Ministers discussed the following issues at the meeting:
Ministers agreed to continue discussions on a draft Prosecution Protocol for implementing the Anti-Terrorism Act. Ministers agreed to continue work to share information, consider costs and coordination issues and collaborate on training and data collection issues.
In regards to Bill C-42, Provincial and Territorial Ministers expressed their general support for new simulated terrorism (hoax) offence provisions and expressed concern that in some instances, Bill C-42 provisions reach into provincial jurisdiction. Minister Cauchon reassured his provincial and territorial counterparts that the federal government would examine and evaluate their concerns and would look positively at provincial and territorial proposals to enhance simulated terrorism provisions.
Some Ministers urged the establishment of a new and separate offence for home invasions in the Criminal Code.
Minister Cauchon noted that Bill C-15A, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to amend other Acts, which is currently before the Senate, includes a provision that requires stiffer penalties for home invasions, and that it is preferable to gain some experience with this new provision before enacting further legislation.
Ministers discussed cost-sharing and the timing of the coming into force of the Youth Criminal Justice Act. A target date of April 2003 for the new Act to come into force was agreed to by all jurisdictions with the exception of Quebec which is contesting the constitutionality of the law in the court. Concerns were expressed about implementation of some aspects of the legislation and a unanimous provincial-territorial resolution was tabled to this effect. The Minister of Justice took note of provincial and territorial concerns regarding funding issues.
Ministers discussed options for legislative amendments to the Criminal Code to create two new offences concerning acts of criminal voyeurism and distributing voyeurism material (visual images), such as through the Internet.
It was agreed to consult interest groups on the details of proposed legislation over the next few months and Minister Cauchon would attempt to put legislation before Parliament this year.
Ministers discussed a range of topics concerning sentencing, including conditional sentencing, intermittent sentencing reform, mandatory minimum sentencing and sentencing guidelines.
In response to provincial and territorial concerns, Minister Cauchon indicated that the best approach would be to get more data on conditional sentencing from a national survey on its use being carried out by Statistics Canada and from the study of conditional sentencing by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.
Ministers raised safety and cost concerns relating to intermittent sentencing. It was agreed to organize a round table discussion with Justice system experts to review policy issues and options relating to intermittent sentencing.
Effective sentencing is a concern to all Canadians and will remain a standing agenda item for Ministers.
Sex Offender Registry
Ministers discussed further measures to create a national approach to sex offender registration for police use. The RCM Police representatives made a presentation on a new way of recording information in the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC).
Ministers reviewed a report concerning sex offender registries. Deputy Ministers will discuss detailed requirements for this registry in June 2002. Minister MacAulay agreed to work as quickly as possible to make photographs available on CPIC as part of the ongoing CPIC Renewal Process.
Federal Ministers will attempt to bring forward legislation to support a national registration process in the same time-frame as completion of enhancements to CPIC, including the mandatory registration of specified offenders. Minister MacAulay asked that all jurisdictions work closely together to reach consensus on the legislation.
Ministers received a presentation from Project 6116 on the impact of auto theft in Canada.
Ministers concurred that vehicle immobilizer theft systems are effective in preventing automobile theft.
Ministers called upon Transport Canada and automobile and insurance industries to ensure that approved immobilizers are standard equipment on all vehicles as soon as practicable.
Ministers agreed to refer the issue of parole eligibility in regard to offences involving death, excluding first and second degree murder to senior FPT correctional officials (Heads of Corrections and Canadian Association of Paroling Authorities) for further review.
Resources for Organized Crime Cases
Ministers discussed various resource implications associated with prosecuting major organized crime cases. They agreed that an effective long-term strategy for financial assistance needs to be developed.
Minister Cauchon agreed to take the matter of the legal aid costs of these cases to his Cabinet colleagues later this year.
The Department of Justice Canada has prepared a document about preliminary inquiries that proposes options for review. Several jurisdictions support the abolition of the preliminary inquiry. Ministers supported the continuation of the review and asked that officials report to their deputy ministers in June 2002.
Federal Funding for Family Justice Services
Provincial and Territorial Ministers sought a restatement of the commitment to seek funding for their jurisdictions. Minister Cauchon stated that a comprehensive approach to Custody and Access reform should ensure that interests of children come first. He also reassured his counterparts that he agrees on the importance of family justice services of the provinces and territories.
Federal Ministers also provided status reports on proposed animal cruelty laws which are before the House of Commons, and hybridization of section 127 of the Criminal Code regarding disobeying court orders. Ministers expressed support for this legislation.
In addition some Ministers restated their concerns regarding gaps in DNA legislation and pressed for legislative amendments to be introduced as soon as possible. An interest in broadening the legislation was also expressed. Minister Cauchon advised that consultation on proposed amendments will be undertaken with key stakeholders.
Provincial and Territorial Ministers urged the expeditious introduction of legislative amendments to address these priority issues.
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