Ottawa, Ontario                                                              May 5, 2022

 Bill C-311 – Protecting Pregnant Women and Their Babies from Violence

A private member’s bill to protect pregnant women and their babies from violence, has been introduced in the House of Commons by Conservative MP Cathay Wagantall (Yorkton–Melville). It is currently at Second Reading.

Cathay’s description of her bill (see below) or in her video tells us the way we can assist her to have the bill passed into law.

Commentary By MP Cathay Wagantall

“Hi everyone I’m Cathay Wagantall….

The violence against pregnant women act will address a major fault in our justice system. Women face a greater risk of intimate partner violence when they’re pregnant but as it stands at this moment punishments for those who assault or kill a woman in this vulnerable state do not take the pregnancy into account. My bill would add two new aggravating circumstance to the criminal code of Canada to fill this gap.

  1. Abusing a person whom the offender knew to be pregnant
  2. Causing physical or emotional harm to a pregnant victim

Would be given the same weight as when a crime is committed on the basis of race or religion, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation or gender expression this means judges would be required to consider these new aggravating factors when issuing criminal sentences. Make no mistake that this legislation is long overdue there are over 80 criminal cases in recent memory where Canadian women have been killed while they were pregnant. Each of their attackers knew that they were pregnant when they attacked them and they sought to intentional harm the mother and the child that she had chosen to carry to term. In in many cases the attacker and intended to end the pregnancy. In 2023, our courts fail to value a woman when she’s pregnant and that is wrong. The Violence Against Pregnant women Act would recognize the injury or death of the child in the womb as an aggravating factor in sentencing under the law. Our courts should be empowered to issue criminal sentences that match the crimes that are being committed.

Bill C-311 would require judges to consider the vulnerable state of pregnancy when an attacker has been found guilty of assaulting or murders a pregnant women. This would ensure that knowingly assaulting a pregnant woman and causing physical or emotional harm to a pregnant woman are factored in as aggravating circumstances during the sentencing process.”

How to Support Bill C-311

  1. Print, sign, and return the petitions available on paper petition. Return them to MP Cathay Wagantall’s office postage-free, or by signing the House of Commons online petition.
  2. Contact your local MP with a short and respectful note. Tell him/her that it’s time for Parliament to empower our courts to issue criminal sentences that match the crimes committed against pregnant women.
  3. Visit There Were Twofor more helpful tools and resources.