Child pornography laws in Canada
|The factual accuracy of parts of this article (those related to the table) may be compromised due to out-of-date information. (May 2013)|
Child pornography laws in Canada forbid the production, distribution, and possession of child pornography and is punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment.
Visual and written representations
Prohibition covers the visual representations of child sexual abuse and other sexual activity by persons (real or imaginary) under the age of 18 years or the depiction of their sexual organ/anal region for a sexual purpose, unless an artistic, educational, scientific, or medical justification can be provided and the court accepts that.
It also includes the written depictions of persons or characters (fictional or non-fictional) under the age of 18 engaging in sexual activity. Courts in Canada can also issue orders for the deletion of material from the internet from any computer system within the court's jurisdiction
The current law criminalizes possession of purely fictional material and has been applied in the absence of any images of real children, including to possession of fictional stories with no pictures at all, or vice versa, cartoon pictures without any stories.
Laws that address child pornography on the Internet regulate the nature of live-time chatting and email communications that may relate to grooming children for pornographic (e.g., web cam) or other sexual purposes has passed in 2002. It also criminalizes the intentional access of child pornography.
Criminal Code provisions
Canadian laws addressing child pornography are set out in Part V of Criminal Code dealing with Sexual Offences, Public Morals and Disorderly Conduct: Offences Tending to Corrupt Morals. Section 163.1 of the Code defines child pornography to include "a visual representation, whether or not it was made by electronic or mechanical means", that "shows a person who is or is depicted as being under the age of eighteen years and is engaged in or is depicted as engaged in explicit sexual activity", or "the dominant characteristic of which is the depiction, for a sexual purpose, of a sexual organ or the anal region of a person under the age of eighteen years."
The current minimum penalty for possession of, or "accessing," child pornography is six months of imprisonment.
Eli Langer Art Show Trial
One early application of this law was the Eli Langer case. In 1993, this Toronto artist had an exhibition at the Mercer Gallery. His drawings included images of children in sexual positions. Police raided the gallery and confiscated the works. Langer was eventually acquitted after a trial because his work was considered artistic enough to be justified as protected speech.
R. v. Sharpe
The whole law against simple possession of child pornography was declared void for two years in British Columbia following a 1998 ruling (R v Sharpe) by the Supreme Court of British Columbia but this decision was subsequently overturned by the Canadian Supreme Court. Moreover, the definitive 2001 Supreme Court ruling on the case interprets the child pornography statute to include purely fictional material even when no real children were involved in its production. Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin wrote,
Interpreting "person" in accordance with Parliament's purpose of criminalizing possession of material that poses a reasoned risk of harm to children, it seems that it should include visual works of the imagination as well as depictions of actual people. Notwithstanding the fact that 'person' in the charging section and in s. 163.1(1)(b) refers to a flesh-and-blood person, I conclude that "person" in s. 163.1(1)(a) includes both actual and imaginary human beings.
Gordon Chin trial
In October 2005, Canadian police arrested a 26-year-old Edmonton, Alberta man named Gordon Chin for importing Japanese manga depicting explicit hentai of child pornography. Chin's attorney claimed Chin did not know it was illegal, and that he was naive. Chin was sentenced by the judge to an eighteen-month conditional sentence, during which he was barred from using the Internet. This is the first known manga-related child pornography case in Canada. It is also the first known that exclusively prosecutes this offense, not used in conjunction with other laws to increase sentencing.
- Laws regarding child pornography
- Criminal Code, RSC 1985, c C-46, s 163.1, as enacted by SC 1993, c 46, s 2.
- Government of Canada. "BILL C-15A: AN ACT TO AMEND THE CRIMINAL CODE AND TO AMEND OTHER ACTS". Retrieved 2008-05-09.
- R. v. Beattie (8 April 2005). Retrieved March 12, 2007.
- "STRONGER CHILD PORNOGRAPHY LAWS RECEIVE ROYAL ASSENT". Government of Canada. 2002-06-10. Retrieved 2008-02-04.
- "BILL C-15A: AN ACT TO AMEND THE CRIMINAL CODE AND TO AMEND OTHER ACTS". The Parliament of Canada. 2002-09-30. Retrieved 2008-02-04.
- Tyler, Tracey (October 1994). "Artist backs right to paint sexual work". Globe and Mail.
- R v Sharpe (Supreme Court of British Columbia January 13, 1999) (“As s-s.(4) is in violation of s.2(b) of the Charter and is not justified under s.1, s-s.(4) must be and is declared void.”). Text
- R. v. Sharpe (26 January 2001). Retrieved February 20, 2006.
- Dear Edmonton Journal by Chris Macdonald of AnimeNewsNetwork
- Conviction for child toon porn - May be a first for Canadian courts by Tony Blais, Court Bureau, Edmonton Sun
- Canadian Arrested for Importing Loli-porn Manga (March 4, 2005, Anime News Network). Retrieved June 23, 2008.
- Canadian Sentenced over Loli-Porn Manga (October 20, 2005, Anime News Network). Retrieved January 20, 2006.
- Canadian Convicted of Possessing Hentai Kiddie Porn by Darklady of YNOT