Legal Framework

A number of statutes pertaining to criminal and penal law and civil law apply in the area of sexual assault.

 
 

Following the abolition of the offences of rape, attempted rape and indecent assault in 1983, sexual assault was included as an “offence against the person and reputation” in the provisions of the Canadian Criminal Code that penalize assault.

Canadian Criminal Code

The Canadian Criminal Code, which is under federal jurisdiction, penalizes various sexual offences committed against adults or children.1

Major amendments concerning sexual offences were made to the Criminal Code in 1983 and 1988. A number of other amendments have been made on an ad hoc basis since that time.

Sexual assault offences

Three levels of sexual assault have been defined depending on the seriousness of the offence: common sexual assault (s. 271), sexual assault with a weapon (s. 272) and aggravated sexual assault (s. 273).1,2

Common sexual assault (level 1): Any physical contact of a sexual nature without the person’s consent, from touching to complete sexual intercourse.

Sexual assault with a weapon, threats to a third party or causing bodily harm (level 2): Sexual assault in which the perpetrator carries, uses or threatens to use a weapon or an imitation thereof, threatens to cause bodily harm to a person other than the victim or causes bodily harm to the victim, or in which several people commit sexual assault against a person.

Aggravated sexual assault (level 3): Sexual assault in which the victim is wounded, maimed or disfigured, or his or her life is endangered by the perpetrator.

Sexual assault provisions of the Criminal Code

  • Other provisions of Canada’s Criminal Code are intended to prevent sexual exploitation by prohibiting sexual interference or touching with children under 16 years of age (ss. 151 and 152), sexual exploitation of young people aged 16 or 17 by persons in a position of trust or authority (s. 153) and sexual exploitation of people with a mental or physical disability (s. 153.1).
  • A preventive provision of Canada’s Criminal Code (s. 161) makes it possible to obtain an order to prevent a person convicted of a sexual offence from being in the presence of children under 16 years of age or from having any contact with them if there is a concern that the person might commit sexual offences against one or more children. In addition, a judge may impose limits on the person’s use of the Internet.
  • Two other provisions of Canada’s Criminal Code are also of a preventive nature, i.e. sections 810.1 and 810.2, which stipulate that a person may be required to enter into a recognizance if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the person might sexually assault a child under the age of 16 or commit a serious personal injury offence.
  • Several provisions of Canada’s Criminal Code pertain to the concept of consent (subss. 150.1(1), 153.1(2) and 265(3) and ss. 273.1 and 273.2). In accordance with these provisions:
    • Consent means the voluntary agreement of a person to engage in sexual activity.
    • Consent may be expressed by words or conduct and must be given freely. Failure to resist does not constitute consent.
    • A person cannot give consent if he or she is incapable of expressing it (e.g. because of a physical or intellectual disability or intoxication) or if the other person involved is in a position of authority or uses threats, force or fraud to obtain consent.
    • Consent is not valid if it is given by a person under 16 years of age or in a relationship of dependency with the other person involved.
    • A person who consents to sexual activity but then changes his or her mind may withdraw the consent if he or she expresses, by words or conduct, a lack of agreement to continue to engage in the activity.
    • The mere fact that a person accused of sexual assault says that he or she believed that the person had given his or her consent is not sufficient evidence to raise a defence of belief in consent.

Legal age of consent to sexual activity

The legal age of consent to sexual activity was raised from 14 to 16 in Canada in 2008. Believing that a person is older than 16 (or older than 18 in cases of sexual exploitation) is not an admissible defence, unless reasonable means were taken to determine the person’s real age.

However, certain exceptions apply to age of consent in cases of sexual relations between young people (s. 150.1):3

  • In cases of sexual interference and common sexual assault where the younger partner is 14 or 15 years of age: Exceptions apply if the older partner is less than five years older than the younger one; and is not in a position of trust or authority towards the younger partner, is not a person with whom the younger partner is in a relationship of dependency and is not in a relationship with the younger partner that is exploitative in any way; or if the partners are married.
  • In cases of sexual interference and common sexual assault where the younger partner is 12 or 13 years of age: Exceptions apply if the older partner is less than two years older than the younger one; and is not in a position of trust or authority towards the younger person, is not a person with whom the younger partner is in a relationship of dependency and is not in a relationship with the younger partner that is exploitative in any way.

