A Prohibition Order, as outlined in section 161 of the Criminal Code, is an order placed on individuals convicted of certain designated sexual offences involving persons under the age of 16. Designated sexual offences include (among others) child pornography offences, invitation to sexual touching, sexual interference, incest, making sexually explicit material available to a child, sexual assault with a weapon, threats to a third party or causing bodily harm, and sexual assault.

What does a Prohibition Order Prohibit?

When an offender is convicted of a designated sexual offence, the sentencing court may order the offender to refrain from:

  • Attending public parks or swimming areas where persons under the age of 16 are present or can reasonably be expected to be present, daycare centres, schoolgrounds, playgrounds or community centres;
  • Being within two kilometers, or any other distance specified in the order, of any dwelling-house where the victim identified in the order ordinarily resides or of any other place specified in the order;
  • Seeking, obtaining or continuing any employment whether or not the employment is renumerated, or becoming or being a volunteer in a capacity, that involves being in a position or trust or authority towards a person under the age of 16 years;
  • Having any contact – including communicating by any means – with a person who is under the age of 16, unless the offender does so under the supervision of a person whom the court considers appropriate; or
  • Using the Internet or other digital network unless the offender does so in accordance with conditions set out by the court.

What Happens if I Breach the Order?

An individual who breaches a section 161 order may be charged under section 161(4) of the Code with a criminal offence. An accused who is convicted of breaching a section 161 order will face a maximum of four years in prison if the Crown proceeds by indictment and a maximum of two years less a day in prison and/or up to a $5,000 fine if the Crown proceeds summarily.

How Long does the Order Remain in Effect?

A section 161 Prohibition Order will remain in effect for as long as the sentencing court deems desirable, including for life. Where the order’s duration is not for life, the order will begin on the day the order is made. Where the accused is sentenced to a period of incarceration, the order will begin on the date the offender is released from custody, including release from parole, mandatory supervision, or statutory release.

Can the Order be Varied?

After an order is made, or where no order is made, the offender and the prosecutor both have the right to apply to have another court of equivalent jurisdiction review the decision. Once an application is made both the offender and prosecutor may come before the court to present submissions on why the order should or should not be varied.

After hearing from both parties, the court may choose to vary the order if it is satisfied that the variation is desirable because of some change in circumstance that did not exist when the order was originally imposed.