“Pornography law in Canada” Since the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1968-69, which repressed a number of rules relating to sexual norms, was passed in the 1960s, pornography has altered in Canada. With the R v. Butler ruling, there has been a change in how information is classified as obscene or not. R. v. Butler argued that the obscenity laws violated the right to free speech. Court ruled pornography violates equality if it is demeaning, dehumanizing, and dangerous. As a result, following the Butler decision, there is a change from the community standard test to the harm test.

Pornography law in Canada: children’s pornography

According to Section 163.1 of the Criminal Code of Canada, child pornography is any image, moving picture, or audio that “shows a person who is or where the prominent characteristic of the material is “for a sexual purpose, of a sexual organ or the anal region of a person under the age of eighteen years.” Texts encouraging sexual conduct with minors or describing minor activities with a sexual objective are considered dominant characteristics of child pornography.

Four Basic Forms of Child Pornography Offenses:

Creating child pornography, disseminating child pornography, possessing child pornography, and accessing child pornography are the four forms of child pornography offenses. A similar set of escalating factors applies to those who produce or make this illegal material available to others, and the Criminal Code will consider it an aggravating factor if the person committed the offense with the intent to profit (Criminal Code, s. 163(1), ss. 4(3)). Laws pertaining to child pornography are similar to those governing illegal drugs in that both are inherently illegal to possess.

In order to be charged with possessing or accessing child pornography, the accused must have known they were doing so or acted purposefully ignorant of the materials’ content. Again, If the defendant is accused of creating child pornography under paragraph (2), they must demonstrate that they took “all reasonable steps to ascertain the age of that person” in addition to making sure they did not show that person as being underage (Criminal Code, s. 163(1)(5)).

Meanwhile, the Child Pornography Reporting Act mandates Canadians to report any form of child pornography to authorities. Accordingly, the Child Pornography Reporting Act of 2008, c. 35, s. 3, requires that an informant promptly report any information, regardless of whether it is regarded as “confidential or privileged,” so long as they are not doing so dishonestly or with malice. The Child Pornography Reporting Act of 2008, ch. 35, s. 7(1), states that failing to report child pornography is a summary offense punishable by a fine of up to $2,000 and up to six months in jail.

Pornography law in Canada: What is considered child pornography?

Child pornography involves images, videos, and movies showing sexually explicit behavior under 18 in Canada. Terms apply to minors under 18 years old. The term “child pornography” also refers to images that depict a person under the age of 18’s anal area or sexual organs for intercourse. Child pornography involves under-18 sex accounts.


Voyeurism involves photographing individuals in situations requiring privacy, including nakedness, explicit sexual acts, and exposing genitals or breasts. Possessing any illicit visual recording with the intent to distribute it to others. All such distribution whether through publication or online distribution, is illegal.


Section 163 of the Criminal Code of Canada defines obscene acts as hybrid crimes. The accused could spend up to two years in prison if the Crown decides to proceed via indictment. The extent of the harm to society that the prosecution can demonstrate directly affects the sentence. On the other hand, voyeurism, is also a hybrid offense. It involves possessing items for illicit visual recordings and carries a maximum five-year prison sentence.

All types of child pornographic offenses are regarded as hybrid offenses. Therefore, the prosecution has the option of moving forward summarily or through indictment. Additionally, according to the nature of the offense, each category is accompanied by an obligatory minimum term (Criminal Code, s. 163(1), ss. 2-4). Depending on the offense, mandatory minimum sentences range from three to six months, and maximum fines can last anywhere from 18 months to ten years.

Pornography law in Canada: Punishments

Sentences for crimes involving pornography are very complex. Making child pornography is by far the most serious offense, and the penalties given reflect this. Additionally, the shame associated with a conviction for child pornography may be just as harmful. Anyone facing a charge of this gravity, especially one that has a mandatory minimum sentence, should see an attorney with trial expertise and explore their options.

A person guilty of these offenses may get a jail term in addition to being required to register as a sex offender and refrain from going to certain locations where young people are typically present.

Depending on the amount, caliber (degree of depravity), and proportion of uncovered photographs and films that are original images, sentences increase in severity.

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