Categorized | Canadian Politics

Legislation protects vulnerable immigrant women and girls

Posted on 26 June 2015 by admin


Legislation strengthening laws to prevent barbaric cultural practices from occurring on Canadian soil received Royal Assent.

Tabled in the Senate on November 5, 2014 as Bill S-7, the Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act (the Act) provides improved protection and support for vulnerable individuals—primarily immigrant women and girls—including:

  • Creating a new measure under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) that will render permanent residents and temporary residents inadmissible to Canada if they practice polygamy;
  • Strengthening the Civil Marriage Act by codifying existing legal requirements at the national level for “free and enlightened consent” and establishing a new national absolute minimum age of 16 for marriage;
  • Criminalizing certain conduct related to early and forced marriage ceremonies, including the act of removing a child from Canada for the purpose of such marriages; and
  • Limiting the defence of provocation so that it would not apply in so-called “honour” killings and many spousal homicides. A new court-ordered peace bond will also be created to protect potential victims of early or forced marriages where there are grounds to fear that a person may commit a forced or early marriage offence.

The Civil Marriage Act amendments are now in effect, as they also came into force upon Royal Assent.

The successful passage of this piece of legislation reaffirms the Government of Canada’s ongoing efforts to end violence against women, and girls and sends a clear message that any form of harmful cultural practices is unacceptable and will not be tolerated in Canada.


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