Protection of young people aged 16 or 17 against sexual exploitation: People aged 16 or 17 cannot consent, from a legal standpoint, to sexual exploitation (e.g. prostitution or pornography) (s. 153).

Canadian Criminal Code and judicial intervention in the area of sexual assault

Several principles and provisions of the Canadian Criminal Code govern judicial intervention in the area of sexual assault:

  • Protection of victims’ privacy and facilitation of testimony
    • The names of sexual assault victims cannot be published (s. 486.4).
    • Hearings may be held in private (s. 486).
    • It is no longer necessary for a victim’s testimony to be corroborated by independent evidence (s. 274).
    • Evidence of good or bad sexual reputation is not admissible (s. 277).
    • Evidence of prior sexual activity is not admissible (s. 276).
    • There are restrictions on access to the personal records of victims (minors and persons of full age) (ss. 278.1 to 278.91).
    • Children or people with a mental or physical disability may testify by means of closed-circuit television or behind a screen (s. 486.2).
  • Sentencing
    • The Canadian Criminal Code provides for various types of penalties. In ascending order of severity, they are: absolute discharge, conditional discharge, a fine, a suspended sentence and imprisonment. A prison sentence may be served intermittently if it is for 90 days or less; otherwise, it must be served on consecutive days. In addition, a sentence may be served in the community if it does not exceed two years less a day; otherwise, it must be served in prison.
    • A minimum term of imprisonment has been defined for certain sexual offences.
      • Certain orders may also be issued for taking DNA samples, prohibiting the possession of firearms and registering offenders in the National Sex Offender Registry.
      • At the request of a criminal and penal prosecuting attorney, a judge may also decide to place a person convicted of a sexual offence under the Dangerous Offender and Long-term Offender Regime. Following a special hearing and in accordance with the prescribed procedure, the court may find a sex offender to be a long-term offender (s. 753.1). A sentence of detention for an indeterminate period may be imposed only in the case of a person who has been found to be a dangerous offender, particularly in regard to sexual offences (s. 753).
      • Situations where a person commits an offence in which he or she abuses his or her spouse, common-law partner or child, or abuses a position of trust or authority in relation to the victim are deemed to be aggravating circumstances for sentencing purposes (s. 718.2). This is also the case for offences motivated by prejudice or hate based on gender.
    • In the case of sexual offences against minors, orders may be issued to prohibit a person convicted of sexually abusing a child from:4  
      • being in or near certain public places where children might be present;
      • seeking, obtaining or continuing any employment that involves being in a position of trust or authority towards a child;
      • having any contact with a person who is under 16 years of age, unless the offender does so under the supervision of a person designated by the court;
      • using the Internet or other digital network, unless the offender does so in accordance with conditions set by the court (s.161).

Sentences for sexual offences

General information on the length of sentences is presented for information purposes only and does not take into account the exact nature of certain offences (e.g. possession, distribution or making of child pornography).4

Some definitions...

Method of prosecution: by indictment or summary conviction

Several of the offences provided for under Canada’s Criminal Code are hybrid offences. They can thus be prosecuted by indictment or summary conviction. The procedure for offences punishable on summary conviction is different from that for offences punishable by indictment, and the penalties are less severe. When both procedures can be used, Crown prosecutors decide on the type of charges they will lay, depending in particular on the seriousness of the offence.

Minimum sentence

When a minimum sentence is provided for an offence, a judge who finds an accused guilty of that offence has no choice but to impose at least the prescribed minimum sentence. Legally, the judge cannot impose a sentence that is less than the minimum sentence; nor can he or she impose a sentence that exceeds the maximum sentence.

Offence punishable on summary conviction

Not all of the offences provided for in the Criminal Code can be prosecuted by indictment. Indeed, some can be prosecuted by summary conviction. The procedure for offences punishable on summary conviction is different from that for offences punishable by indictment, and the penalties are less severe. Prosecutors decide whether to proceed by indictment or summary conviction depending in particular on the seriousness of the offence.

Long-term offender

A long-term offender is a person who presents a substantial risk of reoffending, but the risk can be controlled in the community. The sentence of imprisonment for this type of offender is two years or more and it is followed by a long-term supervision order in the community for a period not exceeding 10 years.

