NDP Introduces Provincial Court Amendment Act

October 10, 2017

Legislation would require judges, judicial justices of the peace to take sexual violence awareness training

Today NDP MLA for St Johns Nahanni Fontaine introduced a Private Member’s Bill – The Provincial Court Amendment Act (Mandatory Training and Continuing Education). This legislation would require newly appointed judges of the provincial court to take sexual assault awareness training within 90 days of taking office. This training would increase awareness of the rules of consent, as well as common myths and stereotypes associated with sexual assault complainants. Judges would not be allowed to hear any matters related to sexual assault until they have completed the training.

This legislation would also require judicial justices of the peace to undergo awareness training on domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault within 90 days of taking office, before they could hear applications for protection orders under The Domestic Violence and Stalking Act.

“Too many women experience sexual assault or sexual violence, and are afraid to report their experiences or testify in court,” said Fontaine. “Even at the highest level of our judicial system, we’ve seen officials making comments that re-victimize women seeking justice or protection.”

“Sexual violence has a devastating emotional, physical, and psychological impact,” continued Fontaine. “Our Bill would help ensure our justice system is accessible for everyone, including victims of sexual assault and gender-based violence.”

The legislation would require the Chief Judge of the Provincial Court of Manitoba to establish these training programs, and establish a continuing education program approved by the Judicial Council available to judges and justices of the peace to encourage continual learning.