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MP Viersen Introduces the Bringing Home Justice for Victims of Serious Crimes Act

December 7, 2023


Ottawa, ON — Today, Arnold Viersen, Conservative Member of Parliament for Peace River—Westlock, introduced his Private Member’s Bill C-370, Bringing Home Justice for Victims of Serious Crimes Act, which provides law enforcement an important tool to overcome technological barriers when investigating serious crimes like child sexual exploitation, abduction and terrorism.

Bill C-370 provides the ability for a judge to make an order compelling a person to unlock an electronic device limited to a narrow range of serious offences solely in situations where law enforcement has already received a warrant to access the information on the device.

“There are few things more frustrating to law enforcement than to have the legal right to access potential evidence but the inability to actually access it due to the ‘virtually locked door’ of encryption,” said MP Arnold Viersen. “This can impede investigations on critical files such as child sexual exploitation and human trafficking. Encryption technology can deny justice to victims of these serious crimes, many of whom are children.”

“As technology continues to progress, Parliament must ensure law enforcement has the tools needed to secure justice. This legislation will give law enforcement a valuable tool previously unavailable to secure critical evidence for cases involving electronic devices,” said MP Viersen.

The Bill also creates a hybrid offence for the refusal to comply with the order that would result in penalties that parallel existing penalties for obstruction of justice.  



“In 2010, our Office released a special report on internet-facilitated child sexual abuse recommending that the federal government introduce legislation to amend the Criminal Code to make the refusal to provide a password or encryption code upon judicial order a criminal offence. Rapidly evolving technology can leave victims and those who protect them feeling like they are always one step behind those who intentionally exploit them online. Responsible authorities need new tools to help ensure the safety of Canadians.” – Dr. Benjamin Roebuck, Federal Ombudsperson for Victims of Crime

“The unfortunate reality is that our laws are often significantly slower to evolve to address technological advances than our members need when investigating modern crimes. Cell phones are ubiquitous tools for criminals, particularly in areas like child sexual exploitation and human trafficking. This proposed legislation would, where appropriate and independently authorized, give front-line police personnel the ability to better investigate certain serious crimes, and hold those offenders accountable. We look forward to working with Parliament to see this Bill debated and passed.”  – Tom Stamatakis, President, Canadian Police Association

“Little Warriors, a national charitable organization providing intensive, evidence-based treatment and clinical research on therapies for survivors of child sexual abuse, as well as prevention, advocacy and awareness, deals with horrific cases that traumatize Canada’s young people, causing immeasurable human suffering, negative effects on families and communities, and millions of dollars in preventable social service costs borne by tax paying Canadians. We call on Parliament to urgently further proposed legislation allowing public safety officers, including police, to gain the ability to unlock electronic devices of suspected perpetrators of child exploitation and sex trafficking. In fact, we urge any and all efforts to prevent and protect youth from all forms of child sexual abuse. The criminal code and public policy must catch up to the staggering rise in child sexual abuse and use of technology to offend in Canada. Every hour that heinous abusers are not stopped causes additional children and teens needless trauma resulting in preventable addictions, houselessness, self-harm, suicide and violence against others.” – Jennifer Martin, Chief Executive Officer, Little Warriors

“The International Justice Mission (IJM) supports Bill C-370 because lawful access to evidence will give survivors of child sexual exploitation the justice they deserve.  Just as offenders cannot thwart a search warrant of their home by refusing to unlock the door, they should not be able to deny law enforcement lawful access to their devices.” – John Tanagho, Executive Director, IJM’s Center to End Online Sexual Exploitation of Children