Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke Randall Garrison is reintroducing legislation that would make coercive and controlling behaviour a criminal offence.
The NDP’s justice critic first introduced his private member’s bill in 2020 in response to a pandemic-induced uptick in reports of intimate partner violence.
The number of calls to Canada’s Assaulted Women’s Helpline from October to December of 2020 nearly doubled over the same period in 2019. Things got so bad, the UN dubbed the surge in violence and abuse the shadow pandemic.
Garrison’s bill aims to add coercive control to the Criminal Code to address emotional and psychological aspects of intimate partner violence that currently go unpunished. The proposed law could result in a five-year prison sentence.
“I heard from constituents, women’s groups, frontline service providers and law enforcement that creating a new Criminal Code offence for coercive control was needed as a means of providing a mechanism to break the cycle of coercive and controlling violence before it escalates to physical violence,” Garrison said in a statement.
His first bill died on the order paper when the Liberals called a snap election in August, but on Nov. 25 Garrison reintroduced his legislation as Bill C-202.