Hot Topics in Canadian
Law
Prostitution
Abortion
Not so hot -Fraud
Prostitution Expanded
 Prostitution is legal in Canada, but soliciting/
advertising that you do is not.
 To answer Shanne’s question about protection vs
pornography. A person is paid to be in the film.
They may or may not actually be performing the
act. They may or may not enjoy it. They are
being paid to perform, not necessarily to have
sex.
Recent Updates to Prostitution
 Ontario’s highest court has legalized brothels in a
sweeping decision that condemned current
prostitution laws for adding to the hazards of a
highly dangerous profession.
 The Ontario Court of Appeal allowed the Crown
just one victory, ruling that communicating for
the purposes of prostitution will remain illegal.
Speaking Rules
 As we talk about this subject, please be respectful
of others opinions. This is a very hot topic and
people tend to feel very strongly about it. Think
before you speak and don’t assume that everyone
else thinks the same way you do. Everyone is
entitled to their opinion.
 Everyone will have a chance to speak and please
do not interrupt others.
Abortion
 Abortion is defined as the termination of
pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the
uterus of a fetus or embryo prior to
viability.[note 1] An abortion can occur
spontaneously, in which case it is usually
called a miscarriage, or it can be purposely
induced. The term abortion most commonly
refers to the induced abortion of a human
pregnancy.
 Pro-life- those who do not support abortionat
all
 Pro-choice- those who support a woman’s right
to choose.
History
 Abortion was illegal in Canada until 1969 when the Canadian
Parliament passed a law that allowed abortion in certain
circumstances to protect the “health” of the mother—the word
“health” was not defined or limited. Then-Justice Minister Pierre
Trudeau introduced a bill to amend Section 251 of the Criminal Code
of Canada, which provided for abortions where the health of the
woman was deemed at risk by a therapeutic abortion committee
consisting of three doctors. Under the amendment abortions could
only be performed in accredited hospitals by licensed physicians. All
other abortions were still subject to the Criminal Code sanctions.
Abortion remained in the Criminal Code as a criminal offence outside
of the proscribed circumstances.
Abortion Laws in Canada
 There is no law in Canada that prohibits abortion. The
Mulroney government introduced a bill in 1989 to restrict
abortions to those required for health reasons with
maximum jail sentences of two years for doctors who
violated the law. The bill passed in the House of
Commons but died on a tie vote in the Senate. Since then,
abortion has been unrestricted in Canada, legal through
all nine months of pregnancy up until the point of birth.
Most abortions are funded by taxpayers through the
publicly funded health system. There are now over
105,000 abortions a year in Canada. We are one of the
few countries in the Western world that does not have any
legal restrictions on abortion.
Weapons
 The Criminal Code defines a weapon as
anything used or intended for use
– In causing death or injury to a person
– In threatening or intimidating any person
Prohibited Weapons
Gun silencers, switch blade knives,
automatic firearms, rifles, and
shotguns that are sawed off or
otherwise modified, and any
other weapon that has been
declared prohibited
The Criminal Code states that a prohibited firearm is:
•a handgun with a barrel length of 105 mm
or less;
•a handgun designed or adapted to
discharge 25 or 32 calibre ammunition;
•a rifle or shotgun that has been altered to
make it less than 660 mm (26 inches) in
overall length;
•a rifle or shotgun that has been altered to
make the barrel length less than 457 mm
(18 inches) where the overall firearm
length is 660 mm (26 inches) or more;
•an automatic firearm and a converted
automatic firearm;
•any firearm prescribed as prohibited.
Restricted Weapons
According to the Criminal
Code, a restricted firearm
is:
 a handgun that is not a
prohibited firearm;
 a semi-automatic, centrefire rifle or shotgun with a
barrel length less than 470
mm (18.5 inches) that is
not prohibited;
 a rifle or shotgun that can
fire when its overall length
is reduced by folding,
telescoping or some other
means to less than 660
mm (26 inches);
 any firearm prescribed as
restricted (including some
long guns).
