Protecting Canadians from Barbaric Cultural Practices
November 5, 2014 — Ottawa — Today, Canada’s Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander announced the tabling of legislation that will strengthen Canadian laws to prevent barbaric cultural practices from happening on Canadian soil.

The Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act sends a clear message to individuals coming to this country that harmful and violent cultural practices are unacceptable in Canada. These practices are incompatible with Canadian values and will not be tolerated.

The Act would amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), the Civil Marriage Act and the Criminal Code. It would provide more protection and support for vulnerable immigrants—primarily women and girls—including:

Creating a new inadmissibility under IRPA that would render permanent residents and temporary residents inadmissible if they practise polygamy in Canada;
Strengthening Canadian marriage laws by amending the Civil Marriage Act to codify the existing legal requirements, at the national level, for “free and enlightened consent” and establishing a new national minimum age for marriage of 16;
Helping to protect potential victims of early or forced marriages by creating a new specific court-ordered peace bond to be used where there are grounds to fear that a person would commit a forced or early marriage offence, including the mandatory surrendering of a passport to prevent a child from being taken out of the country to facilitate a forced marriage;
Criminalizing certain conduct related to early and forced marriage ceremonies in the Criminal Code, including the act of removing a child from Canada for the purpose of such marriage;
Limiting the defence of provocation so that it would not apply in so-called “honour” killings and many spousal homicides; and
Including consequential amendments to the Prisons and Reformatories Act and the Youth Criminal Justice Act to include the aforementioned peace bond.
These changes build upon existing federal initiatives that are providing vital support, protection and services for newcomers to Canada, specifically women and girls.

Source: CIC Press Release Nov 5 2014

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