GOVERNMENT OF CANADA INTRODUCES THE SAFE STREETS AND COMMUNITIES ACT

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Toronto, September 20, 2011 – Today, the Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada introduced the Safe Streets and Communities Act, comprehensive legislation that will target crime and terrorism and provide support and protection to victims of crime.

"I am proud today to announce that our Government has fulfilled its commitment to Canadians to bring forward legislation to make our streets, families and communities safer," said Minister Nicholson. "We campaigned on a promise to get tough on child sexual offenders, crack down on illegal drug trafficking, and improve the overall efficiency of our judicial system. Canadians gave us a strong mandate to bring forward these reforms."

"Canadians want an immigration system that treats people fairly. We will not allow our immigration system to be misused by those who prey on the vulnerable," added the Honourable Jason Kenney, M.P. for Calgary Southeast and Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism. "With this bill, officers will be able to stop situations of abuse and exploitation before they happen."

The Safe Streets and Communities Act re-introduces the following reforms which were debated by Parliament during the previous session but never became law:

  • The Protecting Children from Sexual Predators Act (former Bill C-54), which proposes increased penalties for sexual offences against children, as well as creates two new offences aimed at conduct that could facilitate or enable the commission of a sexual offence against a child;
  • The Penalties for Organized Drug Crime Act (former Bill S-10), which would target organized crime by imposing tougher sentences for the production and possession of illicit drugs for the purposes of trafficking;
  • Sébastien's Law (Protecting the Public from Violent Young Offenders) (former Bill C-4), which would ensure that violent and repeat young offenders are held accountable for their actions and the protection of society is a paramount consideration in the treatment of young offenders by the justice system;
  • The Ending House Arrest for Property and Other Serious Crimes by Serious and Violent Offenders Act (former Bill C-16), which would eliminate the use of conditional sentences, or house arrest, for serious and violent crimes;
  • The Increasing Offender Accountability Act (former Bill C-39), which would enshrine a victim's right to participate in parole hearings and address inmate accountability, responsibility, and management under the Corrections and Conditional Release Act;
  • The Eliminating Pardons for Serious Crimes Act (former Bill C-23B), which would extend the ineligibility periods for applications for a record suspension (currently called a "pardon") to five years for summary conviction offences and to ten years for indictable offences;
  • The Keeping Canadians Safe (International Transfer of Offenders) Act (former Bill C-5), which would add additional criteria that the Minister of Public Safety could consider when deciding whether or not to allow the transfer of a Canadian offender back to Canada to serve their sentence;
  • The Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act and related amendments to the State Immunity Act (former Bill S-7), which would allow victims of terrorism to sue perpetrators and supporters of terrorism, including listed foreign states, for loss or damage that occurred as a result of an act of terrorism committed anywhere in the world; and
  • The Preventing the Trafficking, Abuse and Exploitation of Vulnerable Immigrants Act (former Bill C-56), which would authorize immigration officers to refuse work permits to vulnerable foreign nationals when it is determined that they are at risk of humiliating or degrading treatment, including sexual exploitation or human trafficking.

By bringing forward this legislation, the Government is demonstrating its commitment to ensuring criminals are held fully accountable for their actions and that the safety and security of law-abiding Canadians and victims comes first in Canada's justice system.

An online version of the legislation can be found at www.parl.gc.ca.

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