Dangerous offender

A dangerous offender is an accused who has committed serious personal injury and whose behaviour (because of its repetitive and brutal nature) represents a danger to others, or who gives reason to believe that he or she will cause personal injury to others on account of failure to control his or her sexual impulses.

The sexual offence provisions of the Safe Streets and Communities Act5 came into effect on August 9, 2012. This Act amended most sexual offences with respect to children in order to increase the minimum penalties for such offences or to add minimum penalties where none existed. Moreover, this Act created two new sexual offences in the Canadian Criminal Code:  making sexually explicit material available to a child (s. 171.1) and agreeing or arranging by a means of telecommunication to commit a sexual offence against a child (s. 172.2).

 
Minimum and maximum length of sentences for sexual offences in Canada
Offences Indictable offence Offence punishable on summary conviction
Minimum sentence Maximum sentence Minimum sentence Maximum sentence
Indecent act (subs. 173(1)) - 2 years - 6 months
Sexual assault committed outside Canada and child sex tourism  (subss. 7(4.1) to 7(4.3)) (Depends on the sexual offence committed outside Canada)
Common sexual assault (s. 271) 1 year if the victim is under 16  10 years 90 days if the victim is under 16 18 months
Sexual assault with a weapon (s. 272) Between 4 and 7 years if a firearm and/or criminal organization is involved.
5 years if the victim is under 16
14 years - -
Aggravated sexual assault (s. 273) Between 4 and 7 years if a firearm and/or criminal organization is involved.
5 years if the victim is under 16
Life imprisonment - -
Bestiality (subss. 160(1) and 160(2)) - 10 years - 6 months and a fine of $5 000
Bestiality in the presence of or by a child (subs. 160(3)) 1 year 10 years 6 months 2 years less a day
Sexual interference (s. 151) 1 year 10 years 90 days 18 months
Luring a child (s. 172.1) - 2 years - -
Agreement or arrangement by a means of telecommunication to commit a sexual offence against a child (s. 172.2) 90 days 2 years 30 days 6 months
Procuring sexual activity (s. 170) 1 year if the victim is under 16
6 months if the victim is 16 or older but under 18
10 years if the victim is under 16
5 years if the victim is 16 or older but under 18
- -
Exposure (subs. 173(2)) 90 days 2 years 30 days 6 months
Sexual exploitation (s. 153) 1 year 10 years 90 days 18 months
Incest (s. 155) 5 years if the victim is under 16 14 years - -
Invitation to sexual touching (s. 152) 1 year 10 years 90 days 18 months
Luring a child by a means of telecommunication (s. 172.1) or Internet luring 1 year 10 years 90 days 18 months
Householder permitting sexual activity by or in the presence of a child (s. 171) 6 months if the victim is under 16
90 days if the victim is 16 or older but under 18
5 years if the victim is under 16
2 years if the victim is 16 or older but under 18
- -
Child pornography (s. 163.1) Between 6 months and 1 year Between 5 and 10 years Between 90 days and 6 months Between 18 months and 2 years less a day 
Procuring (subss. 212(1) and 212(2)) and prostitution of a minor (subss. 212(2.1) and 212(4))

Between 6 months and 5 years if the victim is under 18
-

Between 5 and 14 years if the victim is under 18
10 years
- -
Anal intercourse (s.159) - 10 years - 6 months and a fine of $5 000
Making sexually explicit material available to a child (s. 171.1) 90 days 2 years 30 days 6 months
Trafficking in persons/Trafficking of children (ss. 279.01 and 279.011) Between 5 and 6 years if the victim is under 18  Between 14 years and life imprisonment - -
Voyeurism (s. 162) - 5 years - 6 months and a fine of $5 000

Major amendments to the Canadian Criminal Code

Various provisions of the Canadian Criminal Code have been amended over the years:

  1. Distinction between men and women. Previously, rape could be committed only by a man against a woman. Today, sexual assault is an offence that can be committed by both men and women, against a man or a woman.6
  2. Marital exception. In accordance with this exception, no provision used to be made for the offence of sexual assault between spouses. Today, sexual relations between spouses must always be consensual (s. 278).
  3. Proof of vaginal penetration by the penis. The offence of sexual assault now includes touching and forms of penetration in addition to vaginal penetration by the penis.
  4. Recent complaint doctrine. Failure to file a complaint at the first reasonable opportunity no longer undermines the credibility of the complainant (s. 275).
  5. Corroboration not required. Corroboration is not required in certain cases, including testimony by children regardless of the nature of the charges, or in sexual assault offences regardless of whether the victim is an adult or a minor (s. 274).

