ontario news watch

NDP MP calls on Commons to support her bill seeking to criminalize coercive control

OTTAWA — New Democrat MP Laurel Collins says she began paying close attention to the issue of coercive control when her sister showed up to her door in tears.

The member of Parliament from Victoria says her sister’s partner had taken away her keys and bank cards, and tried preventing her from leaving.

Collins shared her sister’s story during a press conference in Parliament Hill today, as she called on MPs to support her private member’s bill seeking to criminalize a pattern of behaviour known as coercive control.

She says advocates who support women dealing with domestic violence have called it a “crucial” step to criminalize behaviour in which abusers seek to limit their partners’ independence and keep them in potentially violent situations.

Justice Minister Arif Virani expressed an openness to criminalizing such actions in a letter he penned to Ontario’s chief coroner this summer following an inquest into the 2015 slaying of three women in the Renfrew County area.  

Collins says she had secured a commitment of support for her bill from David Lametti, the Liberals’ previous justice minister, while a spokesman in Virani’s office says the government will make its position on her bill known during debate in the House, which is slated to begin later today. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 9, 2023. 

The Canadian Press