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Karla Homolka, also known as Karla Leanne Teale. This photo was taken in 2005. (Archives)
The ability for people on Ontario's Sex Offender Registry to legally change their names would be ruled out if a bill is introduced before the Ontario Legislative Assembly was adopted.
Progressive Conservatives Laurie Scott and Laura Smith jointly introduced the bill this week. This one seems destined to be approved since their party has a majority in the Legislative Assembly.
This bill, please is passed, will prevent the Karla Homolkas from becoming [Karla] Leanne Teales, Smith said, referring to the notorious murderess who changed her legal name.
We simply believe that the right to change one's name should not be abused. We want to reinforce our province's commitment to zero tolerance for these offenders and their heinous crimes and provide our full support to the victims and their families. […] We need to fill this gap.
According to Ms. Smith and Ms. Scott, other provinces like Saskatchewan and Alberta have similar laws, justifying the need for a similar change in Ontario so that sex offenders cannot escape accountability. .
The police know when [these people] change their names, but the average person doesn't know, Scott said. It's everyone's responsibility to watch over our children.
The law would prevent people on Ontario's sex offender registry from legally changing their names, including those convicted of child pornography, sexual assault and sexual exploitation.
Christina Mitas, a former Progressive Conservative MP who did not run for re-election in 2022, first introduced the bill in 2020, without it being adopted before the elections. So Ms. Smith and Ms. Scott took over.
Name changes in the province are published in a legislative document called the Ontario Gazette, but few read it, Mitas noted. As things stand, there remains the opportunity for sex offenders to walk away from their heinous crimes, to walk away from the consequences, and to walk away from the repercussions for their victims, she said during the debate at the time.
John Vanthof, NDP critic for solicitor general questions , said he supports passage of the bill.
Ontario's sex offender registry is known as the Christopher's Law, named after Christopher Stephenson, an 11-year-old killed in 1988 by a previously convicted sex offender.
With information from The Canadian Press