Vol. 150, No. 24 — November 30, 2016
SI/2016-62 November 30, 2016
TOUGHER PENALTIES FOR CHILD PREDATORS ACT
Order Fixing December 1, 2016, as the Day on which Sections 21 to 28 of the Act Come into Force
P.C. 2016-989 November 18, 2016
His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, pursuant to section 34 of the Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act, chapter 23 of the Statutes of Canada, 2015, fixes December 1, 2016 as the day on which sections 21 to 28 of that Act come into force.
(This note is not part of the Order.)
Pursuant to section 34 of the Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act, this Order in Council fixes December 1, 2016, as the day on which sections 21 to 28 of the Act come into force. These provisions amend the Sex Offender Information Registration Act.
The objective of this Order in Council is to bring into force sections of the Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act (the Act) which received royal assent on June 18, 2015, and amended the Sex Offender Information Registration Act. These amendments create new reporting requirements for registered sex offenders and grant authority for information-sharing between the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)/National Sex Offender Registry and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) regarding registered sex offenders. The objective of these amendments is to curtail child sex tourism by enhancing law enforcement’s ability to obtain more complete information on international travel plans from registered sex offenders, particularly regarding travel abroad by child sex offenders.
Overview of the Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act
The Act was originally introduced to better protect children against sexual exploitation and hold child sex offenders accountable.
The Act contains provisions that were developed, and led by the Department of Justice Canada, including amendments to the Criminal Code that strengthened penalties for child sex offences, and amendments to the Canada Evidence Act to ensure that spousal testimony is available in child pornography cases; these provisions were brought into force on July 17, 2015. The Act also contained Public Safety Canada-led provisions including amendments to the Sex Offender Information Registration Act and the enactment of the High Risk Child Sex Offender Database Act. This Order in Council brings into force only the amendments to the Sex Offender Information Registration Act. The coming into force of the High Risk Child Sex Offender Database Act is pending, subject to further review.
Overview of the Sex Offender Information Registration Act
The Sex Offender Information Registration Act came into force in 2004 and authorized the RCMP to create and administer a federal registry of convicted sex offenders across Canada. This registry, known as the National Sex Offender Registry, is accessible to police forces across the country for preventive or investigative purposes. The provinces and territories share responsibility for the operation of the registry in their respective jurisdictions.
The amendments to the Sex Offender Information Registration Act enacted by the Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act, and which are being brought into force through this Order in Council, include the following:
- Registered sex offenders will be required to report every address or location at which they expect to stay for a trip outside Canada, if they are not at their main residence or any of their secondary residences for a period of seven or more consecutive days.
- Registered sex offenders with a child sex offence conviction will be required to report absences of any duration for trips outside Canada.
- Registered sex offenders will be required to provide actual dates that have been planned for trips outside of Canada and within Canada.
- Registered sex offenders will be required to report any passport and driver’s licence numbers for the National Sex Offender Registry.
- National Sex Offender Registry officials will be authorized to disclose information on registered sex offenders to CBSA (name, date of birth, gender, passport number and driver’s licence number) in cases of child sex offenders who meet a high-risk threshold, or on a case-by-case basis where disclosure is necessary for prevention or investigation of a crime of a sexual nature or if related to an offence for non-compliance of the Sex Offender Information Registration Act.
- CBSA will be authorized to collect travel information from registered sex offenders at a port of entry, if they have been flagged by National Sex Offender Registry officials (date of exit from Canada, date of entry and every address or location at which they stayed outside Canada), and will be authorized to share the collected information with National Sex Offender Registry officials.
The provinces and territories share responsibility for the operation of the National Sex Offender Registry in their respective jurisdictions. This includes bearing the costs associated with registration of convicted sex offenders and law enforcement’s role in monitoring the compliance of registered sex offenders with their reporting obligations.
All federal costs associated with the provisions being brought into force by this Order in Council will be accommodated within existing budgets. The amendments to the Sex Offender Information Registration Act pertain to information sharing between the RCMP and CBSA and have minimal impact on the provincial/territorial systems.
The RCMP and CBSA were consulted during the development of the legislation in 2013, and are supportive of the coming into force of the provisions. Additional discussions took place following the introduction of the legislation in 2014, with the provinces and territories, and with stakeholder groups by way of parliamentary committees and the High Risk Offender Working Group regarding the proposed amendments to the Sex Offender Information Registration Act.
For more information, please contact
Angela Arnet Connidis
Crime Prevention, Corrections and Criminal Justice Directorate
Public Safety Canada