Bill S-12: The Sex Offender Information Registration Act and the International Transfer of Offenders Act
On June 8, 2023, Executive Director and General Counsel to LEAF, Pam Hrick, joined the Senate of Canada Legal & Constitutional Affairs Committee to echo survivors concerns on Bill S-12, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Sex Offender Information Registration Act and the International Transfer of Offenders Act.
With only 5% of sexual assaults reported to the police, sexual assault is one of the most underreported crimes in Canada with victims commonly facing significant negative reactions such as victim-blaming, scrutiny, and years-long wait times when engaging in the criminal justice system. Bill S-12 and its focus on publication bans highlights another mechanism through which victim-complainants who engage with the criminal justice system may face challenges.
While LEAF supports the intention of Bill S-12 in improving the processes faced by victims/survivors when they want to have an unwanted publication ban on their identity removed, we believe much work remains to be done for this Bill to truly protect access to justice, safety, and autonomy for survivors of sexual violence, who are disproportionately women.
We make 5 concrete recommendations for amendments to the Bill:
1) Ensure victims are not criminalized for failing to comply with a publication ban on their
2) Ensure limited exemptions for circumstances where failing to comply with the
publication ban is not intended to make the information known in the community
3) Remove “Otherwise made available” language
4) Clarify and simplify the process for revoking or varying a publication ban
5) Ensure victims are informed