Under the Criminal Code (“CC”), when convicted of certain offences (ex. sexual interference, invitation to sexual touching, child pornography, sexual assault, etc.), an offender will be ordered to comply with the Sex Offender Information Registration Act (“SOIRA”).
A SOIRA order involves mandatory reporting to a registration centre:
– upon the Order or their release from prison
– once a year thereafter
– after any change in address(es) or name, or receiving a driver’s licence or passport
– before and after any departures of 7 or more days
Reporting to a registration centre involves reporting the following information:
– name, date of birth, gender, address(es), phone number
– height, weight, and distinguishing marks
– addresses of employment, volunteer, or education
– vehicle licence plate, make, model, body type, year, and colour
– driver’s licence number and passport number
SOIRA orders can last for 10 years, 20 years, or life, depending on the circumstances of the offence.
Recent Changes to SOIRA Orders
The Supreme Court of Canada recently made changes to SOIRA orders in the case of R v Ndhlovu.
The decision specifically dealt with 2 provisions of the Criminal Code:
– section 490.012: mandatory SOIRA orders for offenders convicted of designated offences (regardless of length, whether it be 10 years, 20 years, or lifetime)
– section 490.013(2.1): lifetime SOIRA orders for offenders convicted of multiple offences
The Supreme Court found both sections to be unconstitutional.
The lifetime law was immediately removed from the Criminal Code, and anyone who received a lifetime SOIRA order in the past can apply to have them varied to 10 or 20 years.
However, the mandatory law, while unconstitutional, was allowed to stay in the Criminal Code for 1 year, giving Parliament time to re-write the law in a way that is constitutional. This also means that anyone who got a mandatory order in the past, or who gets one in the next year, is not entitled to have them automatically lifted.
The Supreme Court still left open an option for those who receive a mandatory SOIRA order though. An offender can make an Application (*but no guarantee the Court will grant it*) arguing that the mandatory imposition of their SOIRA order was unconstitutional and should therefore be lifted, if they can prove the following:
1) They are not at an increased risk to reoffend; and/or
2) The compliance with their SOIRA registrations has been especially onerous
Contact us if you have more questions about varying your SOIRA order.