Getting Tough on Crime
December 10, 2021

Our Government recently announced further legislation to get tough on crime. The new legislation addresses issues such as identity theft, the production of and trafficking of illegal drugs, and the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA). By addressing these important issues, our Government is continuing to deliver on what is important to Canadians – the safety and security of their families and communities.

Modern technology has changed the criminal landscape, as a result of new and rapidly-evolving technologies making identity theft easier than ever for criminals. This has resulted in Canadians becoming more susceptible to this form of crime. The new legislation aims to protect Canadians from identity theft by giving police the tools they need to stop this activity before the damage is done. The proposed legislation would create three new offences directly targeting aspects of the identity theft problem, all subject to five-year maximum sentences for: 1) obtaining or possessing identity information with intent to use it to commit certain crimes; 2) trafficking in identity information with knowledge of its intended use in the commission of certain crimes; and 3) unlawfully possessing and trafficking in government-issued identity documents.

Drug producers and dealers who threaten the safety of our communities must face tougher penalties. This is why our Government is moving to impose mandatory jail time for serious drug offences that involve organized crime, violence, or youth. The new legislation proposes mandatory prison sentences, when for example: the offence of trafficking is carried out for organized crime purposes or a weapon or violence is involved; the drug is sold to youth or the trafficking offence takes place near a school or an area normally frequented by youth; and the production of the illegal drug constitutes a potential security, health, or safety hazard to children or a residential community. In addition to the proposed mandatory prison sentences, the maximum penalties for drug production are also increased from 7 to 14 years. Mandatory sentences send a clear message to potential offenders which is grow-ops and drug labs located in residential neighbourhoods, selling drugs to youth, or trafficking near schools will not be tolerated and offenders will be punished.

Our Government also introduced legislation to include deterrence and denunciation as principles of sentencing and to strengthen pre-trial detention within the YCJA. Our Government is committed to responding to the problems posed by youth crime and to using fair and appropriate measures to hold young people accountable when they break the law. This legislation will amend the YCJA to allow the courts to consider deterrence and denunciation as objectives of youth sentences. The change would allow judges to impose punishments with the objective of deterring and denouncing for serious crimes committed by youth. The proposed legislation would change the current pre-trial detention provision in the YCJA, making it easier to detain youth in custody prior to their trials if the youth pose a risk to public safety.

Our Government has remained committed to making our streets and communities safer through substantial improvements to the justice system. The proposed changes address some of the most important and challenging issues we face in Canada today. Once passed, these laws send a strong message to criminals and young offenders – their crimes won’t be tolerated and they will be punished.