When I and Councillors Shawna Stolte and Lisa Kearns heard about Bill C-233 from Oakville North-Burlington MP Pam Damoff at the International Women’s Day luncheon my office hosted in March, we didn’t hesitate to jump in and find a way to help bring awareness to it. It is crucially important that judges know the different ways domestic violence and coercion can occur and work to protect women and children who are experiencing it.
I want to thank Councillors Stolte and Kearns for bringing forward this resolution to our Council meeting. I also want to thank Councillors Angelo Bentivegna and Rory Nisan for bringing the same motion to our Halton Regional Council and for working with residents in Ward 6 to help promote the petition that is asking for support in seeing Bill C-233 become law. In addition, I want to thank MP Damoff and MP Anju Dhillon for their work on Bill C-233.
I am appreciative the vote at Burlington City Council was unanimous and thank my colleagues for their unwavering support.
• • • • •
At our April 12 Burlington City Council meeting, we unanimously approved a resolution brought forward by Councillors Shawna Stolte and Lisa Kearns to support Bill C-233, also dubbed ‘Keira’s Law’. The first reading of the private member’s bill was tabled in the House of Commons by MP Anju Dhillon on Feb. 7, 2022.
Oakville North-Burlington MP Pam Damoff has been working with MP Dillon on Bill C-233 and alongside Jennifer Kagan, mom to Keira, to implement changes to the judicial system to protect women and children in situations of intimate partner/family violence and involved in custody litigations.
Keira, 4, and her biological father Robin Brown were found dead at the bottom of an escarpment at Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area in Milton, in February 2020.
Keira’s parents got married in 2013 and separated two years later, after which Jennifer left the their home in Burlington and moved to Thornhill. At the time of her death, Keira lived with her mother and step-father, Phillip Vaiter.
Bill C-233 would mandate judges receive training on domestic violence and coercive control.
You can read a copy of the first reading of Bill C-233 here: https://www.parl.ca/DocumentViewer/en/44-1/bill/C-233/first-reading; and watch a video of MP Damoff speaking to Keira’s Law and paying tribute to Keira in the House of Commons in Feb. 2022 here: https://twitter.com/PamDamoff/status/1491505450327719943
The bill is expected to be debated on April 28 before it goes to the Status of Women Committee and then the Senate, before it can becomes law.
There is a petition at the House of Commons that calls for support of Bill C-233 — as of April 20, there were 3,485 signatures. Click the link to learn more about the petition. It will remain open for signatures until July 28, 2022.
Click here to read the full Burlington Council resolution: ADM-06-22 Motion Memorandum – Keira’s Law April 19 2022.