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? 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 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. 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 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.