Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act


Over the past several months you may have seen Internet chatter about a new Canadian “tip line” on social media, pertaining to the Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act. This act was passed as Bill S-7 by the Conservative-majority Parliament in June 2015, and received royal assent. Officially, the law is “An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, the Civil Marriage Act and the Criminal Code and to make consequential amendments to other Acts”. The title of the act has been seen as insensitive at best (and racially charged at worst). Though the campaign promise made by the previous government to establish a Canada-wide “tip line” to support the Act does not appear to be on the agenda of the current government, the Bill itself is still becoming law. Here is what you need to know about Bill S-7 :

Part one of the act, which amends the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, makes any foreign national or permanent resident inadmissible to Canada if they are found to have engaged in polygamy on Canadian soil (the practice of being married to more than one individual).

Part two of the act, which amends the Civil Marriage Act, creates new legal requirements for a person’s consent to marriage, including new requirements regarding the dissolution of previous marriages before executing a new one. It also sets the minimum age for marriage in Canada at 16 years of age.

Part three, which amends the Criminal Code, clarifies the Code to ensure it is a criminal offense for an officiant to knowingly wed two people in contravention of federal law, that it is a criminal offense to knowingly “celebrate, aid or participate in a marriage rite or ceremony” for someone beneath the age of 16, that it is a criminal offense to remove a child from Canada in order to contravene these laws, that a judge can “order a person to enter into a recognizance with conditions” that prevent that person from breaching these laws, as well as amendments to the Prisons and Reformatories Act and the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

You can read the full Bill here at the Parliament of Canada’s website.

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