Department of Justice Canada

Department of Justice Canada

September 25, 2013 15:46 ET

Minister of Justice Concludes Cross-Country Consultations on Victims Bill of Rights

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Sept. 25, 2013) - The Honourable Peter MacKay, P.C., Q.C., M.P., Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, today announced the close of his cross-country consultations to assist the Government of Canada with the development of a Victims Bill of Rights. Minister MacKay was joined by Bob Dechert, M.P. for Mississauga-Erindale, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice.

"It was invaluable for me to hear directly from victims of crime, victims' advocates, and those who work in the criminal justice system, from coast to coast to coast, on how to best address victims' rights through legislation," said Minister MacKay. "The stories and experiences shared will be influential as we develop legislation that will improve the experience of victims as they deal with the criminal justice system process. I thank all those who have taken the time to share their perspectives; this will greatly assist us in entrenching victims' rights into federal law."

"Our Government is taking action to ensure that our streets and communities are safe," said Mr. Dechert. "This includes enhancing the rights of victims so they know they have a voice in the criminal justice system."

The consultations followed the Government's commitment in February to entrench the rights of victims of crime at the federal level by bringing forward legislation to implement a Canadian Victims Bill of Rights. In-person consultations were held in Whitehorse, Iqaluit, Montréal, Québec City, Ottawa, St. John's, Halifax, Charlottetown, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, London, Toronto, Moncton, Yellowknife, Edmonton, and Vancouver.

During the consultations, many participants expressed a desire for victims of crime to be kept informed and involved at every stage of the justice process. Others called for an increased understanding of the needs of specific victims, including young victims of crime and those who live in remote and rural communities.

"I was very impressed to see victims bravely dedicated to not only telling their stories but also to standing up for other victims, to improving the justice system for others-for all," added Minister MacKay. "Justice should not just be done-it should also be seen to be done."

Views expressed by those at the cross-country consultations will add to information provided through an online public consultation being hosted on the Department of Justice website. The online consultation will be open until September 27, 2013, and is available at http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/cj-jp/victims-victimes/vrights-droitsv/ . Consultations have also been held, and will continue to be held, with provincial and territorial ministers responsible for justice-related issues. Input from all of the consultations will ultimately contribute to enhancing victims' rights in Canada.

The development of a federal Victims Bill of Rights builds on the Government's record of achievements in giving victims a more effective voice in the criminal justice and corrections systems. These achievements include:

  • Designating more than $120 million for victim-oriented initiatives delivered by the Department of Justice Canada;

  • Providing for $10.25 million for new or enhanced Child Advocacy Centres since 2010 to address the needs of child and youth victims of crime;

  • Creating the Federal Victims Strategy in 2007 and its permanent renewal in 2011;

  • Establishing the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime in 2007;

  • Introducing legislation to double the victims' surcharge and make it mandatory; and

  • Eliminating the faint-hope clause, which allowed murderers to obtain early parole.

The Victims Bill of Rights consultations are part of the Government's Plan for Safe Streets and Communities, which is one of four priorities identified by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in January 2013. This Plan focuses on tackling crime, enhancing victims' rights, and ensuring a fair and efficient justice system.

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Contact Information

  • Paloma Aguilar
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Minister of Justice
    613-992-4621

    Media Relations Office
    Department of Justice
    613-957-4207