Parole Board of Canada: Victims and the Parole Process

  You may also access this video on the Parole Board of Canada’s YouTube channel.

Under the law, all offenders in federal custody are eligible to be reviewed for parole

at some point in their sentence.

The Parole Board of Canada is responsible for making decisions on whether or not

to grant, deny, revoke or cancel parole,

and to authorize or approve temporary absences for these offenders.

By law, victims have a right to information, participation and protection while the offender

who harmed them is under the PBC's jurisdiction.

The PBC is committed to respecting the rights of victims in the conditional release process.

A victim is defined as a person who has suffered physical or emotional harm, property damage,

or economic loss as a result of a crime.

The following people can exercise a victim's rights if the victim is deceased

or not able to act on their own behalf:

A victim's spouse, a common law partner who has lived with the victim for at least

one year prior to the victim's death,

a relative or dependant of the victim,

anyone who has custody of the victim

or the victim's dependant.

If you are a victim of crime and want to receive information about the offender who harmed you

while they are under the jurisdiction of the Parole Board of Canada

and the Correctional Service of Canada, you must first register.

To respect the privacy rights of victims who do not want to receive information

about the offender, registration is not automatic.

To register as a victim, simply visit the Victims Portal website and complete a registration request,

fill out the ‘Request for Victim Registration' form available on the PBC's

website, or call the PBC toll-free Victim Information Line at 1-866-789-4636.

The Victims Portal is a secure online service

that allows registered victims to access information 24/7 about the offender who harmed them

from the Parole Board of Canada and the Correctional Service of Canada.

To create an account, simply visit the Victims Portal website

and complete the registration request.

If you are already registered as a victim, you can request a Victims Portal account

by signing in to the portal using your GCKey or through a secure Sign-In partner

and entering your information.

Once registered on the Portal, you can receive information about the offender, request…

…to observe an offender's hearing…

…and/or present a victim statement…

…request copies of PBC decisions…

…and request to listen to the audio recording of a parole hearing.

As a registered victim you have the right to receive specific information about the

offender who harmed you, such as: the offender's name; their offence and the court of conviction;

their sentence start date and length;

and their eligibility and review dates for unescorted

temporary absences and parole.

You may also receive additional information, if your interest in it outweighs any compromise

to the offender's privacy that could result from its disclosure.

This can include Parole Board of Canada decisions, special conditions imposed on an offender's release,

and whether the offender has appealed a decision.

You can also request to listen to the audio recording of certain hearings,

and request copies of PBC written decisions.

To request a written copy of a decision, check this option when registering as a victim

or complete and submit the ‘Request for Decision Registry' form available on the PBC's website

or modify your preferences in the Victims Portal.

As a registered victim, you have the right to submit information to the Parole Board of Canada

at any time related to your safety concerns,

the offender's risk to re-offend

and/or the effect the crime has had on you, your family, or the community.

Victim statements can detail the physical, emotional or financial impact the offence has had on you,

and request that special conditions be imposed on the offender's conditional release,

such as for no contact with you or your family members, or geographical restrictions.

Information from victims helps PBC understand the seriousness of the offence.

It also assists in assessing the risk of the offender re-offending if released and if special

conditions are needed to manage the offender's risk in the community,

especially if they will be living near you or they are a member of your family.

As a registered victim, you have the right to attend Parole Board of Canada hearings

of the offender who harmed you.

Hearings may be conducted in person…

…or…

…virtually by way of videoconference.

Hearings typically last several hours and normally include…

Board members, a hearing officer, a CSC parole officer, and the offender.

They may also include other participants, such as an Elder if it is a culturally responsive hearing,

and observers, such as victim and offender supports, members of the public

and media.

To attend a hearing…

…simply complete and submit the 'Request to Observe a Parole Hearing and/or present

a Victim Statement' form, available on the PBC's website or through the Victims Portal,

at least 30 days before the hearing.

The Department of Justice Victims Fund provides financial assistance to victims, as well as

a support person, to attend PBC hearings.

