On Tuesday, Rob Nicholson, Canada’s Minister of Justice was joined by Minister Paradis and Senator Boisvenu to announce legislative amendments that would strengthen the way the young offenders system deals with violent and repeat young offenders.
This bill is entitled Sébastien’s Law, in memory of Sébastien Lacasse. It honours his parents, Line and Luc and other courageous families who have fought tirelessly for the rights of victims and to make a difference in the lives of others.
The proposed amendments to the young offenders legislation would:
- Make the protection of Canadian communities a primary goal;
- Simplify the rules to keep violent and repeat young offenders off the streets while awaiting trial, when necessary to protect society;
- Require the courts to consider adult sentences for youth convicted of the most serious and violent crimes – murder, attempted murder, manslaughter and aggravated assault;
- Allow the courts to give more appropriate sentences to other violent and repeat offenders – using existing sanctions in a way that would discourage a young offender from offending again; seeking a custodial sentence when necessary; imposing a custodial sentence for behaviours that puts the lives of other community members at risk; and
- Require the courts to publish the name of a violent young offender if necessary for the protection of society.
In cases when young offenders have been convicted of the most serious crimes, the provinces and territories will still have the discretion to set an age of requirement to consider adult sentences. This legislation would also ensure that offenders under the age of 18 who have been sentenced to custody will be placed in youth facilities – even if they receive adult sentences.
Canadians deserve to feel safe and secure in their communities. In bringing forward this bill, our Conservative Government is working to keep Canadians safe, and acknowledging the sacrifices of all Canadian families who have experienced youth violence.