Non-restricted
 Non-restricted firearms are any rifles and
shotguns that are neither restricted nor
prohibited. Most common long guns are nonrestricted, but there are a few exceptions, as
indicated in this fact sheet.
 http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/cfp-pcaf/fs-fd/rp-eng.htm
What laws control
firearms in Canada?
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At the federal level, firearms are regulated primarily by the Firearms
Act and by Part III of the Criminal Code. The Firearms Act and its
supporting regulations set out the rules for possessing a firearm.
The Criminal Code and its supporting regulations identify the various
firearms, weapons and devices regulated by the Firearms Act.
Both the Criminal Code and the Firearms Act contain offences and
penalties for illegal possession or misuse of a firearm. For example,
a first-time offender who has failed to register a non-restricted rifle
or shotgun may be charged under the Firearms Act or under the
Criminal Code. A person who has failed to register a restricted or
prohibited firearm or who has used a firearm to commit a crime
would be charged under the Criminal Code.
Provinces, territories or municipalities may have additional laws and
regulations that apply in their jurisdiction. For example, provinces
are responsible for regulating hunting. They may put restrictions on
where hunting can take place and on the caliber or gauge of
firearms that may be used for hunting particular game.
Do the licensing and
registration requirements apply
to bows?
 Crossbows that can be aimed and fired with one hand and
crossbows with an overall length of 500 mm or less are
prohibited. You cannot lawfully possess or acquire a
prohibited crossbow.
 You do not need a valid licence or registration certificate to
possess any other type of bow, including a crossbow that is
longer than 500 mm and that requires the use of both
hands. Criminal Code provisions making it an offence to
acquire a crossbow without a valid licence were never
brought into force.
 If you plan to use a bow to hunt, please check provincial
hunting regulations for information on hunting licence
requirements and restrictions that may apply to the use of
bows. For example, some provinces do not allow crossbows
for hunting.
What is the maximum number of
cartridges that a firearm magazine can
legally hold?
 As set out in Criminal Code Regulations, some large-capacity
magazines are prohibited regardless of the class of firearm
to which the magazines are attached. As a general rule, the
maximum magazine capacity is:
 5 cartridges for most magazines designed for a semiautomatic centre-fire long gun; or
 10 cartridges for most handgun magazines
 A large-capacity magazine is not prohibited if it has been
permanently altered so that it cannot hold more than the
number of cartridges allowed by law. Acceptable ways to
alter a magazine are set out in the regulations.
 There is no limit to the magazine capacity for semiautomatic rim-fire long guns, or for other long guns that are
not semi-automatics.
Using a weapon under 18
 Those under 18 years of age are not permitted to bring
firearms into Canada or to acquire firearms by any means,
even as a gift, but they are allowed to use them under some
circumstances.
Minor’s Licence
 A minor’s licence permits the borrowing of non-restricted
firearms (ordinary rifles and shotguns) for the following
activities:
 target practice
 organized shooting competitions
 hunting
 being instructed in the use of firearms
 A minor's licence also permits the acquisition of
ammunition, unless there is an age restriction under
provincial or territorial law.
Using a weapon under 18
As a general rule, the following requirements must be met to be eligible
for a minor's licence:
 The applicant must be at least 12 years old. If they are younger
than 12, they may obtain a minor's licence only if they are Canadian
residents and their Chief Firearms Officer (CFO) determines they
need to hunt or trap to sustain themselves or their family. They
must pass the Canadian Firearms Safety Course tests before
they apply for a licence. However, an exception may be made if they
are Canadian residents and need to hunt or trap in order to sustain
themselves or their family. The Chief Firearms Officer will decide if a
minor qualifies as a sustenance hunter.
 As per Section 7 of the Firearms Act, individuals under 18 must
complete the Canadian Firearms Safety Course and pass the test in
order to get a licence. They are not eligible to challenge and attempt
to pass the test without taking the course.
 Individuals younger than 18 years of age are not eligible to hold a
licence authorizing them to possess prohibited or restricted firearms.
