The Supreme Court of Canada has affirmed that Ontario’s sex-offender registry regime violates the constitutional rights of people found not criminally responsible for their actions by reason of mental disorder. [NOTE: THEIR REGISTRY IS NON-PUBLIC]

In Ontario, the law requires those who are either convicted of a sexual offence or found not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder to report to a police station to have their personal information added to the registry. There is opportunity, on a case-by-case basis, for those found guilty of sexual offences to be removed or even exempted from the registry. However, someone found not criminally responsible for a sexual offence lacks the same avenues to be removed from the registry or exempted from reporting, even after receiving an absolute discharge from a review board.

In writing for a majority of the court, Justice Andromache Karakatsanis said the provincial regime draws discriminatory distinctions between people found guilty and people found not criminally responsible for sexual offences on the basis of mental disability. “These discriminatory distinctions cannot be justified in a free and democratic society.”

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