New legislation will better protect victims, support survivors and increase tools to crack down on offenders
Human trafficking is one of the fastest-growing crimes worldwide. And the majority of police-reported incidents of human trafficking in Canada happen right here in Ontario. It is important that Ontario is equipped to fight this growing crime and support victims and survivors with every tool at our disposal.
That’s why our PC government today introduced tough, new legislation, and amendments to existing legislation, to increase awareness, protect victims, intervene early, support survivors and hold offenders accountable.
“Our government voiced its commitment to tackling human trafficking early on in our mandate and we worked with a wide spectrum of stakeholders to establish a comprehensive $307 million Anti-Human Trafficking Strategy,” said Sylvia Jones, MPP for Dufferin—Caledon and Solicitor General. “These legislative changes, if passed, will reinforce the strategy’s key objectives of supporting survivors, protecting children and youth, raising awareness among parents and community partners as well as dismantling criminal networks.”
The proposed changes include two new acts – the Anti-Human Trafficking Strategy Act, 2021 and the Accommodation Sector Registration of Guests Act, 2021 – as well as amendments to the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017 and the Prevention of and Remedies for Human Trafficking Act, 2017. Together, the proposed changes would support the government’s response to human trafficking by:
- Increasing awareness of the issue, supporting a long-term provincial response and emphasizing that all Ontarians have a role to play in combatting human trafficking;
- Strengthening the ability of children’s aid societies and law enforcement to protect exploited children;
- Supporting more survivors and the people who support them in obtaining restraining orders against traffickers, with specific consideration for Indigenous survivors;
- Increasing the government’s ability to collect non-personal data to better understand the impact of the strategy and respond to human trafficking;
- Providing law enforcement with more tools to locate victims and charge traffickers.
This legislation builds upon the province’s $307 million Anti-Human Trafficking Strategy and reinforces Ontario’s commitment to fight human trafficking and sends a strong message that this crime won’t be tolerated in our communities.
Everyone deserves freedom from exploitation, fear and violence. And our government won’t rest until traffickers are off our streets.