Criminal Code must recognize FASD: Yukon MP

Ryan Leef says people with FASD face inequities at all levels of the justice system

Yukon MP Ryan Leef is calling for amendments to the Criminal Code to help people living with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.

Leef introduced a private member's bill in the House of Commons Tuesday.

He says the bill amends the Criminal Code by defining FASD, permits the courts to order assessments and would allow a court to consider it as a mitigating factor in sentencing if certain conditions contribute to an offence.

A former police officer and corrections officer, Leef says he's seen first hand the inequities faced by people living with FASD at all stages of the justice system.

"The bill and FASD is an explanation for behaviour and it's not designed to provide absolution for misconduct. There's still accountability required for bad behaviour, but it's going to require a different level of attention to it because these are people born with a neurological development disorder, outside of their control, and it's not curable," Leef says.

Leef says he hopes the amendments will also encourage a new approach to helping people with FASD. 

He says the bill should be introduced later this spring.