If you have prepared a victim statement, you can read it at the hearing yourself…

…or designate a support person to read it on your behalf.

You can also choose to submit your victim statement in a pre-recorded video or audio recording,

whether or not you attend the hearing.

Board members will consider your statement in their decision-making

regardless of what format you provide it in.

The PBC's website includes a checklist to help victims develop their statements.

For more information, visit Canada.ca/victims-and-parole

Or call the PBC Victim Information Line toll-free at: 1-866-789-4636.

Transcript: Victim Services

The screen opens to a sunny day on a quaint neighbourhood street with cars passing by.

Text displays: "Parole Board of Canada (PBC)"

Text displays: "Victims and the Parole Process"

The screen transitions to a green background.

Text displays: "PBC and Victims' Rights"

The screen transitions to the front of the red brick building where the hearing is being held.

NARRATOR: Under the law, all offenders in federal custody are eligible to be reviewed for parole at some point in their sentence.

The building blurs, a file folder slides into center-frame with the word PAROLE printed across it and the Parole Board of Canada signature at the bottom right corner.

The file folder opens up to reveal an image of a Parole Board hearing taking place with Board members, a Hearing Officer, a CSC Parole Officer, an Offender and Observers.

NARRATOR: The Parole Board of Canada is responsible for making decisions on whether or not to grant, deny, revoke or cancel parole, and to authorize or approve temporary absences for these offenders.

The scene changes to: A close-up of a Female victim sitting on the right side of the frame, the seat next to her is empty.

NARRATOR: By law, victims have a right to information, participation and protection while the offender who harmed them is underthe PBC’s jurisdiction.

Text displays: "Information"

Text displays: "Participation"

Text displays: "Protection"

NARRATOR: The PBC is committed to respecting the rights of victims in the conditional release process.

Text displays: "Respecting the rights of victims"

The scene transitions to a purple background.

Text displays: "Who is a victim of crime?"

The screen transitions to a stylised blue sky with a woman standing clasping her hands, a man standing with a crutch, a woman standing, an elderly man in a wheelchair, a woman in glasses and a man standing.

NARRATOR: A victim is defined as a person who has suffered physical or emotional harm, property damage, or economic loss as a result of a crime.

Text displays: "Physical Harm"

Text displays: "Emotional Harm"

Text displays: "Property Damage"

Text displays: "Economic Loss"

NARRATOR: The following people can exercise a victim’s rights if the victim is deceased or not able to act on their own behalf… 

The screen transitions back to the stylised blue sky without the characters.

NARRATOR:  …A victim’s spouse. A common law partner who has lived with the victim for at least one year prior to the victim’s death. A relative or dependant of the victim. Anyone who has custody of the victim or the victim’s dependant

Text displays: "A victim’s spouse"

Text displays: "Common Law Partner"

Text displays: "Relative or Dependant"

Text displays: "Anyone Who Has Custody"

Text displays: "Victim’s Dependant"

The scene transitions to a green background.

Text displays: "Victim Registration"

The screen transitions to the neighbourhood street with a taxi passing by.

NARRATOR: If you are a victim of crime and want to receive information about the offender who harmed you…

The screen transitions to a man at home working on a laptop filling out the registration request on the Victims Portal.

NARRATOR: …while they are under the jurisdiction of the Parole Board of Canada and the Correctional Service of Canada, you must first register. To respect the privacy rights of victims who do not want to receive information about the offender, registration is not automatic.

The screen transitions to: A Parole Board of Canada Board member in his office working on a computer.

NARRATOR: To register as a victim, simply visit the Victims Portal website and complete a registration request. Fill out the ‘Request for Victim Registration’ form available on the PBC’s website, or call the PBC toll-free Victim Information Line at 1-866-789-4636.

Text displays: "Victim Information Line 1-866-789-4636 (toll free)"

The screen transitions to a yellow background.

Text displays: "Victims Portal"

The screen transitions to a warm and bright living room. A victim and her friend are seated on a couch together. Both are looking at a laptop that the victim is holding on her lap.

