Sexual Offender Information Registration Act (SOIRA)

SOIRA establishes a database called the National Sex Offender Registry accessible to Canadian police services. The database provides information regarding persons convicted of offences of a sexual nature and identifies all such registered offenders living within a particular geographic area. The National Sex Offender Registry includes the following information regarding the offender:

As of April 15, 2011, Judges no longer have discretion with respect to whether or not to order a person convicted of certain designated offences to comply with the registration provisions of SOIRA.

Pursuant to the provisions of Section 490.012(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada, when a court imposes a sentence on a person for certain designated offences, or finds a person not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder for such an offence, the court must make an order requiring the person to comply with the provisions of SOIRA for a period of 10 years or 20 years or for the remainder of the person's life, depending upon the maximum term of imprisonment for the offence and the number of offences of which the person is convicted, as prescribed in Section 490.013. An application by the Crown prosecutor for such an order is not required.

The designated offences requiring the mandatory SOIRA order are listed in Section 490.011(1)(a) and are as follows:

In addition, Section 490.012(2) provides that when a court imposes a sentence on a person for certain additional designated offences, the court must, on application of the Crown prosecutor, make an order requiring the person to comply with the provisions of SOIRA if the Crown prosecutor establishes beyond a reasonable doubt that the person committed the offence with the intent to commit a further sexual-related offence. Section 490.014 provides a right of appeal with respect to an order made pursuant to Section 490.012(2). There is no right of appeal with respect to an order made pursuant to Section 490.012(2).

The additional designated offences are listed in Section 490.011(1)(b) and are as follows:

Section 348(1)(e) breaking and entering a place other than a dwelling house and committing an indictable offence

Section 490.012 has been interpreted as not applying to a person that is granted an absolute or conditional discharge. In other words, a person who is granted an absolute or conditional discharge cannot be ordered by the Judge to comply with the provisions of SOIRA.

Every person against whom a SOIRA order is made must do the following:

Section 490.015 permits a person, who is subject to an order to comply with SOIRA, to apply for a termination of the order after the expiry of specified time periods determined by the duration of the SOIRA order. Also, a person may apply for a termination of the SOIRA order once the person receives a pardon or once a Record Suspension is granted. Further information on obtaining a Record Suspension is available here.

It is a criminal offence for a person who is subject to a SOIRA order to not comply with the provisions of the SOIRA order.

It appears that young persons, as defined in the Youth Criminal Justice Act, will not be subject to a mandatory SOIRA order unless sentenced as an adult and the court makes a SOIRA order.

Ontario Sex Offender Registry

Persons charged with sexual offences should be aware that there is also provincial legislation that creates an Ontario Sex Offender Registry and requires anyone convicted of a designated sex offence (or found not criminally responsible for such an offence on account of mental disorder) to register with the police as a designated sex offender for a period of 10 years or for life, depending on the nature and number of convictions involved.

Section 3 of the legislation sets out that an offender is required to report to the police in person and is required to do so within 15 days of:

In addition, offenders are required to report annually.

Section 7 of the legislation provides that the reporting obligation continues for a period of 10 years (where the maximum sentence for the sex offence in question is 10 years or less) or for life (where the maximum sentence is more than 10 years or the offender has been convicted of more than one sex offence).

A "sex offence" for purposes of the legislation is broadly defined. It includes convictions for the following offences:

In addition, it includes offences that were the predecessors of some of the foregoing offences, such as rape, indecent assault, gross indecency, and sexual intercourse with a female under the age of 14 or between the ages of 14 and 16.

The legislation does not apply to persons convicted of sex offences under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

Subsection 3(2) of the legislation requires the offender, on presentation, to provide the police with satisfactory proof of his or her identity, name, date of birth and address, and such other information as may be prescribed. Pursuant to Subsection 2(2) of Ontario Regulation 69/01, that other information includes particulars of aliases used; proof of current address and mailing address (if different); home, personal, and business telephone and fax numbers; employment and volunteer work addresses; the name and addresses of any educational institutions where the offender is or has enrolled, attended, or worked; and any changes in the foregoing information. It also requires the offender to provide an up-to-date photograph.

Section 2 of the Regulations sets out in detail what information may be included in the Ontario Sex Offender Registry. This includes not only the information provided by the offender, but additional information obtained from the provincial and federal governments. Together this information forms the "cumulative and permanent record" of the Registry. The list of additional information provided for in Section 2 is lengthy. It includes, but is not limited to, particulars about an offender's convictions and sentences, the circumstances of the sex offences, fingerprint registration, and details about an offender's registration under the federal Sex Offender Information Registration Act (SOIRA).

The central difference between the provincial and federal legislation is that the provincial legislation does not contain an exemption or termination process. It appears, however, that an offender who has received a pardon or Criminal Record Suspension may apply to be deleted from the Ontario Sex Offender Registry.

The preceding information is set out in the Sex Offender Registry, 2000, S.O. 2000, c.1 and 2001, 0. Reg. 69/01, s. 1 which came into force on April 23, 2001