A Report to
British Columbians from
Attorney General Ujjal Dosanjh
Initiatives & Accomplishments:
tough action to reduce serious crime and protect the community
Honourable Ujjal Dosanjh says:
Columbians want violent and repeat offenders in jail, some
of them for life. That's why I've been lobbying the federal
government to make changes so we can better track people convicted
of serious crimes - including young offenders. It is one step
we are taking to make our communities safer for everyone."
in crime fighting technology; such as DNA testing, have significantly
improved the justice system's ability to bring dangerous individuals
to justice sooner."
is considering my proposal to raise the age of consent from
14 to 16. This means we can more easily apprehend the johns
and pimps who exploit children."
percentage of unsolved homicides in British Columbia has historically
been higher than the national average. Now, because of the
new unsolved homicide unit, the passage of time will no longer
protect those who think they've gotten away with their crimes."
often, the misuse of firearms causes tragic accidents and
deaths. We must reduce the number of guns in the community
and keep them out of high-risk situations."
is a leader in making use of the dangerous offender provisions
of the Criminal Code so high-risk violent criminals can
be imprisoned, indefinitely, if necessary.
set up the B.C. auto theft task force - 12 police specialists
who will work with police detachments in the Lower Mainland
to help catch and punish offenders. This pilot project may
be extended to other areas of the province in the future.
Hate Crime Team, formed in April 1997, has received 336
reports of crimes motivated by hate, racism or bias from
across B.C. Local police confirmed and investigated 231
of these reported incidents.
B.C. Hate Crime toll-free victim information line was established
in April 1997. It offers a confidential and anonymous way
for victims and witnesses to report incidents of hate activity.
provided $300,000 to buy a state-of-the art gene sequencer
for the province's DNA lab. This will reduce the time required
to carry out DNA analysis to five days from six weeks.
provided $500,000 to launch Canada's first forensic dental
lab at UBC. This lab uses the latest in dental forensics
to assist police in solving serious crimes.
- A joint
forces homicide unit to investigate unsolved murders in
B.C. was created in October 1996, and has already helped
lay charges in 20 cases. The 20 senior police officers in
the unit have access to all advanced police investigation
techniques including DNA testing and a forensic dental lab.
($1.2 million start-up funds were provided)
Provincial Prostitution Unit is recognized as a model across
Canada and the United States in supporting the police and
community to deal with prostitution and the sexual exploitation
of youth. Since its creation in 1996, it has been involved
in 43 arrests and charges against johns who sexually exploit
youth. This compares with eight charges laid between 1988
provided $60,000 in grants to 12 community action teams
on prostitution to help them address youth sexual exploitation
and local prostitution issues.
have had highly successful weapons amnesties in 1997 and
1998. During the six-week amnesty this year, 2,203 firearms
and 82,823 rounds of ammunition were turned in. Last year's
amnesty yielded 1,732 firearms and 67,339 rounds of ammunition.
1998 Drinking-Driving CounterAttack program is the longest
and most comprehensive police roadcheck campaign in Canada
with 120,000 hours of police enforcement.
are Canada's leader in using camera enforcement technology
for road safety. Our provincewide photo radar program, in
place for two years, is reducing speeds at high crash/high
1997, 29 fewer people were killed on our roads and 1,500
fewer people injured as compared with 1996, thanks to our
wide-ranging road safety activities.
General Ujjal Dosanjh continues to be a strong voice urging the
federal government to take action to protect Canadians by:
in the federal laws are needed so that all Canadians feel welcome
and safe, regardless of their ethnic origin."
up a national registry of high-risk, violent and sex offenders
- especially pedophiles - to give justice system staff and
the public accurate and timely information.
the proposed federal DNA legislation so police can take
DNA samples without a warrant from those accused of major
crimes at the time charges are laid.
transfer of more cases involving young violent offenders
to adult court.
technical barriers so statements young people make to persons
in authority are more readily admissible in court.
Attorney General has asked the federal government to protect
more groups with hate crime provisions, to make distributing
hate propaganda a crime, to establish a national definition
of hate literature and to look for ways to prevent the use
of the internet as a medium for hate crime and child pornography.
encouraged the federal government to toughen the Criminal
Code so police and prosecutors can use electronic surveillance
to crack down on johns who sexually exploit youth. In addition,
youth testifying against adults who have exploited them
can be protected now through the use of screens in court
or videotaped evidence.
Stopping violence against women and children
against women in relationships is one of the most serious
problems confronting society. It is not
a domestic or personal problem. It is a crime. It cannot be
tolerated for any reason."
are the future of this province. We must deliver programs
and services that help ensure they grow up in a safe and nurturing
environment, and we must take action when we suspect or discover
that they are being neglected or abused."
protection order registry, a central database of court orders,
has been strengthened to ensure police have immediate and
accurate information that can help protect women from violence.
with protection orders can now call toll-free, seven days
a week, 24 hours a day to confirm that their order has been
registered. They can also ask to be notified when a sentenced
offender named in an order will be released from a provincial
or federal jail in B.C., or will be released into B.C. under
supervision from a federal jail outside the province.
protection order registry and police databases must be checked
every time a firearm authorization, permit, licence or certificate
Attorney General launched an innovative partnership with
private corporations to give women at high risk of relationship
violence cell phones preprogrammed to dial 911. The project
was piloted in Vancouver and further expansion is being
were the first jurisdiction in Canada to require that every
person working with children in a provincially funded or
provincially licensed facility have a criminal record check.
established the Children's Commission, an independent agency
committed to protecting the rights of children. It has the
authority to investigate the death of any child in B.C.
and also oversees the child and family serving system of
government to promote fairness, accessibility and responsiveness
to the needs of children under the
age of 19.
the needs of victims
of crime have a right to be informed about the status of their
case and to be involved in the delivery of justice. That's why
B.C. has the most extensive network of victim service programs
in Canada, and the most comprehensive victim rights legislation.
