Ontario Sex Offender Registry
Christopher’s Law: A bold measure in community safety
The Ontario Sex Offender Registry (OSOR) was created as a result of the abduction and murder of 11-year-old Christopher Stephenson by a convicted sex offender on June 18, 1988. Following the Coroner’s inquest into Christopher’s death, it was recommended that the Solicitor General of Canada, in conjunction with the Ontario Ministry of the Solicitor General, police and other appropriate bodies, establish a registry for convicted, dangerous, high-risk sexual offenders, and require each offender to register with police in the jurisdiction where the offender will reside or is residing.
Ontario proclaimed Christopher’s Law (Sex Offender Registry), 2000 on April 23, 2001, making the province the first jurisdiction in Canada to establish a sex offender registry.
The need for a sex offender registry
The actions of sex offenders have profound and long-lasting consequences for their victims and communities. Data indicates that a rapid response during an investigation of child abduction for a sexual purpose is critical.
In 80 per cent of child abduction cases, initial contact of an offender with a victim occurs within a quarter mile of the victim’s last known location. Ontario’s sex offender registry provides police with important and timely information that improves their ability to investigate sex-related crimes as well as monitor and locate sex offenders in the community.
Of those victims who were murdered:
- 44% were murdered within 1 hour after abduction
- 74% were murdered within 3 hours after abduction
- 91% were murdered within 24 hours after abduction
(*Source - Washington State Study, 1997)
Who must register?
Any person who is resident in Ontario and has been:
- Convicted anywhere in Canada of a “sex offence” as defined in Christopher’s Law
- Found not criminally responsible (NCR) for a “sex offence” by reason of mental disorder and given an absolute or conditional discharge
- Made subject to an obligation to report under the federal Sex Offender Information Registration Act and the related Criminal Code provisions in relation to a secondary offence (e.g. murder)
- Made subject to a reporting obligation under the federal Sex Offender Information Registration Act and the related Criminal Code provisions (Form 54) in relation to a conviction for an offence outside of Canada that is determined to be equivalent to a sex offence in Canada
- Made subject to an obligation under section 36.1 of the International Transfer of Offenders Act (Form 1)
The above would also apply to young persons who are resident in Ontario if they were convicted of a “sex offence” and tried or sentenced as an adult for that offence.
An offender has a reporting obligation of:
- 10 years - if the maximum sentence is less than 10 years and conviction is for only one sex offence
- Life - if convicted of more than one sex offence or a single offence for which the maximum sentence is more than 10 years
Penalties for non-compliance
- A fine not more than $25,000; and/or imprisonment of not more than one year (or both)
- A fine not more than $25,000; and/or imprisonment not more than two years less a day (or both)
Offender reporting requirements
Any offender convicted of a criteria sex offence must register in person with their local police jurisdiction;
Initially within seven days:
- After completing a custodial sentence for the offence
- Upon conviction, if not given custodial sentence for the offence
- After being found NCR due to mental disorder and given an absolute or conditional discharge for the offence
- After becoming subject to an obligation under section 490.02901 CC (Form 54)
- After becoming subject to an obligation under section 36.1 of the International Transfer of Offenders Act (Form 1)
Subsequently an offender must register within seven days:
- After any change of address
- After becoming a resident of Ontario
- After changing a given or surname
- If outside of Ontario when required to report, after the offender returns to Ontario
- Seven days prior to ceasing to be a resident of Ontario
Annually between the 11th & 12th month after the offender last reported.
General information about the registry
The OSOR Includes information such as:
- Name - including current, former and any aliases
- Valid proof of identity
- Main and secondary addresses - of any residence, place of employment, education institution attended and volunteer organization attended
- Telephone numbers
- Physical description - including height, weight, build, gender, race, scars/tattoos/birthmarks
- Current and historical photographs of the offender and their scars, marks and tattoos
- Sex offences(s) for which the offender has been convicted
- Any vehicle owned, leased, registered to or regularly driven by the offender.
What are the sex offences to which Christopher’s Law applies?
The following offences are included in the definition of “sex offence” in Christopher’s Law:
- Offence in relation to sexual offences against children
- Sexual interference
- Invitation to sexual touching
- Sexual exploitation (age 14 to under 18)
- Sexual exploitation of person with disability
- Compelling bestiality
- Bestiality in presence of or by a child
- Child pornography (all subsections)
- Access child pornography
- Parent or guardian procuring sexual activity
- Luring a child by means of computer system
- Exposure to person under age 14
- Stupefying or overpowering for the purpose of sexual intercourse
- Living on the avails of prostitution of a person under 18
- Aggravated offence – living on the avails of prostitution of a person under 18
- Obtaining prostitution of person under 18
- Sexual assault
- Sexual assault with a weapon, threats to a third party or causing bodily harm
- Aggravated sexual assault – use of firearm
- Aggravated sexual assault
- Removal of child from Canada
Does the public have access to the OSOR?
The public does not have access to the OSOR. This contributes to a consistently high offender compliance rate resulting in increased accuracy and integrity of the data on the OSOR. This enhances public safety for Ontarians by providing police with the ability to have more accurate information about registered sex offenders.
Police have direct access to the OSOR 24 hours a day, seven days a week, improving their ability to investigate sex-related crimes as well as monitor and locate sex offenders in the community.
Management of the registry
The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) manages and maintains the OSOR on behalf of the ministry from OPP General Headquarters in Orillia.
The Police Services Act empowers local police chiefs to publicly disclose information about offenders considered to be a significant risk to a community. Such disclosure must be done in accordance with the Act and its regulations.
Questions & Concerns?
For more information about the OSOR, contact your local police service or the OPP. You can also contact Crime Stoppers (1-800-222-8477) if you have information about an offender.
For more legislative information please refer to the Government of Ontario’s e-Laws website.