The Library of Parliament recently released an updated version of its legislative summary of Bill S-7, known as the Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act
"Bill S-7, An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act,
the Civil Marriage Act and the Criminal Code and to make consequential
amendments to other Acts (short title: Zero Tolerance for Barbaric
Cultural Practices Act) was introduced in the Senate on 5 November 2014.
The bill was referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Human
Rights, which submitted its report with observations on 11 December
2014.The bill passed third reading in the Senate on 16 December 2014. Bill S-7 makes polygamy a new ground for refusing admission to or the
right to stay in Canada, provides that 16 years be the minimum age for
marriage, limits the use of the criminal defence of provocation, and
creates new offences and peace bonds related to forced and underage
"The bill relates to a government commitment made in the 2013 Speech
from the Throne to 'take steps to ensure' that early and forced marriage
does 'not occur on our soil.' Further, it follows measures the government is taking to address these
forms of violence against women and girls in international forums and
in developing countries (...)"
"The Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights studied Bill S-7 and reported back to the Senate with observations.
Observations carry no legal weight, but they may be adopted by a
committee in order to indicate to the Senate and the Government some of
the issues of concern to the committee."
"In the case of Bill S-7, the committee suggested in its
observations that legislation should be only one component of Canada’s
approach to dealing with forced and early marriage, as well as polygamy.
Specifically, the committee observed that all people living in Canada,
regardless of gender, would benefit from culturally appropriate public
awareness campaigns adapted to their age group which explain Canadian
values and laws with respect to gender equality, family violence and
"Further, the committee observed that people (including
teachers and police) who work with the public would benefit from
additional culturally appropriate education and training concerning the
different types of family violence and harmful practices that exist and
ways to respond effectively. It also urged that culturally appropriate
services be provided to victims, so that those who do come forward are
"Finally, the committee suggested a number of ways to
implement and enforce the new provision regarding polygamy in the
It is possible to follow the progress of the Bill through Parliament on the LEGISinfo website
Labels: criminal law, family law, government of Canada, human rights, immigration, legislation, Library of Parliament, women