Charters of rights and freedoms

 
 

LThe courts now recognize that people who are victims of sexual assault are entitled, as part of the judicial process, to personal inviolability, protection of privacy, and equality.7

Under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Québec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, the citizens of Canada and Québec have various fundamental civil rights, including the right to life; personal security, inviolability and freedom; and the protection of children and elderly or disabled persons. These charters also provide for certain legal guarantees and judicial rights.7
The Canadian Charter enshrines a number of principles in the area of criminal and penal law, including the following:

  • the right to be presumed innocent (par. 11(d));
  • the right to counsel (par. 10(b));
  • the right to protection against self-incrimination;
  • the right to be tried within a reasonable time (par. 11(b)).

The requirement for the prosecution to prove that the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt is not a right guaranteed by the Canadian Charter, but a principle of fundamental justice arising from common law.

Youth Protection Act (YPA)

 
 

Requirement to report sexual and physical abuse

Under section 39 of the Youth Protection Act (YPA), every professional or individual who has reasonable grounds to believe that the security or development of a child is in danger under subparagraphs d and e of the second paragraph of section 38 must bring the situation to the attention of the Director of Youth Protection (DYP). It is not up to the person who reports a situation to the DYP to decide whether or not it is admissible or true. This responsibility lies with the DYP.

  • The purpose of the YPA is to protect the security and development of minors as a whole.
  • The YPA stipulates that every person must bring to the attention of the DYP situations where a child or a young person is a victim of sexual or physical abuse (s. 39).
  • Under subparagraph d of the second paragraph of section 38 of the YPA, sexual abuse refers to:
    • “a situation in which the child is subjected to gestures of a sexual nature by the child's parents or another person, with or without physical contact, and the child's parents fail to take the necessary steps to put an end to the situation; or
    • “a situation in which the child runs a serious risk of being subjected to gestures of a sexual nature by the child's parents or another person, with or without physical contact, and the child's parents fail to take the necessary steps to put an end to the situation”.8
  • When the DYP receives a report, he or she must decide whether the report is admissible or not. If it is admissible, the DYP will undertake an assessment of the situation to determine if the security or development of the child is in danger and to implement appropriate measures to remedy the situation. The DYP may favour voluntary measures or have measures imposed by the court (Youth Division).
    • The judicial procedure under the YPA is civil in nature. However, reporting a perpetrator under the YPA does not prevent the perpetrator from being prosecuted under the Canadian Criminal Code or from having an action in civil liability filed against him or her under the Civil Code.

Sociolegal intervention under the Youth Protection Act (YPA) with respect to minors who are victims of sexual abuse

When a minor is being sexually abused, a specific sociolegal intervention protocol is deployed.9

A multi-sectoral team, made up of a representative of the Director of Youth Protection (DYP), a police officer and a criminal and penal prosecutor, takes stock of the situation. If the allegations are confirmed, the team agrees on an action plan to ensure the security and immediate protection of the child, support the family, and define specific measures to be implemented during the rest of the intervention.10 At the same time, the DYP assesses the alleged facts to determine if they are founded, if the security or development of the child is in danger and if the DYP should intervene on the child’s behalf. If the alleged facts are found to be true, each member of the multi-sectoral team takes action in his or her area of jurisdiction so that a comprehensive approach can be applied in regard to the child and his or her family.

  • The DYP ensures that protective measures are put in place and implemented.
  • The police conduct an investigation of the allegations and submit the file to the criminal and penal prosecutor.
  • If applicable, the prosecutor institutes criminal proceedings.

Other stakeholders (CSSSs, community organizations, health professionals) may also offer services and provide the child and his or her family with additional support.

