The Three Year Time Bar Flaw

Before I go too far into the details of what happened on Canadian Forces Base Namao in the years of 1978 until 1980, I’m going to first examine two historical flaws in the National Defence Act that greatly impact the ability of the Canadian Forces to investigate historical child sexual abuse that occurred on the military bases in Canada prior to 1998. These flaws may actually interfere with modern day CFNIS investigations.

1998 is an important year in that this was when Parliament passed Bill C-25 “An Act to make Amendments to the National Defence Act”. Legislative Summary LS-311E accompanied Bill C-25.

Per the Library of Parliament web page:
Legislative Summaries
Legislative Summaries are non-partisan, concise analyses of bills. They are prepared for government bills concerning new initiatives or changes to existing legislation and for significant private members’ bills and Senate public bills. 

In layman’s terms, a Legislative Summary is a detailed overview of the contents contained within a Bill without all of the legalese that goes along with a Bill.

I became aware of LS-311E and Bill C-25 quite by accident in April of 2014.
I forget exactly what I had been searching for at the Law Library at the Supreme Court of British Columbia, but I came across Legislative Summary LS-311E.

This section of LS-311E talks about removing the “3-year” time bar from the National Defence Act.


This is what the time bar actually looked like in the 1985 National Defence Act.

This is what the time bar looked like in the 1970 National Defence Act.

And this is what the time bar looked like in the 1950 National Defence Act.

Subsection 2 relates to Mutiny, Desertion, AWOL, or any service offence for which the punishment was death.

What are “Service Offences?”
Service Offences include Offences Punishable by Ordinary Law, which in simple terms means criminal code offences.

Under the Criminal Code of Canada, indictable offences have no statute of limitations. However, the National Defence Act, via Section 60 from 1950 until 1970, and Section 59 from 1970 until 1998, placed a three year statute of limitations on ALL Criminal Code of Canada matters that were enumerated into the National Defence Act by Section 130.


This means that offences such as Gross Indecency(157-1970), Indecent Assault(156-1970), Buggery(155-1970), Sexual Interference(151-1985), Invitation to Sexual Touching(152-1985), Sexual Exploitation(153-1985) which have no statute of limitations under the Criminal Code of Canada, do in fact have a statute of limitations under the pre-1998 National Defence Act.

From 1950 until 1985, the Canadian Forces could not hold a service tribunal for the crimes of Murder, Manslaughter, and Rape. And from 1985 until 1998, the Canadian Forces could not hold a service tribunal for the crimes of Murder, Manslaughter, and Sexual Assault.


It must be pointed out that in the pre-1985 Criminal Code of Canada, Rape was a crime that could only be committed against females. Males could never be the victim of rape under the pre-1985 Criminal Code of Canada.
Even at that, Rape was rarely the preferred charge when a female child was sexually assaulted.
This means that the Canadian Forces could hold service tribunals for the crimes of Gross Indecency, Indecent Assault, and Buggery. And this also meant that the 3-year time bar applied to these crimes.

Sexual Assault(271), Sexual Assault with a Weapon(272), and Aggravated Sexual Assault(273) in the 1985 Criminal Code of Canada are completely separate charges from Sexual Interference(151), Invitation to Sexual Touching(152), and Sexual Exploitation(153). This means that while the Canadian Forces may have been precluded from conducting a service tribunal for Sexual Assault, Sexual Assault with a Weapon, and Aggravated Sexual Assault, there was absolutely nothing preventing the Canadian Forces from holding a service tribunal for the crimes of Sexual Interference, Invitation to Sexual Touching, and Sexual Exploitation.
The problem with this is that the three year time bar applies to all pre-1998 instances of Sexual Interference, Invitation to Sexual Touching, and Sexual Exploitation, which all just happen to be offences that apply only to child victims.

And I know that this 3-year time bar actually impacts the ability of the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service to conduct modern day investigations.

I had asked Mr. Tenaschuk about the possibility of investigating the former base commander of Canadian Forces Base Namao to see whether or not he committed the offence of “obstruction of justice” during the investigation of his immediate subordinate, Captain Father Angus McRae.

“Obstruction of Justice” is an indictable offence under the Criminal Code of Canada.

The response that I received from Mr. Tenaschuk confirms that basically any criminal code offence that occurred on a base in Canada prior to 1998 cannot be investigated due to the 3-year time bar that applies to ALL service offences which occurred prior to 1998.

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