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Bill C-354

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2nd Session, 40th Parliament,
57-58 Elizabeth II, 2009
house of commons of canada
BILL C-354
An Act to amend the Federal Courts Act (international promotion and protection of human rights)
R.S., c. F-7; 2002, c. 8, s. 14
Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:
1. The Federal Courts Act is amended by adding the following after section 25:
International jurisdiction
25.1 (1) The Federal Court has original jurisdiction in all cases that are civil in nature in which the claim for relief or remedy arises from a violation of international law or a treaty to which Canada is a party and commenced by a person who is not a Canadian citizen, if the act alleged occurred in a foreign state or territory or on board a ship or aircraft registered in a foreign state while the ship or aircraft is outside Canada.
Federal Court's jurisdiction
(2) Without limiting the generality of subsection (1), the Federal Court's jurisdiction shall include any acts or events involving the following claims:
(a) genocide;
(b) slavery or slave trading;
(c) an extrajudicial killing or the disappearance of an individual;
(d) torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;
(e) prolonged arbitrary detention;
(f) war crimes or crimes against humanity;
(g) systemic discrimination based upon a person’s race, ancestry, place of origin, ethnic origin, colour, religion, gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, marital or family status, mental or physical disability, or any other analogous ground;
(h) a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights;
(i) the inducement or coercion of a person less than 18 years of age to engage in prostitution or any other unlawful sexual activity, including the creation, distribution, printing, publishing or displaying of pornographic materials or the sale or trafficking of a person less than 18 years of age;
(j) the conscripting or enlisting of a person less than 18 years of age into armed forces or paramilitary groups for use in any form of warfare;
(k) rape, sexual slavery, forced prostitution, forced pregnancy, forced abortion, forced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity;
(l) the death or serious endangerment of the health of a person by physical mutilation or by subjecting a person to a medical or scientific experiment that is not in the best interest of the person;
(m) wanton destruction of the environment that directly or indirectly initiates widespread, long-term or severe damage to an ecosystem, a natural habitat or a population of species in its natural surroundings;
(n) transboundary pollution that directly or indirectly brings about significant harm to persons living in an adjacent state or territory;
(o) the failure of a person or government agency with direct knowledge of an impending environmental emergency to immediately and adequately alert persons whose life, health or property is seriously threatened by the environmental emergency; and
(p) a violation of any of the fundamental conventions of the International Labour Organization.
2. Section 39 of the Act is amended by adding the following after subsection (2):
No prescription or limitation on certain proceedings
(3) Despite any other provision of this or any Act, any case referred to in section 25.1 shall not be prohibited by reason of any prescription or limitation of action that sets a maximum period of time within which a proceeding must be initiated after the cause of action arises.
3. Section 50 of the Act is amended by adding the following after subsection (3):
Stay of proceedings restricted to exceptional cases
(4) Despite any other provision of this or any Act, the Federal Court of Appeal or the Federal Court shall not stay proceedings in any case referred to in section 25.1 unless the defendant clearly, cogently and convincingly establishes the following:
(a) the Federal Court of Appeal or the Federal Court, as the case may be, is not a suitable forum in which to decide the case;
(b) a more appropriate forum is available that will fairly and effectively provide a final and binding decision;
(c) the more appropriate forum will likely provide a final and binding decision in a timely and efficient manner; and
(d) the interests of justice adamantly require that a stay of proceedings be granted.
Published under authority of the Speaker of the House of Commons
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