 

Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA)

  • The Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) applies to minors 12 to 17 years of age accused of an offence under the Canadian Criminal Code or other federal statutes.11
  • The purpose of the YCJA is to protect society, recognize the rights and needs of victims, make young offenders accountable, prevent them from committing other offences and reintegrate them into the community.12
  • The YCJA stipulates that young offenders must take responsibility for their crimes, although it recognizes that their degree of responsibility differs from that of adults when it comes to determining principles of intervention and applicable sentences.
  • Four approaches are provided for in the YCJA to hold young offenders accountable for their actions:
  •  
     

    Extrajudicial measures do not apply in the case of sexual offences.

    • The police can apply discretionary extrajudicial measures.
    • Extrajudicial sanctions (alternative measures) can be applied under the responsibility of the provincial director (in Québec, the Director of Youth Protection);
    • Youth sentences can be imposed under the authority of the Youth Division;
    • Adult sentences can be imposed in certain exceptional cases
  • The YCJA also provides for a specific privacy protection regime for young offenders. It is forbidden to make any information known that would identify a young offender or any person under 18 years of age who has been a victim of or a witness to an offence under the YCJA. However, the court may issue an order lifting a ban on the publication of information that would identify a young person if he or she has been found guilty of a violent offence (s. 75). In addition, publication bans are automatically lifted when a young person receives an adult sentence.

Sexual assault by a young person: behavioural disorder or indictable offence?

When a minor commits a sexual assault, two laws with different underlying philosophies are brought into play: the Youth Protection Act (YPA) and the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA). The YPA ensures the security and development of children, particularly those with a serious behavioural disturbance. Therefore, minors who sexually abuse children or commit offences involving “less serious” forms of sexual assault are more likely to be taken in charge under subparagraph f of the second paragraph of section 38 concerning serious behavioural disturbance. This type of disturbance refers to “a situation in which a child behaves in such a way as to repeatedly or seriously undermine the child's or others' physical or psychological integrity”.

Minors who have committed “more serious” forms of sexual assault or who have sexually assaulted adolescents or adults are more frequently taken in charge under the YCJA. This Act sets out the principles, rules of procedure and sentences applicable under federal legislation, such as the Canadian Criminal Code, to young people aged 12 to 17 at the time when they commit an offence. In such cases, the matter may be referred to the court and the young person must appear before the Youth Division. Referral to the court is automatic in the case of sexual assault with a weapon or aggravated sexual assault.

 

Civil Code

  • The Civil Code of Québec governs persons, relations between persons, and property. It contains all of the rules governing life in society.13
  • Under article 10 of the Civil Code, “Every person is inviolable and entitled to the integrity of his person. Except in cases provided for by law, no one may interfere with his person without his free and enlightened consent.”
 
 

Since 2006, a provision of the Civil Code (art. 1974.1 C.C.Q.) has stipulated that a lessee may resiliate his or her lease without penalty if, because of the violent behaviour of a current or former spouse or because of a sexual aggression, the safety of the lessee or of a child living with the lessee is threatened.

  • The Civil Code clearly establishes civil liability, i.e. the duty of individuals to abide by rules of conduct so as to not cause injury to others and to make reparation for any material, physical or moral injury caused by their failure to abide by those rules of conduct.14
  • Consequently, any person who has suffered physical or psychological injury (damage) of a criminal or civil nature may apply to the court to be indemnified. In so doing, he or she institutes an action in civil liability, which is generally aimed at obtaining an indemnity.

Prescriptive period for instituting a civil lawsuit

The prescriptive period, or time limit, for instituting a civil lawsuit is three years from the time a fault is committed and damage occurs. If the damage takes place gradually or only after the commission of the fault, as is often the case with sexual assault, the prescriptive period begins when the damage appears for the first time.15 To learn more about how the emergence and development of the consequences of sexual assault, see the Consequences section.

 
  • A person may be tried in both criminal and civil court for a single sexual assault. In that case, the criminal proceedings focus on the commission of a criminal offence that is sexual in nature, while the civil proceedings aim to recognize the physical or psychological damage suffered by the victim.
Differences between civil and penal proceedings16
  Civil Code Criminal Code
Subject-matter of the proceedings Damage and injury suffered as a result of a fault Criminal offences
Division Civil Division Criminal and Penal Division
Burden of proof

The victim is responsible for proving the allegations and the damage that he or she has suffered.

