OTTAWA, April 23, 2013 – Today, the Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and the Honourable Vic Toews, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Provencher and Minister of Public Safety, launched consultations with victims of crime, victim advocates and victim-serving organizations to discuss key priorities for the creation of a Canadian Victims Bill of Rights.
"The Harper Government is committed to standing up for victims of crime and ensuring that victims have a more effective voice in the criminal justice system," said Minister Nicholson. "Today's consultations are critical to identifying and recognizing how to better entrench the rights of victims into a single law at the federal level, as part of our Government's commitment to victims of crime."
Today's consultations follow the Government's commitment in February to enhance the rights of victims of crime by bringing forward legislation to implement a Canadian Victims Bill of Rights. This legislation builds on the Government's record of achievements in advancing the interests for victims of crime by entrenching their rights into a single law at the federal level.
These achievements include:
- the establishment of the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime;
- the creation of the Federal Victims Strategy, with more than $90 million allocated since 2007 for projects and services that help give victims a more effective voice in the criminal justice system;
- the allocation of more than $10 million for new or enhanced Child Advocacy Centres since 2010 to address the needs of child and youth victims of crime;
- the introduction of legislation to double the victims' surcharge and make it mandatory; and
- the elimination of the faint-hope clause.
"Our Government is committed to keeping our streets and communities safe. We are taking concrete action to ensure the voices of victims of crime are heard and that offenders are held accountable for their actions," said Minister Toews. "These consultations offer a meaningful opportunity to provide input on how the criminal justice system should respond to victims."
The consultations are in keeping with the Government's Plan for Safe Streets and Communities, which is one of four priorities identified by the Prime Minister. This Plan focuses on tackling crime, victims' rights, and fair and efficient justice.
Consultations open to the public will be hosted on-line from May 1 to June 30, 2013. Those interested in participating can visit the Department of Justice's website for more information starting May 1, 2013.
Backgrounder: Key Accomplishments for Victims of Crime
Julie Di Mambro
Office of the Minister of Justice
Department of Justice