Firearm Offences in the
Criminal Code
 Weapons Dangerous:
 For the Crown to prove that you are guilty of possessing a
weapon for a purpose dangerous to the public peace, the
Crown must prove that: (a) the defendant possessed a
“weapon”, (b) the defendant knew that what was possessed
was a “weapon”, and (c) the defendant had the weapon for a
purpose dangerous to the public peace. Note, the Crown does
not have to prove that the defendant was necessarily holding
the weapon him/herself: possession can exist if the defendant
knowingly had a weapon in the possession of someone else or
at some other place if the defendant exercised control over it.
For this reason, often several people may “possess” a weapon
at the same time. A central issue in Weapons Dangerous
cases is the purpose for which the weapon was possessed.
Firearms Offences in the
Criminal Code
Carry Concealed Weapon:
 To find someone guilty of carrying a
concealed weapon, the Crown must prove
that: (a) the defendant carried a “weapon”,
(b) the weapon was concealed, and (c) the
defendant meant to conceal the weapon.
Assuming that the object in question can be
proven to be a weapon, to prove (b), the
Crown must prove that it was hidden from
view.
Firearm Offences
 There are numerous different types of firearm offences. These
can generally be divided into two types of categories: “use”
offences and “possession” offences. Under the “use firearm”
category, offences include: Using Firearm in the Commission
of an Offence and Careless Use of a Firearm and Pointing a
Firearm. Under the “possession” category, offences include:
Possession of a Weapon for a Dangerous Purpose, Carry
Concealed Weapon, Unauthorized Possession of a Firearm,
Unauthorized Possession in a Motor Vehicle, and Possession
of a Prohibited or Restricted Firearm with Ammunition. Again,
all of the offences can be found in the Criminal Code of
Canada:
http://www.canlii.org/en/ca/laws/stat/rsc-1985-c-c46/latest/rsc-1985-c-c-46.html.
Firearm Offences
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Use Firearm in Commission of an Offence:
In terms of the offence of “using a firearm while committing an offence, the
Crown must prove that: (a) the defendant committed/attempted to commit a
particular offence, (b) the defendant used a firearm, and (c) the defendant
used the firearm while committing/attempting to commit the particular offence.
Careless Use of a Firearm:
To prove “careless use of firearm”, the Crown must prove that: (a) the
defendant used a firearm, (b) the defendant used the firearm in a careless
manner, and (c) the defendant had no lawful excuse for that use of the firearm.
Firearms obviously have the potential to cause serious injury or death and that
is why there are strict laws relating to how an individual has control over the
firearm. The law prohibits the control of firearms that does anything but show
respect for a firearm’s harm. “Careless use” occurs where there is a marked
departure from the standard of care that a reasonably prudent person would
exercise in the same circumstances.
Obscenity
 The state or quality of being obscene.2.
Indecency, lewdness, or offensiveness in
behavior, expression, or appearance.3.
Something, such as a word, act, or expression,
that is indecent or lewd.4. Something that is
offensive or repulsive to the senses: "What had
once been a gentle hill covered with lush grass
turned into a brown obscenity of bare earth and
smoke" (Tom Clancy).
Obscenity
 Section 163 makes it an offense to produce, publish or distribute
obscene things or crime comics.
 Section 163(1)(a) is very broadly worded to prohibit all phases of the
making, printing, publication, distribution and circulation, and the
possession of obscene things, with the intention of doing any of the
prohibited activities. The prohibited class of obscene things is
expansive, covering written material, pictures, models, records or
"any other thing whatsoever". Section 163(8) provides the sole
definition of what is deemed to be obscene. It states that if a
dominant characteristic of the publication is the undue exploitation
of sex, or the combination of sex and at least one of crime, horror,
cruelty or violence. The acts described within the section have
received a broad interpretation, as reflected, for example, by a
decision stating that the display of such objects in plain view within a
store amounts to publication.