By providing assistance to people when they most need it, these
programs can help heal and empower victims and their families."
have expanded the province's network of victim services
programs. There now are more than 150 programs across B.C.,
in addition to the province-wide toll-free Victim Assistance
15-per-cent victim surcharge on fines for all provincial
offences has provided more than $3 million in additional
funding for more than 100 existing and eight new programs.
for and implementation of the Victims of Crime Act continues,
giving victims specific rights to information and involvement
throughout the justice process.
Parole Board has set up a process to allow victims to make
impact statements in person, and the Attorney General has
urged the federal government to do the same.
justice for low-risk offenders
just not enough for an offender to go to court and be given
a few months' probation or a fine for a minor crime. It's much
harder for that person to face their victims, accept responsibility
for their actions and make amends to those they've harmed. In
many ways, it's swifter justice and it's tougher justice."
justice focuses on repairing the harm caused by a criminal
act and on involving the victim and the community affected.
It is being implemented in a wide variety of programs, strategies
and processes throughout the criminal justice system.
accountability programs (such as family group conferences
and circle remedies) and alternative measures programs are
based on restorative justice principles. These programs
help the justice system deal more effectively with low-risk
offenders and allow the traditional court system to focus
its resources on high-risk offenders.
Columbia is giving more emphasis to restorative justice
because we believe it is an effective way to heal our communities
today and to prevent crime in the future.
reached through community accountability and alternative
measures programs may require that the offender:
complete a specified number of hours of community service
counselling, or drug or alcohol treatment
and restore property to the victim.
help communities set up local community accountability programs,
we have provided a $1-million grant fund, a full-time provincial
co-ordinator, a team of experienced advisors and a detailed
information kit. To date, 13 communities have received funding.
intervention and prevention
teachers and community agencies have told me that positive,
early intervention is the best crime prevention. B.C. continues
to lead the country in innovative child and youth programs providing
positive alternatives to crime and opportunities to develop
conflict resolution and life skills."
was first in Canada to set up a province-wide toll-free
youth violence and crime prevention line. The Youth Against
Violence line (1-800-680-4264) gives young people a
safe, confidential way to get information and to report
and prevent crimes. The line has received more than 24,000
calls since it was established in 1993.
established Youth Action Teams in more than 70 communities
in B.C. More than 700 youth are involved in peer mentoring,
positive role modeling, conflict resolution, problem solving
and community leadership.
funded the highly successful Nights Alive program
in 49 communities across the province. This community-based
program promotes positive social and recreational activities
as an alternative to crime. Youth learn new skills by working
with police and community partners to start up their own
late-night recreational activities.
British Columbia Youth Police Network has linked
150 specially trained officers with youth, schools and parents
to develop youth violence prevention strategies in more
than 135 urban and rural communities.
All Together Now! program helps youth in elementary
schools develop crime prevention skills. The 'My Hero Passport'
project, which encourages young people to develop positive
role models, is the latest addition to this popular program.
drama groups such as 841-KOZ, TC02 and TROO
are busier than ever travelling the province discussing
strategies to deal with youth crime, sexual exploitation,
racism and hate crimes. In the past year, the groups gave
3,650 workshops reaching more than 282,000 youth and community
youth groups and police throughout B.C. are using tools
and resources such as the TROO (Total Respect of Others)
Action Packs and Taking A Stand: Youth Crime and Violence
Prevention Tool Kits to help communities promote diversity
and respect for others.
provincial Safe School Centre - the first of its
kind in Canada - opened in December 1997 to provide information,
resource materials and examples of best practices and strategies
to address a range of safe school and community issues.
are providing $500,000 as well as resources and advice for
community crime prevention projects including storefront
affordable resolution of civil and family disputes
have been working to encourage alternatives to traditional court
processes which can be more effective, efficient and affordable
to all participants."
have introduced provincial child support guidelines to ensure
fairer, more consistent support awards and to make it easier
for parents to avoid costly litigation.
Parenting After Separation program, now in more than 50
communities, helps separating couples explore options to
minimize the impact of separation and divorce on children.
Plans are under way to offer the program in Punjabi and
are implementing new enforcement measures for child support
such as garnisheeing defaulters, pensions and company assets
or charging an annual default fee. These are faster, more
effective and less costly to the province than going to
Dispute Resolution Office, which promotes new ways of resolving
civil disputes, is establishing a roster of mediators who
meet standard criteria for education and experience, and
is developing a plain language guide to mediation.
are encouraging alternatives to court with pilot projects
that offer free mediation services at some B.C. courthouses
and that test mandatory mediation for all construction disputes.
- A Notice
to Mediate process allows those involved in motor vehicle
collision cases to compel the other parties to attempt a
use of cameras and monitors in Provincial and B.C. Supreme
Courts allow lawyers, witnesses and litigants to participate
in civil court proceedings from locations hundreds of miles
the interests of consumers
are committed to protecting the rights of all British Columbians,
and to ensuring that those who make their living by preying
on some of our most vulnerable citizens are brought to justice."
have introduced stronger legislation so consumers have better
protection from deceptive and unconscionable business practices
and wrongdoers face heavier penalties.
Attorney General has introduced changes to the Trade Practice
Act which double fines from $5,000 to $10,000 for business
operators who deceive or mislead consumers-with higher fines
for repeat offenders.
has taken the lead in working with other Canadian and U.S.
jurisdictions to shut down fraudulent businesses on both
sides of the border, particularly those using telemarketing.
protection for debtors gives them a better chance to re-establish
themselves so they can begin to contribute again to their
April 12, 2000