Canada moves to expunge historical abortion, indecency convictions

To shared

Canada on Tuesday moved to expunge historical convictions for abortions or indecency — laws that are no longer on the books and that have traditionally harmed women and members of the LGBTQ community.

The announcement builds on a 2018 law that sought to correct past injustices and created a path for individuals to clear their criminal records.

A year earlier, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau officially apologized for government policies and practices that led to oppression and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino told a news conference on Tuesday that “convictions under the Criminal Code for bawdy houses and indecency-based offences are now eligible for expungement.”

“Historically, Canada has criminalized venues that were considered to be safe spaces for 2SLGBTQI+ communities, such as bath houses, nightclubs and swingers’ clubs,” he said.

“And as a result, owners, employees and patrons of these venues were convicted under the Criminal Code unjustly.”

Mendicino also announced that anyone convicted of abortion-related offences would be eligible for expungement.

Canada’s high court struck down restrictions on abortions in 1988, while bawdy house offences were repealed in 2019.

Applying for an expungement order is free, and family members or trustees can apply on behalf of people who have died.

To shared