New Law Eliminating House Arrest For Serious And Violent Crimes Comes Into Force

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OTTAWA, November 20, 2012 – The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada announced today amendments that eliminate conditional sentences for serious and violent crimes – the final component of the Safe Streets and Communities Act – have come into force.

Our Government has a strong record of putting victims first, getting tough on serious and violent offenders, and keeping our streets and communities safe,” said Minister Nicholson. “House arrest should not be available for offenders of serious crimes like sexual assault, kidnapping, and human trafficking. Those who commit these violent crimes must serve their time behind bars, not in the comfort of their homes and that is exactly the issue this legislation corrects.

The Criminal Code outlines the circumstances when a conditional sentence can be imposed. The amendments in this component of Safe Streets and Communities Act maintain these conditions and expand the list describing when a conditional sentence is not available, including:

  • Any offence for which the law prescribes a maximum penalty of 14 years or life imprisonment;
  • Any offence prosecuted by indictment and for which the law prescribes a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment that results in bodily harm, involves the import/export, trafficking or production of drugs or involves the use of a weapon; and,
  • A listed offence prosecuted by indictment and for which the law prescribes a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment – which means that crimes such as theft over $5,000, breaking and entering, and theft of a motor vehicle are now included on the list of indictable offences ineligible for a conditional sentence.

The Government introduced the Safe Streets and Communities Act on September 20, 2011, fulfilling its commitment to expeditiously introduce several law-and-order bills aimed at combating crime and terrorism. The Safe Streets and Communities Act received Royal Assent on March 13, 2012.

An online version of the legislation can be found at www.parl.gc.ca.

Backgrounder: Safe Streets & Communities Act: Ending House Arrest for Property and Other Serious Crimes

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Julie Di Mambro
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Justice
613-992-4621

Media Relations
Department of Justice
613-957-4207