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Questions and answers

Sex Offender Information Registration Act

What is the purpose of the National Sex Offender Registry?
  • The National Sex Offender Registry provides rapid access by police to current vital information about convicted sex offenders.
  • As part of the National Registry, the National Sex Offender Database contributes to the protection of the public by providing police with a useful investigative tool when responding to crimes of a sexual nature.
  • The database is the backbone of the overall National Sex Offender Registry. The Registry itself encompasses the actual database and the technological and administrative infrastructure.
What is the RCMP position on the National Sex Offender Registry?
  • The RCMP supports any tool which enhances our ability to protect Canadians against potential sex related crimes.
  • The RCMP will continue to make use of the best means available to ensure the registration of sex offenders in an effort to provide safe homes and safe communities for Canadians.
  • While the RCMP does not view the sex offender registry as the panacea for solving sexual crime, it nevertheless has an important role to play and supports law enforcement efforts in identifying and preventing crimes of a sexual nature.
Who is responsible for the National Sex Offender Registry database?
  • The RCMP administers the National Sex Offender Registry database.
  • Police in the various jurisdictions are responsible for inputting the data and the enforcement of the registration provisions.
What type of information is included in the National Sex Offender Registry database?
  • The following information can be collected and registered;
    • name and alias
    • date of birth and physical description
    • address of main and secondary residences
    • telephone numbers
    • address of educational institution
    • employment type and address
    • vehicle information (owned or used regularly)
    • name and address of offender's volunteer organizations
    • offence information
    • photograph of the offender is taken
    • Driver's LicenceNew
    • Passport InformationNew
How does the National Sex Offender Registry database work?
  • The backbone of the National Sex Offender Registry is the database which is administered by the RCMP.
  • This database is only accessible directly or indirectly by accredited police agencies in every province and territory.
  • This tool enhances public safety by assisting the police in the investigation and prevention of crimes of a sexual nature and identifying possible suspects known to reside near to an offence site. An officer will be able to search for registered sex offenders living in the area.
  • The database allows police personnel to conduct a sophisticated search according to an address or part address and the offence of a sex offender, or both.
  • The database also includes an expandable address field providing the capability to record address data for several locations a subject would be known to frequent and the type of address recorded.
  • The database also has the ability to accommodate address history as long as a subject remains in the database.
Who has access to the National Sex Offender Database?
  • This database is only accessible by accredited police agencies in every province and territory either directly or indirectly through their Provincial/Territorial Sex Offender Registry (SOR) Centres.
  • United States or international police agencies may be provided with some information from the National Sex Offender Database, providing specific criteria outlined in SOIRA is met.
  • Every police force in Canada will have direct or indirect access to the National Sex Offender Database but only for the purpose of enforcing SOIRA and investigating or preventing crimes of a sexual nature.
  • There are criminal penalties for the misuse of the data either by persons authorized to have access to it or by third parties who may acquire National Sex Offender Database information.
  • Access to this personal information is tightly controlled and used for police purposes and as authorized by law.
What are the offender's reporting requirements?
  • Persons convicted of a sex offence under the legislation are obligated to register within 7 days of conviction and/or release from a custodial institution.
  • Persons convicted of a sex offence are required to re-register or notify their local registration centre annually and every time they change addresses or legal name, employment or volunteer activity.
  • Persons convicted of a sex offence are required to remain registered for 10 years, 20 years or life – depending on the maximum length of the sentence for the crime.
  • Persons convicted of a sex offence are required to provide to local police and to keep current certain information such as addresses and telephone numbers, alias(es) and identifying marks and tattoos. There are penalties for failing to comply with a registration order or for not giving truthful information.
  • It is up to local jurisdictions to collect the data that will be entered on the NSOR database. Collection is done by local police who are also responsible for enforcement of the registration provisions.
  • Registered sex offenders must register all domestic and international travel of seven days or more. Individuals with a child sex offence conviction must report all international travel.New
What penalties exist if sexual offenders do not register and update or provide truthful information?
  • On conviction on indictment, to a fine of not more than $10,000, or to imprisonment of not more than two years, or both.
  • On summary conviction, to a fine of not more than $10,000, imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or both.
Since the Registry was established in 2004, who is included?
  • The Registry may contain information on individuals who had been convicted prior to 2004 and who were still under sentence at the time of the Coming Into Force of the SOIRA. It may also contain information on individuals who had been subject to the Ontario registry and were Ontario residents at any time between April 23 2001 and the day of the Coming Into Force of the SOIRA. Since 2011, all convicted sex offenders are automatically included on the Registry.
How many registration sites/centres are there across Canada?
  • In each province and territory, there is one central registration centre that is responsible for the administrative aspects of the database (e.g. data entry). In addition to the provincial or territorial centre, several registration sites are spread throughout the province or territory. Sex offenders report to these sites to register where their data is collected. If the site is set up to enter the data, it will be entered at that location. Otherwise, the data is sent to the registration centre and entered there.
  • The number of sites/centres was determined individually by the provinces and territories themselves. As a result, these numbers differ from location to location. There are more than 700 registration sites across the country.
Who staffs these centres/sites?
  • Employees including both police officers and civilian staff from various Canadian police agencies staff the registration centres.
Does the National Sex Offender Database respect the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Privacy Act?
  • The National Sex Offender Database complies with the provisions of the legislation as approved by Parliament.
  • There are criminal penalties for the misuse of the data either by persons authorized to have access to it or by third parties who may acquire National Sex Offender Database information.
  • Access to this personal information is tightly controlled and used for police purposes and as authorized by law.

