Sex Offender Orders
Section 490.012 of the Criminal Code stipulates that when an offender is sentenced for a designated offence, the court shall order the offender to register under the Sex Offender Information Registration Act (SOIRA).
What is the Sex Offender Information Registration Act?
The Sex Offender Information Registration Act is the piece of federal legislation that established Canada’s national sex offender registry. The purpose of the Act is to help law enforcement investigate and prevent sexual crimes by requiring those who have been convicted of sexual offences to register and provide certain information about themselves to the government.
What is a SOIRA Order?
A SOIRA order is an order made by the sentencing court when an offender is being sentenced for a designated offence, ordering the offender to register under the Sex Offender Information Registration Act. A list of designated offences is contained in section 490.011 of the Criminal Code.
When is a SOIRA Order Issued?
Where an offender is being sentenced for a primary designated offence (s. 490.011(a)), a SOIRA order is mandatory. Where an offender is being sentenced for a secondary designated offence (s. 490.011(b), whether the order is made is within the discretion of the sentencing court. Where the offender is being sentenced for a secondary designated offence, both the Crown and defence counsel will have an opportunity during sentencing to make submissions on whether the offender should be ordered to register as a sex offender.
How long does a SOIRA Order Last?
Section 490.013 of the Criminal Code outlines the possible duration of SOIRA orders. Where an offender is being sentenced for a summary conviction offence or where the maximum term of imprisonment for the offence is two or five years, the order will remain active for 10 years. Where an offender is being sentenced for an offence for which the maximum term of imprisonment is 10 years or 14 years, the order will remain active for 20 years. Where an offender is being sentenced for an offence for which the maximum penalty is life imprisonment, the order will remain active for life. An offender who is being sentenced for a designated offence for a second or subsequent time will be required to register as a sex offender for life.
Can a SOIRA Order be Cancelled?
An offender who has been issued a SOIRA order after being sentenced for a sexual offence may apply to the court to have the order cancelled after a period of time. Where the order was set to expire after 10 years, the offender may apply to have it lifted after a period of five years. Where the order was set to expire after 20 years, the offender may apply to have it lifted after 10 years. If the order was set to remain active for life, the offender may apply to have it lifted after 20 years. An individual who has more than one SOIRA order active at one time may apply to have both orders lifted 20 years after the most recent order.
Who can View the Sex Offender Registry List?
The list of sexual offenders maintained under the Sex Offender Information Registration Act is not available to the general public. Law enforcement agencies have access to this information, otherwise it is kept confidential.
What is Required of an Offender once they have been Issued a SOIRA Order?
Pursuant to section 4(1) of the Sex Offender Information Registration Act, an offender who has been convicted of a designated offence must report to a designated registration centre to register. The offender is required to report in person and cannot leave Canada until they have reported to the registration centre. After the first report, the offender is required to continue to report within 7 days after
- changing their primary or secondary residence
- changing their first or last name
- after receiving a driver’s license
- after receiving a passport
The offender will also be required to report once yearly, any time between 11 months and one year from their last report. For example, if the first report was January 1, 2022, the offender may make their second appearance any time during the month of December 2023.
During reporting at the registration centre, the offender will be required to provide the following information
- their name and any alias they use
- their date of birth and gender
- the address to their primary or secondary residence
- the address of every place they are employed or volunteer at and the name of their employer or volunteer supervisor
- if applicable, their status as an officer or non-commissioned member of the Canadian Forces
- the address of every educational institution in which they are enrolled
- the telephone number at which they can be reached at all their locations of residence, employment, or volunteer work
- the make, model, body type, year, and colour of their vehicle as well as license plate number
- their driver’s license number from every issuing jurisdiction in which they hold a license
- their passport number and the name of the issuing jurisdiction of every passport they hold.
What Happens an Offender Breaches their SOIRA Order?
An offender who breaches their SOIRA order may be arrested and charged with a criminal offence for failing to comply with a court order.
More Legal Information
In criminal cases, there are very strict rules governing what evidence can be used and how it can be used.
The rights enjoyed of all those within Canada are contained in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Criminal procedure is the process by which an accused person is arrested and brought through the justice system.
Sentencing refers to the punishment that is ordered when an individual is found guilty of a criminal offence.