Joint Statement by Minister Lametti and Minister Ien on Bill C-28 on extreme intoxication receiving Royal Assent and coming into force
June 23, 2022 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Justice Canada
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The Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and the Honourable Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth, today issued the following statement:
“We are very pleased that Bill C-28 completed its legislative journey, has received Royal Assent, and has come into force. Members from all parties and groups in the House of Commons and Senate worked swiftly to close the gap in the law following the Supreme Court of Canada’s (SCC) decisions in R v. Brown and R v. Sullivan and Chan.
“The Criminal Code will now ensure that individuals who consume drugs and/or alcohol in a criminally negligent manner are held criminally responsible if they harm others while extremely intoxicated. The coming into force of this legislation is an important step toward ensuring that our criminal justice system supports victims and survivors of crime – women, children, and Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ persons. It sends a strong message that will hold offenders to account and keep communities safe.
“We are grateful for the support and expeditious passage of this Bill by all Parliamentarians. We thank our colleagues in the House of Commons and Senators for working together to ensure that our criminal justice system better supports victims and survivors of crime, while respecting Charter rights. We are grateful for the input of many stakeholders across Canada who contributed to the development of this change.
“Before and since the SCC decisions, being drunk or high continues to not be a defence to crimes of violence, including sexual assault, and the defence of extreme intoxication will generally not be relevant in cases involving alcohol alone.
“The Criminal Code now clearly states that any person who voluntarily consumes intoxicants in a criminally negligent manner, becomes extremely intoxicated and harms others will be held criminally responsible for such acts.
“The Government of Canada will continue to take action to maintain public confidence in the criminal justice system and support victims and survivors of crime. This legislation is one of several recent legislative reforms and programs the government has advanced to support victims and survivors of crime, including survivors of sexual assault.”
- Bill C-28 was introduced in the House of Commons on June 17, 2022, five weeks after the SCC decisions. It received all party support, with an agreement to further study the subject matter in the fall and was passed by the Senate. The Bill then received Royal Assent and came into force on June 23, 2022.
- Extreme intoxication akin to automatism is a state in which an individual has no awareness or voluntary control over their actions. The Supreme Court of Canada has said that, in general, alcohol alone cannot cause a state of automatism.
- The Federal Victims Strategy, led by Justice Canada, draws on specialized policy initiatives and Victims Fund project funding to increase access to justice for victims and survivors of crime and give victims of crime a more effective voice in the criminal justice system, and uphold victims’ rights, as outlined in the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights.
- Through Budget 2022, funding of $539.3 million over five years, starting in 2022-23, was provided to Women and Gender Equality Canada to enable provinces and territories to supplement and enhance services and supports within their jurisdictions to prevent gender-based violence and support survivors.
- The Judges Act and the Criminal Code were recently amended to ensure that sexual assault matters are decided fairly, without the influence of myths or stereotypes. Other changes to the Criminal Code addressed sexual assault laws dealing with consent, and expanded “rape shield” provisions clarifying how and when a complainant’s past sexual history can be entered as evidence during a trial. Together, these amendments sought to ensure that survivors of sexual assault and gender-based violence are treated with the utmost compassion and respect.
For more information, media may contact:
Office of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
Department of Justice Canada
Office of the Minister of Women and Gender Equality and Youth
Women and Gender Equality Canada
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