The CBA urges support of Bill C-583 on FASD

  • June 04, 2014

Ottawa — The Canadian Bar Association (CBA) is urging Parliament  to support Bill C-583, containing Criminal Code amendments to address the treatment of people suffering from fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), so that it can move forward to committee without delay.

“The CBA welcomes the legislation as it would improve the criminal justice system’s response to people suffering from FASD,” says CBA President Fred Headon.  “The CBA has advocated for similar improvements and this Bill represents an important first step.”

In a letter sent separately to Federal Justice Minister Peter MacKay, NDP Justice Critic Françoise Boivin and Liberal Justice Critic Sean Casey, the CBA explains that people who suffer from FASD have a permanent organic brain injury caused by maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy which results in a wide range of symptoms of varying severity.  Those symptoms often go against underlying principles of criminal law, namely that people are able to learn from their own mistakes, or the mistakes of others.

The CBA’s National Criminal Justice Section will recommend some additions to improve the Bill, and looks forward to making those suggestions when it is studied in committee.

The CBA is dedicated to supporting the rule of law, improvements in the law, and the administration of justice. Some 37,500 lawyers, law teachers, and law students from across Canada are members.