The degree of proof is lower than in a criminal trial (preponderance of evidence).

The criminal and penal prosecutor is responsible for proving that an offence has been committed.

The victim acts as a witness.

Proof beyond a reasonable doubt is required since the accused is presumed innocent.
Prescriptive period

3 years from the time the facts are known or from the time the damage is felt.

In April 2012, the Québec government tabled a bill to extend the prescriptive period for cases of sexual assault from 3 years to 10 years and to review the calculation of the prescriptive period.
No prescriptive period for indictable offences. Prescriptive period of 6 months for offences punishable on summary conviction.
Judgment

Indemnity for damage and injury suffered, or

no civil liability

Conviction on the charge made or on another proven charge.

Verdict of not criminally responsible on account of a mental disorder, or

acquittal.

Legislation pertaining to victims of crime

Act respecting assistance for victims of crime

  • In Québec, the Act respecting assistance for victims of crime guarantees certain rights for victims of criminal offences committed in Québec, as well as for their immediate family and dependants.17
  • Victims of crime and their immediate family have the right to:
    • be treated with courtesy and with respect for their privacy;
    • be informed, on request, about the police investigation and the judicial proceedings;
    • be informed about the availability of health and social services;
    • make known, at the time of sentencing representations, through the criminal and penal prosecutor and by means of testimony or a written statement, the impact of the sexual assault on their life and on that of their immediate family;
    • receive compensation for expenses incurred to testify;
    • recover any seized property as soon as possible.

Crime Victims Compensation Act (CVCA)

  • Victims of a crime against the person, such as sexual assault or any other sexual offence, who have suffered injury (physical or psychological damage) can claim compensation under the Crime Victims Compensation Act (CVCA).18
  • Certain rules and eligibility requirements govern compensation for crime victims:
    • Claims for compensation are administered by the Direction de l’indemnisation des victimes d’actes criminels (IVAC), which reports to the Commission de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CSST);
    • Claims for compensation must concern criminal offences committed in Québec after March 1, 1972;
    • Claimants must prove that they have been the victim of a crime (e.g. medical certificate, psychological follow-up, witnesses, conviction). To obtain compensation, it is not necessary for them to have filed a complaint with the police or for criminal proceedings to have been instituted;19
    • Victims of crimes against the person in the workplace are not eligible for compensation under the IVAC plan. They may obtain compensation under the Act respecting industrial accidents and occupational diseases.
  • To learn more about compensation for crime victims, the services covered and the application procedure, visit the IVAC website at www.ivac.qc.ca/EN_acts.asp.

Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA)

  • The Canadian correctional system is based on the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA).20
  • The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) is responsible for applying the CCRA and thus for supervising people who have been found guilty of a criminal offence within the meaning of the Canadian Criminal Code.
  • The purpose of the federal correctional system is to protect the safety of the public, carry out sentences, rehabilitate offenders and reintegrate them into the community.

Sex Offender Information Registration Act (SOIRA)

  • The purpose of the Sex Offender Information Registration Act (SOIRA) is to help police services prevent and investigate crimes of a sexual nature by requiring that certain information on sex offenders be registered in a registry.21
  • Information collected under SOIRA is recorded in the National Sex Offender Registry, which is administered by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.22
  • The Registry contains the following information on each offender: name, date of birth, current address, current photograph, identifying marks (e.g. tattoos, scars), vehicle information, type of employment and address, sexual offence(s) for which the offender has been convicted. It also contains information on the sex offender’s modus operandi.
  • Since 2011, pursuant to the Protecting Victims From Sex Offenders Act,23 any person who has been convicted of a sexual offence designated under the Canadian Criminal Code is automatically registered in the Registry. Persons in the following categories are also registered:
    • persons found not criminally responsible for a sexual offence on account of a mental disorder;
    • young offenders convicted of a sexual offence who have been given an adult sentence;
    • Canadians convicted outside Canada of a designated sexual offence. They are registered in the Registry upon their return to Canada under the International Transfer of Offenders Act;24
    • foreign nationals convicted outside Canada of a designated sexual offence who live in Canada.
  • Since 2011, pursuant to the Protecting Victims From Sex Offenders Act,23 persons registered in the National Sex Offender Registry are automatically registered in the National DNA Data Bank. Samples of their bodily substances are taken for forensic DNA analysis and kept for future use in criminal investigations.
  • Offenders who are registered in the National Sex Offender Registry have certain obligations under SOIRA. In particular, they must report to a registration centre every year, notify the registration centre of any change of address or of any trips outside Canada lasting more than seven days.
  • The length of time an offender must be registered in the Registry varies according to the sentence they receive. The obligation to comply with the registration provisions of SOIRA expires between 10 and 20 years after a guilty verdict has been handed down by the court. The obligation to register in the Registry applies for life if the maximum term of imprisonment for the offence concerned is life, if the offender commits another offence or if he or she is found guilty of more than one sexual offence.

