OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - June 19, 2013) - The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, today welcomed the passing in the House of Commons of Bill C-54, the Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act. This legislation would ensure that public safety is the paramount consideration in the decision-making process with respect to accused persons found Not Criminally Responsible on Account of Mental Disorder (NCR). Bill C-54 will now move to the Senate for further study.
"Our Government has acted, at the request of victims and concerned Canadians, to ensure greater public safety and to enhance the role of victims in the Criminal Code mental disorder regime," said Minister Nicholson. "Today, our Government welcomes the passing in the House of Commons of the Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act."
The legislation has three main components:
Enhancing Victims' Involvement - the legislation would enhance the safety of victims and provide an opportunity for greater involvement of victims in the Criminal Code mental disorder regime. The legislation would:
- help ensure that victims are notified (upon request) when an NCR accused is discharged and where they will be living;
- allow non-communications orders between an NCR accused and the victim; and,
- ensure that the safety of victims is considered when decisions are made about an NCR accused person.
Putting Public Safety First - the legislation would codify public safety as the paramount consideration in the decision-making process relating to accused persons found to be NCR as set out by the Supreme Court of Canada. This will ensure that the law is consistently applied across Canada.
Creating a High-Risk Designation - the legislation would create a new designation to protect the public from high-risk NCR accused. Upon being designated by a court as high-risk, an NCR accused would be held in custody and could not be considered for release by a review board until their designation is revoked by a court. Additionally, high-risk NCR accused could potentially have their review periods extended up to three years. Such individuals would not be entitled to unescorted passes, and could only obtain an escorted pass in narrow circumstances and only if a structured plan is in place to address any undue risk to public safety.
Access to treatment for any NCR accused person would not be affected by these reforms.
This legislation is part of the Government's Plan for Safe Streets and Communities, which is one of four priorities identified by the Prime Minister. This plan focuses on holding violent criminals accountable, enhancing the rights of victims, and increasing the efficiency of our justice system. It also builds on actions that have already been taken to further advance the interests of victims of crime. These actions include the creation of the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime, and the introduction of legislation to double the victims' surcharge.
Backgrounder: Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act
An online version of the legislation can be found at www.parl.gc.ca
(Version française disponible)
Follow us on Twitter (@JusticeCanadaEn), join us on Facebook or visit our YouTube channel.