Tackling Organized Crime

August 09, 2021
Ottawa Journal (August 09 – August 13, 2021)
David Tilson, M.P. (Dufferin-Caledon)

Since forming government in 2006, our Government has been serious about protecting Canadians from the threat of organized crime. We have passed several important pieces of legislation making our streets and communities safer and most recently, we announced additional tough new measures to target organized crime.
Our Government recognizes that criminal groups heavily depend on the revenue they receive from certain crimes, such as large-scale illegal gambling, prostitution rings and certain drug-related crimes, to fund their vast and violent criminal activities. On August 4th, the Honourable Rob Nicholson, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, accompanied by Senator Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu, took action against this problem when they announced new regulations to strengthen the ability of law enforcement to fight organized crime.

Under current legislation, some criminal acts committed by organized crime do not meet the definition of “serious offence” under subsection 467.1(1) of the Criminal Code because these acts aren’t indictable offences punishable by sentences of five years or more. This means the police and prosecutors are often unable to use specific and appropriate sections of the Criminal Code offences that prohibit organized crime activity or the many select tools and procedures available in organized crime investigations and prosecutions such as peace bonds, bail, wiretaps, proceeds of crime, and parole eligibility.

The new regulations announced by our Government would target crimes typically associated with organized criminal gangs and make them “serious offences” under the criminal code. Police and prosecutors will now have the appropriate tools to better respond to organized crime and ensure that penalties are proportionate to the increased threat to public safety that organized crime activities present. This action is supported by all provincial and territorial justice ministers.
To-date, our Government has taken definitive legislative action to fight organized crime including:
  • making all murders committed in connection with organized crime first-degree murders;
  • creating a new offence to target drive-by and other reckless shootings;
  • strengthening the gang peace bond provisions;
  • creating new offences to target identity theft;
  • toughening bail provisions and penalties for crimes that are committed with guns and are linked to organized crime;
  • eliminating the availability of conditional sentences for persons convicted of certain criminal organization offences;
  • proposing mandatory penalties for organized drug crimes; and,
  • proposing new offences to target auto theft and the trafficking of property obtained by crime.
Our Government is committed to tackling all forms of crime. The new regulations targeting organized crime are an additional step to help keep dangerous criminals behind bars and thus, keep our communities safer.