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The Senate of Canada building and Senate Chamber in Ottawa on Feb. 18, 2019.Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

Canadian lawmakers have passed a bill that includes a measure known as “Keira’s law,” which would ensure that judges receive education on domestic violence and coercive control in intimate partner and family relationships.

The law is named after Keira Kagan, a four-year-old who was found dead with her father in 2020 in an apparent murder-suicide after being left in his care.

Anju Dhillon, the Liberal MP who introduced the law, said at a news conference that this is a concrete step to do more to protect women and children from domestic violence.

The bill will also introduce electronic monitoring as a possible release condition for those facing domestic violence charges.

The condition would apply when judges believe that releasing an accused person on bail could put someone else’s safety at risk.

Keira’s mother, Dr. Jennifer Kagan, said the law is an incredible achievement that will solidify her daughter’s legacy as a beacon of protection and safety for others.

“This bill signals a change in the way domestic violence will be treated by the family and criminal court system,” she said.

“Time is up in terms of victims of domestic violence not receiving the protection that they need, in terms of children being put into unsafe hands or into the hands of an abuser, like what happened to our daughter Keira.”

She said she wants to spare other children and families from the horror she experienced after Keira’s death.

“The fact that it was passed – and in such short order, based on how things usually go – really shows the dedication that our country has to bring these issues to the forefront,” said Keira’s stepfather, Philip Viater.

“Hopefully we do get that culture shift.”

Dhillon said she was grateful the law passed with “immense support” from her colleagues.

The bill received unanimous consent in both the House of Commons, where it passed last June, and in the Senate, which gave its final approval late Tuesday evening.

“The message is clear. We all agree that more needs to be done to protect women and their children who are also victims of domestic violence,” she said.

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