Government of Canada

Government of Canada

March 16, 2007 09:00 ET

Canada's New Government Announces Consultations to Establish a Single Service Delivery Network for Victims of Abuse

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - March 16, 2007) - The Honourable Monte Solberg, Minister of Human Resources and Social Development and the Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of Public Safety Canada, today announced the beginning of consultations for a proposed new service for victims of abuse.

The consultations will focus on how to effectively integrate programs from a number of federal departments to form a service delivery network for victims at risk. Service Canada will engage in discussions with federal government departments, provincial and territorial partners and stakeholder and advocacy groups in the development of this comprehensive approach to assist victims at risk of serious injury or death in changing their identities while respecting jurisdictional authorities.

In the proposed new service, Service Canada will be responsible for coordinating access to all required federal government services and will work with provincial and territorial government partners. The proposed new service is being developed in consultation with Public Safety Canada.

"Support for this most vulnerable group requires a coordinated response from all levels of government. My department will work with provincial and territorial counterparts so that the process is seamless and secure for victims of abuse," said Minister Solberg.

In announcing the proposed new program, Minister Day recognized the contributions of M.P. Steven Blaney, Levis--Bellechasse, Quebec, sponsor of Bill C-286. "Today's announcement demonstrates that Canada's New Government is committed to supporting victims of abuse. We want to thank Mr. Blaney for bringing attention to the need for assistance for victims of abuse, and for supporting us in the development of the program," said Minister Day.

This news release is available in alternative formats, on request. Call 1 800 788-8282 on a touch-tone phone, or through a teletypewriter (TTY).

Backgrounder

Canada lays claim to some of the world's most advanced measures to address family violence. Federal and provincial/territorial governments continue to introduce measures to make the criminal justice system more responsive to this issue. However, despite the efforts of police services, the courts, social service agencies and corrections/probation agencies, some perpetrators continue to stalk, threaten and seriously injure their family members and former partners. In these extreme cases, victims are often forced to make the drastic decision of changing their identities in order to protect themselves and their children from serious injury or fatal harm.

A confidential service for victims of abuse

With direction from a consultative process, Service Canada will be expanding its repertoire of programs to include an identity change service that coordinates the participation of federal departments and agencies to issue a full range of federal identity documents and transfer federal benefits to a victim's new identity. This new service will also allow the phase out of the New Identities for Victims of Abuse ad hoc process.

This proposed new service will enable provincial/territorial governments and police services to access a single service delivery network to secure all the necessary federal documentation to complete an identity change. This service will ensure documents and benefits are securely re-created with no links to the victim's former identity. The ultimate goal is to prevent serious injury or death where traditional interventions have been inadequate to address the severity of the situation.

To implement the service, HRSDC/Service Canada will form partnerships with provincial and territorial governments to integrate programs from a number of federal departments to form a single service delivery network for victims at risk of serious injury or death.

Due to the sensitivity of the proposed program, care must be taken to avoid providing detailed information that could compromise the safety of potential participants (victims of abuse) and the departmental employees who would support the program.

New Identities for Victims of Abuse (NIVA)

An ad hoc process, New Identities for Victims of Abuse (NIVA), was developed in 1992 within HRDC (now HRSDC/Service Canada) in collaboration with Revenue Canada (now Canada Revenue Agency) to respond to requests to create new identities for victims of abuse who were at clear risk of serious injury or death.

Bill C-286

During the first session of the 39th parliament Bill C-286 was introduced by MP Steven Blaney to expand the Witness Protection Program to cover spouses whose life is in danger. The bill received first and second reading and was referred to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security (SECU) on October 20, 2006 for consideration.

In response to the proposed Bill C-286, Public Security and Emergency Preparedness Canada (PSEPC), the federal department responsible for the Witness Protection Program Act, contacted Service Canada for input in developing a federal government position on the bill and to determine the best approach for the Government of Canada to respond to the special needs of victims of abuse at risk for serious injury or death. This approach developed into a new confidential service for victims of abuse.

Contact Information

  • Media only:
    Service Canada
    Media Relations Office
    819-994-5559
    or
    Public Enquiries:
    1 800 O-Canada (1-800-622-6232)
    TTY: 1-800-926-9105
    servicecanada.gc.ca