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431-00191 (Justice)

Paper petition

Original language of petition: English

Petition to Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality

We, the members of the Canadian Federation of University Women in Scarborough, Ontario, call upon Minister Monsef to: introduce a bill that would require all judges to take training on sexual assault law. This was a promise made by the Liberals in the recent election.

Response by the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): Ms. Gudie Hutchings

The Government agrees that continuing education for judges on matters relating to sexual assault law and social context would enhance public confidence and the confidence of survivors of sexual assault in the ability of judges to make informed rulings that do not perpetuate harmful stereotypes and discriminatory attitudes that further disadvantage survivors.

For that reason, as part of the commitments made in It’s Time: Canada’s Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence, the Government introduced Bill C-5, An Act to amend the Judges Act and the Criminal Code,on February 4, 2020. Bill C-5 is currently before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. This legislation would require all newly appointed provincial superior court judges to undergo training in matters related to sexual assault law and social context. This would ensure that these judges have the necessary training to fairly and impartially decide matters, without the influence of myths and stereotypes, and have a deeper understanding of the social context within which offences take place.

This legislation would also enhance the transparency of decisions by requiring that judges provide written reasons, or enter them into the record, when deciding sexual assault matters.  

Response by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable David Lametti

The Government was proud to introduce Bill C-5, An Act to amend the Judges Act and the Criminal Code, based on a private members bill put forward by Former interim leader of the Conservative Party the Honourable Rona Ambrose, whichproposes to amend sections of the Judges Act to address judicial training.

This Bill will require candidates seeking an appointment to a provincial superior court to agree to participate in training on matters related to sexual assault law and social context following their appointment. This would ensure that newly appointed judges participate in this important training.

These changes will assist judges hearing sexual assault matters by providing them with the necessary training to fairly and properly decide these matters, without the influence of myths and stereotypes. This Bill will will help foster greater confidence of survivors of sexual assault, and the broader Canadian public, in our justice system.

Additional background information on Bill C-5 can be found on Justice Canada’s website, including the Charter Statement and News Release, at the following link: www.justice.gc.ca/eng/csj-sjc/pl/jt-fj/index.html.

Presented to the House of Commons
John McKay (Scarborough—Guildwood)
May 14, 2020 (Petition No. 431-00191)
Government response tabled
July 20, 2020
Photo - John McKay
Scarborough—Guildwood
Liberal Caucus
Ontario

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