RCMP and CBSANew

What new information will be collected from sex offenders at registration with the coming into force of the new legislation?

In addition to the information the National Sex Offender Registry (NSOR) has collected historically at registration, it will now have the authority to collect the following details from the Registered Sex Offender (RSO):

  • The licence number and the name of the issuing jurisdiction of every driver's licence that they hold;
  • The passport number and the name of the issuing jurisdiction of every passport that they hold.
When will these new requirements take effect?

Beginning December 1, 2016, RSO's will be required to provide this new information as follows:

  • For an existing RSO, collection will be done on their annual registration;
  • For new RSO's, collection will be done as per current legislative requirements for first registration.
What new information will RSO's be required to provide when planning to travel within Canada?

RSO's will be required to provide actual departure and return dates for planned trips within Canada as opposed to estimated dates.

What new information will RSO's be required to provide when planning to travel abroad?

RSO's will now be required to provide, before departure, information on the dates of their departure and return and on every address or location at which they expect to stay when travelling for seven or more days.

In the case of child sex offenders, the RSO must, before departure, provide the dates of departure and return and every address or location they expect to stay at outside Canada, regardless of the duration of the trip (ie. a child sex offender crossing the US border for a two day road trip is obligated to notify a registration centre).

Furthermore, any changes to the child sex offenders travel itinerary outside Canada after departure must be reported to the registration centre without delay.
What information will be shared with CBSA?

The NSOR will have the authority to share with CBSA the following information on high-risk child sex offenders on a regular basis; and on other registered sex offenders when it is necessary to prevent or investigate a crime of a sexual nature:

  • given name and surname and every alias that they use;
  • date of birth;
  • gender; and
  • number of every valid driver's licence and passport that they hold.
What will the NSOR do with the travel information collected from CBSA?

NSOR officials will compare this information with the travel information received from the RSO in order to verify compliance with their obligation under the legislation.

What is the process for determining High-Risk Child Sex Offenders for the purposes of information sharing with the CBSA?

For the purposes of the information-sharing provisions with the CBSA, the RCMP utilizes a Structured Professional Judgement (SPJ) tool known as Static 99-R, in order to assess which child sex offenders known to the RCMP should be considered high risk to re-offend against children.

RCMP National Headquarters Media Relations: 613-843-5999