Department of Justice Canada

Department of Justice Canada

December 27, 2013 11:46 ET

The Government of Canada Stands Up for Victims of Crime

Working towards introducing the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Dec. 27, 2013) - Over the past year, the Government of Canada has been working to improve the rights of victims by hearing from Canadians about how federal legislation could address the needs of victims of crime and give them a more effective voice in the criminal justice system.

Earlier this year, the Government announced that it would introduce a Canadian Victims Bill of Rights. This commitment was reconfirmed in the Government's 2013 Speech from the Throne. Between April and October, in-person consultations were held across the country with victims of crime, justice advocates and provincial and territorial governments to help inform the development of a Victims Bill of Rights, including what rights should be recognized and protected by federal legislation. An on-line consultation was also hosted on the Department of Justice website between May and September, 2013.

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. Throughout the consultations, there was strong support for the idea of formally recognizing the rights of victims of crime.

Input from all of the consultations is being considered and will ultimately contribute to enhancing victims' rights in Canada as the Government develops a Victims Bill of Rights. Legislation to create a Canadian Victims Bill of Rights is expected to be introduced in early 2014.

Quick Facts

  • The consultations followed the Government's commitment in February 2013 to develop a Canadian Victims Bill of Rights. In-person consultations were held in Ottawa, Vancouver, Edmonton, Yellowknife, Moncton, Toronto, London, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Charlottetown, Halifax, St. John's, Montréal, Québec City, Iqaluit, and Whitehorse.
  • The development of a Canadian 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 include:

    • Designating more than $120 million since 2006 for victim-oriented initiatives delivered by the Department of Justice Canada, including money allocated through the Department of Justice's Victims Fund for projects and activities delivered by the provinces, territories and non-governmental organizations;

    • Providing $10.25 million for new or enhanced Child Advocacy Centres since 2010 to address the needs of child and youth victims of crime. So far, CACs projects have been funded in more than 20 cities or municipalities across Canada;

    • Creating the Federal Victims Strategy in 2007 and permanently renewing it in 2011;

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

    • Implementing legislation to double the victim surcharge and make it mandatory.

  • The development of a Canadian Victims Bill of Rights is also 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.

Quotes

"This year we have spoken with many Canadians across the country to learn how we can improve the experience of victims as they cope with an often intimidating criminal justice system. The stories and experiences that have been shared with us will be invaluable in helping us develop legislation that aims to improve the overall treatment of victims and their families; helps ensure that victims are respected and, where possible, informed of decisions that affect them; and also addresses the rights of victims in Canada and entrenches those rights in law."

-Peter MacKay, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Central Nova, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

"Our Government is standing up for victims of crime and ensuring that victims have a more effective voice in the criminal justice system. We have taken concrete action to ensure the voices of victims of crime are heard. I am pleased to continue our work to formally recognize the rights of victims of crime in the criminal justice and correctional systems."

-Steven Blaney, P.C., M.P. for Lévis-Bellechasse, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Related Products

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

Associated Links

Background information on the consultations: http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/cj-jp/victims-victimes/vrights-droitsv/

Contact Information

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

    Media Relations Office
    Department of Justice
    613-957-4207