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Prime Minister Stephen Harper Announces Historic Legislation to Create a Canadian Victims Bill of Rights

Posted On 2022-04-03 00:00:00

Federal Government seeks to better protect victims of crime and give them a stronger voice in our justice system

OTTAWA – Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced the introduction of legislation to create a Canadian Victims Bill of Rights that would transform the criminal justice system by creating, at the federal level, clear rights for victims of crime – a first in Canadian history.

“Constituents in my riding have consistently told me that our justice system must be enhanced to better meet the needs of victims of crime, and that is exactly what this legislation delivers” said MP Gerry Ritz.

During consultations held by the federal Government over the past year, many victims of crime shared stories of their interactions with the criminal justice system. Many participants expressed a desire for victims of crime to be kept better informed and involved at every stage of the justice process, and called for an increased understanding of the needs of victims.

The Harper Government is delivering on its commitment in the 2013 Speech from the Throne to introduce a Canadian Victims Bill of Rights, a commitment reiterated in Budget 2014. The legislation is part of our Government’s Plan for Safe Streets and Communities, which focuses on holding violent offenders accountable, enhancing the rights of victims, and increasing the efficiency of our justice system.

“Canadians need to feel that their justice system is working for them. They need to feel safe in the environment they live in, and, if they are victimized, they need to feel confident that the justice system will treat them with the courtesy, compassion, and respect they deserve.” added Ritz.

Quick Facts

·         The legislation would create the following statutory rights for victims of crime:

o   Right to information: Victims would have the right to general information about the criminal justice system and available victim services and programs, as well as specific information about the progress of the case, including information relating to the investigation, prosecution and sentencing of the person who harmed them.

o   Right to protection: Victims would have the right to have their security and privacy considered at all stages of the criminal justice process, to have reasonable and necessary measures to protect them from intimidation and retaliation, and to request their identity be protected from public disclosure.

o   Right to participation: Victims would have a right to convey their views about decisions to be made by criminal justice professionals and have them considered at various stages of the criminal justice process, and to present a victim impact statement.

o   Right to restitution: Victims would have the right to have the court consider making a restitution order for all offences for which there are easy-to-calculate financial losses.

  • The Government will provide dedicated funding to support the implementation of the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights through existing resources as well as the allocation of new federal resources.

·         A study released in 2011 by the Department of Justice Canada found that the total cost of crime is an estimated $99.6 billion a year – 83 per cent of which is borne by victims.

·         According to Statistics Canada, nearly 2 million criminal incidents were reported to Canadian police services in 2012.




For more information call the office of Hon. Gerry Ritz 613-992-9703

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