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By Thaddeus M. Baklinski

TORONTO, March 2, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In the ongoing fight against the sexual exploitation of children, Ontario has enacted a new Child Pornography Reporting Act which makes it a criminal offense not to report suspected child pornography.

The bill amends the Ontario Child and Family Services Act and will be brought into force by regulations outlined by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services. The revised act’s definition of child porn now parallels that in the Criminal Code of Canada.

Laurel Broten, a lawyer and MPP for Etobicoke-Lakeshore said the bill seeks to clear up any question on the duty to report findings of suspected child pornography by private individuals.

“Before this legislation, if [you] were an employer or computer guy and came across what is an image of child pornography and would have taken steps, but you didn’t know what to do or you didn’t know how to do it, then that is a real problem,” explained Broten. “This bill makes it clear that you have to report, you have to have liability for reporting.”

Legislation is already in place requiring certain persons, such as doctors, nurses and educators, to report suspected abuse.

“Existing legislation requires certain persons, such as health care workers and teachers, to report suspicions that a child is in need of protection,” wrote London Free Press business columnist David Canton. “The new law goes a step further by making it an offence for anyone who stumbles across suspected child porn and fails to report it. Essentially, the legislation will make it a crime not to do something.”

Although the new regulations provide for a fine of as much as $50,000, up to two years in jail, or both, for a person convicted of failing to report child porn, Canton explained that “the test for determining whether material should be reported to officials is subjective. Individuals will not be fined for failing to disclose suspicious material if in their own mind they reasonably believe it is not child porn, even if a court ultimately decides it is.”

Manitoba and Nova Scotia enacted similar legislation late last year.

Link to full text of the Child Pornography Reporting Act:
https://www.ontla.on.ca/web/bills/bills_detail.do?locale=en&BillID=1947

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