History of Making Sexually Explicit Materials Available to Child

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General Principles

See also: Making Sexually Explicit Materials Available to Child (Offence)

This offence was added to the Criminal Code on August 9, 2012.

2015 to Present

On July 16, 2015, the Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act (Bill C-26) came into force resulting in an increase of the minimum and maximum penalties. [1] The minimum penalties for summary conviction increased from 30 days to 90 days. The maximum penalties increased from 6 months to 2 years less a day. The minimum penalties for indictable elections increased from 90 days to 6 months. The maximum penalties increased from 2 years to 14 years.

Making sexually explicit material available to child
171.1 (1) Every person commits an offence who transmits, makes available, distributes or sells sexually explicit material to

(a) a person who is, or who the accused believes is, under the age of 18 years, for the purpose of facilitating the commission of an offence with respect to that person under subsection 153(1), section 155, 163.1, 170, 171 or 279.011 or subsection 279.02(2), 279.03(2), 286.1(2), 286.2(2) or 286.3(2);
(b) a person who is, or who the accused believes is, under the age of 16 years, for the purpose of facilitating the commission of an offence under section 151 or 152, subsection 160(3) or 173(2) or section 271, 272, 273 or 280 with respect to that person; or
(c) a person who is, or who the accused believes is, under the age of 14 years, for the purpose of facilitating the commission of an offence under section 281 with respect to that person.

Punishment
(2) Every person who commits an offence under subsection (1)

(a) is guilty of an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 14 years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of six months; or
(b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction and is liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than two years less a day and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of 90 days.

Presumption
(3) Evidence that the person referred to in paragraph (1)(a), (b) or (c) was represented to the accused as being under the age of 18, 16 or 14 years, as the case may be, is, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, proof that the accused believed that the person was under that age.
No defence
(4) It is not a defence to a charge under paragraph (1)(a), (b) or (c) that the accused believed that the person referred to in that paragraph was at least 18, 16 or 14 years of age, as the case may be, unless the accused took reasonable steps to ascertain the age of the person.
Definition of sexually explicit material
(5) In subsection (1), sexually explicit material means material that is not child pornography, as defined in subsection 163.1(1), and that is

(a) a photographic, film, video or other visual representation, whether or not it was made by electronic or mechanical means,
(i) that shows a person who is engaged in or is depicted as engaged in explicit sexual activity, or
(ii) the dominant characteristic of which is the depiction, for a sexual purpose, of a person’s genital organs or anal region or, if the person is female, her breasts;
(b) written material whose dominant characteristic is the description, for a sexual purpose, of explicit sexual activity with a person; or
(c) an audio recording whose dominant characteristic is the description, presentation or representation, for a sexual purpose, of explicit sexual activity with a person.

2012, c. 1, s. 21; 2014, c. 25, s. 8; 2015, c. 23, s. 10.


CCC

The changes from 2015 are underlined.

2014 to 2015

Making sexually explicit material available to child
171.1 (1) Every person commits an offence who transmits, makes available, distributes or sells sexually explicit material to

(a) a person who is, or who the accused believes is, under the age of 18 years, for the purpose of facilitating the commission of an offence with respect to that person under subsection 153(1), section 155, 163.1, 170, 171 or 279.011 or subsection 279.02(2), 279.03(2), 286.1(2), 286.2(2) or 286.3(2);
(b) a person who is, or who the accused believes is, under the age of 16 years, for the purpose of facilitating the commission of an offence under section 151 or 152, subsection 160(3) or 173(2) or section 271, 272, 273 or 280 with respect to that person; or
(c) a person who is, or who the accused believes is, under the age of 14 years, for the purpose of facilitating the commission of an offence under section 281 with respect to that person.

Punishment
(2) Every person who commits an offence under subsection (1)

(a) is guilty of an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than two years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of 90 days; or
(b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction and is liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than six months and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of 30 days.

Presumption
(3) Evidence that the person referred to in paragraph (1)(a), (b) or (c) was represented to the accused as being under the age of 18, 16 or 14 years, as the case may be, is, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, proof that the accused believed that the person was under that age.
No defence
(4) It is not a defence to a charge under paragraph (1)(a), (b) or (c) that the accused believed that the person referred to in that paragraph was at least 18, 16 or 14 years of age, as the case may be, unless the accused took reasonable steps to ascertain the age of the person.
Definition of “sexually explicit material”
(5) In subsection (1), “sexually explicit material” means material that is not child pornography, as defined in subsection 163.1(1), and that is

(a) a photographic, film, video or other visual representation, whether or not it was made by electronic or mechanical means,
(i) that shows a person who is engaged in or is depicted as engaged in explicit sexual activity, or
(ii) the dominant characteristic of which is the depiction, for a sexual purpose, of a person’s genital organs or anal region or, if the person is female, her breasts;
(b) written material whose dominant characteristic is the description, for a sexual purpose, of explicit sexual activity with a person; or
(c) an audio recording whose dominant characteristic is the description, presentation or representation, for a sexual purpose, of explicit sexual activity with a person.

2012, c. 1, s. 21; 2014, c. 25, s. 8.


CCC

The changes from 2014 are underlined.

2012 to 2014

Making sexually explicit material available to child
171.1 (1) Every person commits an offence who transmits, makes available, distributes or sells sexually explicit material to

(a) a person who is, or who the accused believes is, under the age of 18 years, for the purpose of facilitating the commission of an offence under subsection 153(1), section 155, 163.1, 170 or 171 or subsection 212(1), (2), (2.1) or (4) with respect to that person;
(b) a person who is, or who the accused believes is, under the age of 16 years, for the purpose of facilitating the commission of an offence under section 151 or 152, subsection 160(3) or 173(2) or section 271, 272, 273 or 280 with respect to that person; or
(c) a person who is, or who the accused believes is, under the age of 14 years, for the purpose of facilitating the commission of an offence under section 281 with respect to that person.

Punishment
(2) Every person who commits an offence under subsection (1)

(a) is guilty of an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than two years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of 90 days; or
(b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction and is liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than six months and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of 30 days.

Presumption
(3) Evidence that the person referred to in paragraph (1)(a), (b) or (c) was represented to the accused as being under the age of 18, 16 or 14 years, as the case may be, is, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, proof that the accused believed that the person was under that age.

No defence
(4) It is not a defence to a charge under paragraph (1)(a), (b) or (c) that the accused believed that the person referred to in that paragraph was at least 18, 16 or 14 years of age, as the case may be, unless the accused took reasonable steps to ascertain the age of the person.
Definition of “sexually explicit material”
(5) In subsection (1), “sexually explicit material” means material that is not child pornography, as defined in subsection 163.1(1), and that is

(a) a photographic, film, video or other visual representation, whether or not it was made by electronic or mechanical means,
(i) that shows a person who is engaged in or is depicted as engaged in explicit sexual activity, or
(ii) the dominant characteristic of which is the depiction, for a sexual purpose, of a person’s genital organs or anal region or, if the person is female, her breasts;
(b) written material whose dominant characteristic is the description, for a sexual purpose, of explicit sexual activity with a person; or
(c) an audio recording whose dominant characteristic is the description, presentation or representation, for a sexual purpose, of explicit sexual activity with a person.

2012, c. 1, s. 21.


CCC