Use of the registry by the police

The National Sex Offender Registry is not accessible to the general public. Police officers alone may consult it as part of a criminal investigation or to prevent crimes of a sexual nature.

  • The Registry may be used to produce a list of possible suspects in order to prevent crimes of a sexual nature.
  • The police may use the Registry to notify other police services that sexual offenders are present on their territory. In this way, sex offenders can be automatically identified by the police in the place where the offenders live, carry out their activities (work, volunteering) or are visiting.
  • SOIRA enables information gathered or registered in the Registry to be communicated to police services outside Canada in order to prevent or investigate crimes of a sexual nature.
 
 

References

  1. Criminal Code, R.S.C. (1985), c. C-46.
  2. From the “L’agression sexuelle” section of the Éducaloi website: www.educaloi.qc.ca/loi/contrevenants_et_accuses/397.
  3. From the “Age of consent to sexual activities” section of the Éducaloi website: www.educaloi.qc.ca/en/capsules/age-consent-sexual-activities
  4. Criminal Code, R.S.C. (1985), c. C-46.
  5. S.C., 2012, c. 1. (Bill C-10, assented to on March 13, 2012).
  6. Brennan, S. and Taylor-Butts, A. (2008). Sexual Assault in Canada, 2004 and 2007. Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics. Catalogue no. 85F0033M.
  7. Gouvernement du Québec (2001). Orientations gouvernementales en matière d’agression sexuelle. Québec: Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux. (Available in French only)
  8. Youth Protection Act, R.S.Q., chapter P-34.1.
  9. Gouvernement du Québec. (2002).Multi-sectoral Agreement concerning children who are victims of sexual abuse or physical ill-treatment, or whose physical health is threatened by the lack of appropriate care Québec: Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux.
  10. From the “Intervention sociojudiciaire” section of the Sûreté du Québec website: www.suretequebec.gouv.qc.ca/parent-et-enseignants/pour-agir/interventions-sociojudiciaires.jsp. (Available in French only)
  11. Youth Criminal Justice Act (S.C. 2002, c. 1).
  12. Youth Criminal Justice Act (S.C. 2002, c. 1), Preamble.
  13. Civil Code of Québec (S.Q., 1991, c. 64.).
  14. Gouvernement du Québec, Civil Code of Québec, Chapter III – Civil liability – Section I – Conditions of liability – 1. General provisions.
  15. From the “Prescription: Legal Deadlines” section of the Éducaloi website: www.educaloi.qc.ca/en/capsules/prescription-legal-deadlines
  16. From the “Differences Between Civil and Criminal Cases” section of the Éducaloi website: www.educaloi.qc.ca/en/capsules/differences-between-civil-and-criminal-cases
  17. Act respecting assistance for victims of crime (R.S.Q., chapter A-13.2).
  18. Crime Victims Compensation Act (R.S.Q., chapter I-6).
  19. From the “Compensation for Victims of Crime” section of the Éducaloi website: www.educaloi.qc.ca/en/capsules/compensation-victims-crimes.
  20. Corrections and Conditional Release Act. S.C. 1992, c. 20.
  21. Sex Offender Information Registration Act, S.C. 2004. c.10.
  22. From the “National Sex Offender Registry” section of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police website: www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/tops-opst/bs-sc/nsor-rnds/index-eng.htm
  23. Protecting Victims from Sex Offenders Act. S.C. 2010, c.17.
  24. International Transfer of Offenders Act. S.C. 2004, c.21