An Act to Amend the Name Change Act Tabled at Queen’s Park
MPP Laurie Scott, Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, and MPP Laura Smith, Thornhill introduce Private Member’s Bill
QUEEN’S PARK – MPP Laurie Scott, Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, and MPP Laura Smith, Thornhill, tabled a joint Private Member’s Bill today to stop convicted offenders under Christopher’s Law from legally changing their names in Ontario. This bill, if passed, will prevent sex offenders who have committed horrific crimes from being able to hide their identities.
“No new life for these criminals – something that their victims will never have,” said MPP Laura Smith, Thornhill. “That’s why we’re closing a long-standing loophole already addressed by other provinces that provides sex offenders anonymity and an opportunity to escape accountability.”
“Sexual offenders should be denied opportunities that could enable them to re-offend or easily hide their past from unsuspecting communities,” said MPP Laurie Scott, Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock. “This bill would be another measure by our government to support victims and their families on their path to healing.”
Ontario has a zero-tolerance policy for sexual assault. In February of 2023 the Ontario government invested $307 million in supporting victims and survivors of Human Trafficking through their Anti-Human Trafficking Strategy. This investment includes a whole of government approach and leverages community partners to raise awareness, intervene earlier, protect victims, support survivors and hold offenders accountable. Ontario also invested $6.5 million to help women and children who have experienced violence and are survivors of human trafficking access the supports and services they need to stay safe and rebuild their lives.
The bill will receive its second reading on November 14, 2023.
“It requires tremendous courage and effort from survivors, police, and community agencies to hold a sex offender accountable. We must not undermine these collective efforts by granting offenders the ability to easily change their name. This bill supports our shared moral obligation to prevent sex offenders from hiding behind a new name to target potential future victims.”
– Maureen Leshem, Executive Director, the 482 Collective
“Christopher’s Law was put in place to help protect survivors. This amendment is needed to take into consideration the impact on survivors whose lives have been irrevocably impacted by such serious crimes. A survivor’s physical and emotional safety and well being must be considered utmost priority in such a decision. We commend the MPPs for putting survivors rights and needs as a priority.”
– Gillian Freeman, Executive Director, Victim Services of York Region
“The Ottawa Police Association would like to recognize the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario and thank MPPs Laura Smith and Laurie Scott on tabling the Change of Name Amendment in relation to Christopher’s Law.
Sexual offences are heinous crimes, and it is our duty in the policing profession to protect victims. The proposed bill would ensure that accused persons are held accountable and are not able to disguise their identity with changing their name.
We as a police association believe this proposed amendment is crucial to ensure community safety, provide safety to victims, and will allow our front-line police officers to identify some of the most violent prolific offenders which should prevent future offences.”
– Matthew Cox, President, Ottawa Police Association
“Children are the most precious and vulnerable members of our community that deserve to feel safe and protected. The “change of name amendment act, 2023” is one step in the right direction to ensuring the children in our communities are safe.”
– Tyler Brett, President, Smiths Falls Police Association
“The NRPA supports amending Christopher’s Law (Sex Offender Registry), 2000 from allowing convicted sex offenders the ability to change their names. If this modification is accepted, stopping offenders from changing their names will only enhance the support Victim’s of Crime should already receive and help keep the communities we live in safe. Please thank MPP Laurie Scott and MPP Laura Smith for bringing this Bill forward. It is imperative that these convicted sex offenders are handcuffed from continuing to prey in and on our society.”
– Patrick McGilly, President, Niagara Region Police Association