Bill to mandate sexual-assault law training for judges passes House of Commons

After dying on the order paper before 2019 election then set back again due to Trudeau's recent prorogation, judge sexual assault training legislation arising from Alberta judge's notorious "hold your knees together" comment in 2014 passes Commons.

The Canadian Press

OTTAWA — A long-awaited bill that would require judges to commit to take training in sexual assault law has passed unanimously in the House of Commons.

The proposed legislation originated as a private member's bill from former interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose, which the Liberal government supported.

The bill had made it all the way to the Senate, but it was held up there and in turn, failed to pass before the 2019 federal election.

The Liberals reintroduced it after they won, and again after they prorogued Parliament in August.

The bill will now return to the Senate for consideration and Ambrose has said she hopes this time it will pass through that chamber swiftly.

The idea that judges need added training to hear sexual assault cases was driven by rulings that critics have said relied on stereotypes about victims of sexual abuse.

The bill would also require the Canadian Judicial Council to report on continuing education seminars offered on matters related to sexual assault law and social context.

It also amends the Criminal Code to require judges to put their reasons for decisions in sexual assault proceedings on the record.

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