Obscenity
 Section 163(1)(b), which deals with crime comics, prohibits many
aspects of the publication process including the distribution and sale
of crime comics, or their possession for such purposes. Section
163(7) defines what constitutes a crime comic.
 Section 163(5) makes the accused's motives irrelevant. Subsection (6)
purports to state that it is no defense that the accused was ignorant of
the nature or presence of obscene content of the thing or of the crime
comic. However, decisions made under the Canadian Charter of
Rights and Freedoms have held that this subsection is
unconstitutional and have established that it is a defense if the
accused made an honest and reasonable mistake of fact. A mistake
of law, which causes the accused to believe that the material he or she
knows the nature or presence of is not obscene or a crime comic, is
not a defense.
Obscenity
 Section 163(2) makes it an offense to knowingly and without lawful
justification or excuse engage in any of the acts listed in this subsection,
which relate to obscenity, indecent objects, drugs and other things used to
induce (or said to be useful to induce) abortions or miscarriages, and a
number of other specified sex related materials.
 Section 163(3) provides a defense if the accused establishes that the acts
which make out the offense under this section served the public good, and
extended no further than what was required to achieve that objective.
Subsection (4) states that whether an act served the public good, and whether
there is any evidence that the act extended beyond what was required to
achieve that end, are questions of law. That means that in a jury trial these
issues would be determined by the trial judge. However, the subsection also
provides that if it is determined that there is some evidence, the decision as to
whether the act actually extended beyond what was needed to achieve the
public good is a question of fact and will, therefore, be determined by the
trier of fact.
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Corruption of Children
 Children are not allowed to be procured for
position or for any sexual activity
prohibited by the Criminal Code.
Abandonment of Children
 Every one who unlawfully abandons or exposes a child who is under
the age of ten years, so that its life is or is likely to be endangered or
its health is or is likely to be permanently injured,
 (a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a
term not exceeding five years; or
 (b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction and
liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding eighteen months.
 R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 218; 2005, c. 32, s. 12.
 Prior to 2005, the maximum imprisonment was 2 years for either a
summary conviction or for an indictable offence.
Abandonment of Babies
 Baby abandonment is legal in most of the world in
various forms.
 In Canada, we have seen infrequent cases of parents
abandoning their newborn children, usually mothers. In
each case, the police and provincial attorneys general
have publicly announced that they will not prosecute the
mothers for child abandonment of newborn babies even
though it is a Criminal Code of Canada offence.
 These baby abandonment laws elsewhere are commonly
referred to as "safe haven laws", " baby Moses laws" or in
Europe, "hatchery laws".
Fraud
 In criminal law, a fraud is an intentional deception made
for personal gain or to damage another individual; the
related adjective is fraudulent
Fraud
What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft refers to the preparatory stage of acquiring and
collecting someone else's personal information for criminal
purposes. As of January 8, 2010, Senate Bill S-4 became
law, making it illegal to possess another person's identity
information for criminal purposes.
What is Identity Fraud?
Identity fraud is the actual deceptive use of the identity
information of another person (living or dead) in
connection with various frauds (including for example
personating another person and the misuse of debit card or
credit card data).
Facts on Fraud
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Facts
Identity theft techniques can range from unsophisticated, such as
dumpster diving and mail theft, to more elaborate schemes.
Technology, mainly the Internet, facilitates more elaborate schemes,
such as skimming, phishing, and hacking as criminals gather profiles
of potential victims. Computer spywares and viruses, designed to
help thieves acquire personal information, are an emerging trend.
Victims of identity theft or fraud can experience financial loss and
difficulty obtaining credit or restoring their "good name".
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) maintains statistics on the
complaints they receive.
In 2009, the CACF received identity fraud reports from 11,095
Canadian victims, totaling a loss of more than 10 million dollars.
This represents an increase of more than 1 million dollars of what
was reported in 2008. Payment card fraud was the most commonly
reported incident, and yet, many instances of identity theft and
fraud go unreported.
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Hot Topics in Canadian Law