends the Criminal Code to impose new mandatory minimum sentences for certain sexual offences committed against young people as well as to increase existing mandatory penalties. It creates the offences of making sexually explicit material available to a child and of agreeing or arranging to commit a sexual offence against a child. The bill also expands the list of specified conditions that may be added to prohibition and recognizance orders. These conditions would include prohibitions concerning contact with a person under the age of 16 and use of the Internet or other digital network; the list of enumerated offences that may give rise to such orders and prohibitions would also be expanded.

This part also amends the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) to provide for mandatory minimum sentences of imprisonment for certain drug crimes. Currently, there are no mandatory minimum penalties under the CDSA. The bill contains an exception that would allow courts not to impose a mandatory sentence if an offender successfully completes a Drug Treatment Court program or a treatment program which, as set out in section 720(2) of the Criminal Code, is approved by a province and is under the supervision of a court.

Finally, Part 2 amends the Criminal Code to restrict the availability of conditional sentences for certain offences. It would eliminate the reference in the conditional sentencing part of the Criminal Code to serious personal injury offences. It would also restrict the availability of conditional sentences for all offences for which the maximum term of imprisonment is 14 years or life and for specified offences, prosecuted by way of indictment, for which the maximum term of imprisonment is 10 years.

Part 3 amends the Corrections and Conditional Release Act to increase the accountability of federal offenders and tighten the rules governing conditional release, while promoting the interests and the role of victims in the correctional process.

This part and the schedule to the bill amend the Criminal Records Act to substitute the term “record suspension” for the term “pardon.” These amendments extend the ineligibility periods for applications for a record suspension to five years for all summary conviction offences and to 10 years for all indictable offences. They make individuals convicted of sexual offences against minors (with certain exceptions) and those who have been convicted of more than three indictable offences with sentences of two or more years’ imprisonment, ineligible for a record suspension.

Finally, Part 3 also amends the International Transfer of Offenders Act to ensure that the purpose of the Act specifically refers to public safety, to add new factors to be considered by the Minister of Public Safety in deciding whether to approve the transfer of a Canadian offender back to Canada, and to make the Minister’s consideration of all listed factors discretionary rather than mandatory.

Part 4 amends the Youth Criminal Justice Act in a number of ways, including to emphasize the importance of protecting society and to facilitate the detention of young persons who reoffend or who pose a threat to public safety.

Part 5 amends the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to attempt to preclude situations in which foreign nationals might be exploited or become victims of human trafficking in this country. These amendments give immigration officers discretion to refuse to authorize a foreign national to work in Canada if, in their opinion, the foreign national is at risk of being a victim of exploitation or abuse.

This legislative summary looks at these aspects of Bill C-10. While it follows the bill’s order of presentation, it is not divided according to the five-part structure of the bill. Rather, it contains nine parts (in addition to this introduction) that reflect the nine related bills introduced during the 3rd session of the 40th Parliament.


Notes

*  Notice: For clarity of exposition, the legislative proposals set out in the bill described in this Legislative Summary are stated as if they had already been adopted or were in force. It is important to note, however, that bills may be amended during their consideration by the House of Commons and Senate, and have no force or effect unless and until they are passed by both houses of Parliament, receive Royal Assent, and come into force. [ Return to text ]

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