Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Statutory Review of the Sex Offender Information Registry Act

The House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security recently released its Statutory Review of the Sex Offender Information Registry Act:

"The primary purpose of the review was to determine what changes need to be made to SOIRA and related legislation to ensure that the national registry is best able to fulfill the purpose for which it was enacted, that is, to help police authorities in Canada to investigate sex offences. To that end, the Committee held three sessions during which it gathered evidence from representatives of the departments of Public Safety and Justice, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, the RCMP, the Ontario Provincial Police, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, the Canadian Council of Criminal Defence Lawyers, and Jim and Anna Stephenson, the parents of young Christopher, who was kidnapped and brutally murdered at the age of 11 by a sex offender on federal statutory release (...)"

"This report sets out the weaknesses in the national registry that were revealed over the course of these hearings and concludes with the Committee’s observations and
recommendations. In light of the review, the Committee feels that statutory amendments are required to SOIRA and related legislation if the police are to have a more effective investigatory tool. The recommendations are designed specifically to help police departments prevent crimes of a sexual nature, solve them more quickly, and more effectively supervise sex offenders in the community. The national registry that this report proposes is inspired by the provisions of the Ontario sex offender registry, which the police officers who appeared before the Committee consider superior, and eliminates the legislative obstacles brought to its attention that hamper the administration and effective operation of the national registry. It is important to make clear at the outset that, by themselves, the suggested changes cannot ensure the national registry’s effectiveness. That depends on the support and cooperation of the many stakeholders involved in ensuring public safety at the national, provincial/territorial and municipal levels."

The federal Sex Offender Information Registration Act (SOIRA) came into force in late 2004. It established a national registry containing information on offenders who have been convicted of a sex offence or found not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 12:05 pm


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