“We remain committed to addressing issues of violence against women, including sexual violence. For this reason, we have reintroduced proposed changes to the Judges Act and Criminal Code. I want to acknowledge the important work the judiciary is doing now on this issue, but it is essential to ensure public confidence in our criminal justice system. To that end, this legislation will help ensure that judges have the awareness, skills and knowledge of sexual assault law to deal with cases in a manner that is fair to the parties and free from myths and stereotypes. It will also help Judges understand the social context in which they hear all matters, and the factors that may affect individuals’ engagement with the justice system.”
The Honourable David Lametti, P.C., Q.C., M.P.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
“Too few survivors feel confident coming forward and of those who do, only a small fraction result in a conviction. Canadians expect better. This legislation will help ensure that our legal and justice systems treat survivors of sexual assault with greater dignity and respect. COVID-19 only adds greater urgency to our efforts. Every step our government has taken to address and prevent sexual violence and gender based violence has been informed by survivors and their families. We thank you for your courage. The Government of Canada will continue to work toward a future where no one has to say ‘me too’.”
The Honourable Maryam Monsef, P.C., M.P.
Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development
The Criminal Code prohibits all non-consensual sexual activity, provides a clear definition of consent, identifies when consent cannot be obtained, and sets out rules for the admissibility of certain types of evidence to deter the introduction of discriminatory myths and stereotypes about how survivors of sexual assault are expected to behave.
On February 4, 2020, former Bill C-5 An Act to amend the Judges Act and the Criminal Code was introduced. Following the prorogation of Parliament in August 2020 and the opening of the new parliamentary session on September 23, 2020, proposed changes to the Judges Act were reintroduced today in the House of Commons.
The Government committed to reintroducing Private Member’s Bill C-337, which was passed unanimously in the House of Commons. This Bill echoes that Private Member’s Bill.
In Budget 2017, the Government provided the Canadian Judicial Council with $2.7 million over five years, and $0.5 million per year thereafter, to ensure that more judges have access to professional development, with a greater focus on gender and culturally-sensitive training.
Social context education is designed to teach awareness and skills for judges to ensure that all people who come into the courtroom are treated respectfully, fairly and equally.