Annual Report by the Attorney General of Canada Concerning Recognizance with Conditions
July 15, 2019 to July 14, 2020
Section I – Introduction
Under subsection 83.31(2) of the Criminal Code, there is a requirement for the Attorney General of Canada to lay before Parliament, and for the Attorneys General of every province to publish or otherwise make public, an annual report on the operation generally of the recognizance with conditions provision.
Under subsection 83.31(3), the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness is required to report annually to Parliament, and the Ministers responsible for policing in every province are required to publish a report annually, or otherwise make available to the public, information on the number of arrests without warrant made under the recognizance with conditions procedure and on the number of cases in which a person was arrested without warrant and released.
Under subsection 83.31(3.1), the Attorney General of Canada and the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness must provide their opinion, with reasons, on whether the operation of the recognizance with conditions should be extended.
The recognizance with conditions provision was originally created in the Criminal Code by the Anti-terrorism Act of 2001. This measure expired in March 2007, but was renewed in July 2013 for an initial five-year period when the Combating Terrorism Act came into force. The Anti‑terrorism Act, 2015 made additional amendments to the recognizance with conditions provision. The provision was subject to a sunset clause and sunsetted on October 25, 2018.
The National Security Act, 2017, which received Royal Assent on June 21, 2019, amended the recognizance with conditions and enacted a new sunset clause, such that the recognizance with conditions will cease to have effect at the end of the fifth anniversary of the day on which the Act received Royal Assent unless, before that date, it is extended by resolution passed by both Houses of Parliament.
The National Security Act, 2017 provides that a committee of the Senate, House of Commons, or of both Houses of Parliament must comprehensively review the operation of the recognizance with conditions. However, unlike the previous version of the section, the amendment requires that the report of the committee be completed no later than one year before the recognizance is to sunset. This will allow sufficient time for the Government to seek to have the recognizance extended, should it choose to do so, before the recognizance with conditions sunsets.
Section 83.32, as amended by the National Security Act, 2017, also sets out the procedure by which the text of the resolution to extend the recognizance with conditions is established, and allows for further extensions of the recognizance with conditions beyond the initial five-year sunset period.
Section II – Statistics
Reporting requirements under subsection 83.31(2)
- the number of consents to lay an information that were sought, and the number that were obtained, by virtue of subsections 83.3(1) and (2);
- the number of cases in which a summons or a warrant of arrest was issued for the purposes of subsection 83.3(3);
- the number of cases where a person was not released under subsection 83.3(7), (7.1) or (7.2) pending a hearing;
- the number of cases in which an order to enter into a recognizance was made under paragraph 83.3(8)(a), and the types of conditions that were imposed;
- the number of times a person failed or refused to enter into a recognizance, and the term of imprisonment imposed under subsection 83.3(9) in each case; and
- the number of cases in which the conditions fixed in a recognizance were varied under subsection 83.3(13).
Report on the operation of section 83.3
Both the Public Prosecution Service of Canada and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police report that no consent to lay an information was sought, nor was any summons or warrant of arrest issued, in relation to the recognizance with conditions power from July 15, 2019 to July 14, 2020.
Section III – Assessment of the need for this tool
This tool remains available to law enforcement to use in the appropriate case to prevent the carrying out of a terrorist activity and, therefore, I support its extension.
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