CVBR and Changes to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act: What This Means for Victims
The Canadian Victims Bill of Rights (CVBR) provides clear rights for victims of crime at the federal level, which include the right to information, protection, participation, and the right to seek restitution. Under the CVBR, victims also have the right to make a complaint to a federal department or agency if they believe that their rights have not been respected by them.
Changes introduced as a result of this legislation took effect in various stages, as follows:
The legislation introduced the following changes for the Parole Board of Canada (PBC or the Board):
- A formalized victims complaints process for victims who believe their rights under the CVBR have not been respected by the PBC.
- The definition of a victim now explicitly includes those who have experienced "property damage or economic loss".
- Registered victims now have entrenched in law the right to request and receive copies of PBC decisions from its Decision Registry.
- If a victim has provided the Board with a statement, Board members are required to impose any conditions on an offender with a long-term supervision order that are reasonable and necessary to protect the victim, or provide reasons why they did not do so. (Note: This provision already applies to offenders on unescorted temporary absences, day and full parole, and statutory release).
- A victim's right to designate a representative (formerly referred to as an "agent") to receive information on the victim's behalf is now entrenched in law.
As of June 1, 2016
The legislation introduced other PBC-related changes to the CCRA, including the following:
- If the Board has imposed conditions on the offender in order to protect a victim, it is required to take reasonable steps to inform the victim and consider their concerns before removing or varying any of those conditions.
- Victims who do not attend a parole hearing can request to listen to an audio recording of the hearing upon request.
For more information about victims' rights and the parole process, please call the PBC Victims Info Line at 1-866-789-INFO (1-866-789-4636 - toll free) or visit PBC's Victims and the parole process page.
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