Monday, February 09, 2015

Library of Parliament Legislative Summary of Bill S-7, the Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act

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 marriage."

"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 harmful practices."

"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 well supported."

"Finally, the committee suggested a number of ways to implement and enforce the new provision regarding polygamy in the immigration context."
It is possible to follow the progress of the Bill through Parliament on the LEGISinfo website.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:14 pm


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