NARRATOR: The Victims Portal is a secure online service that allows registered victims to access information 24/7 about the offender who harmed them from the Parole Board of Canada and the Correctional Service of Canada.

Text displays: "Secure Online Service"

Text displays: "Access Information 24/7"

The screen transitions to a split screen with the Living room on the right and a laptop screen on the left displaying the victims portal web page.

NARRATOR: To create an account, simply visit the Victims Portal website and complete the registration request.

NARRATOR: If you are already registered as a victim, you can request a Victims Portal account by signing in to the portal using your GCKey or through a secure Sign-In partner and entering your information.

The screen transitions to the victim in her kitchen with her laptop and a cup of coffee on the counter.

NARRATOR: Once registered on the Portal, you can receive information about the offender…., request…

Text displays: "Receive Information"

NARRATOR: …request to observe an offender’s hearing…

Screen transitions to a split screen with a laptop displaying a Parole Board hearing.

Text displays: "Observe Hearing"

Screen transitions to the victim sitting in a home office with her laptop and a cup of coffee on the desk

NARRATOR: …and/or present a victim statement…

Text displays: "Present a Victim Statement"

The screen transitions to a stylized blue background with a laptop displaying the Decision Registry and Services and Information web page.

NARRATOR: …request copies of PBC decisions…

Text displays: Request Copies of PBC Decisions

The screen changes to a smart phone on a table displaying a sound speaker symbol.

NARRATOR: …and request to listen to the audio recording of a parole hearing.

Text displays:  "Listen to the Audio Recording of a Hearing"

The screen transitions to a solid blue background.

Text displays: "Receiving Information as a Victim"

The screen transitions to an Institutional brick building on a bright and clear day. A Canadian flag sits at the top of the building.

NARRATOR: As a registered victim you have the right to receive specific information about the offender who harmed you, such as: the offender's name; their offence and the court of conviction; their sentence start date and length; and their eligibility and review dates for unescorted temporary absences and parole.

Text displays: "Offender's Name"

Text display: "Offence"

Text display: "Court of Conviction"

Text display: "Offender’s Sentence Start Date and Length"

Text display: "Unescorted Temporary Absences"

Text display:  "Parole"

The screen changes to an elderly man in a wheelchair looking at his laptop on a small table in his brightly decorated living room.

NARRATOR: You may also receive additional information, if your interest in it outweighs any compromise to the offender’s privacy that could result from its disclosure.

Text display: "Receive additional information"

Text display: "Interest outweighs any compromise to the offender’s privacy"

The screen changes to a close-up of the laptop screen with a striped blue screen.

NARRATOR: This can include Parole Board of Canada decisions, special conditions imposed on an offender’s release, and whether the offender has appealed a decision.

Text displays: "PBC Decisions"

Text displays:  "Special Conditions"

Text displays: "Appeal"

NARRATOR: You can also request to listen to the audio recording of certain hearings, and request copies of PBC written decisions.

Text displays: "Listen to Audio Recording"

Text displays: "PBC Written Decisions"

The screen transitions to the Victims Portal web page with a checkmark in the middle of a box.

NARRATOR: To request a written copy of a decision, check this option when registering as a victim or complete and submit the ‘Request for Decision Registry’form available on the PBC’s website or modify your preferences in the Victims Portal.

The screen transitions to a solid green background

Text displays: "Providing Information as a Victim"

The screen transitions to a male victim, with a crutch, sitting in his apartment at his desk using a laptop.

NARRATOR: As a registered victim, you have the right to submit information to the Parole Board of Canada at any time related to your safety concerns, the offender's risk to re-offend and or the effect the crime has had on you, your family, or the community.

Text displays: "Safety concerns"

Text displays: "Offender’s risk and re-offend"

Text displays: "Effect the crime has had on you, your family or the community"

NARRATOR: Victim statements can detail the physical, emotional or financial impact the offence has had on you, and request that special conditions be imposed on the offender’s conditional release, such as for no contact with you or your family members, or geographical restrictions.

Text displays: "Victim Statement"

Text displays: "Physical, emotional or financial impact"

Text displays: "Special conditions"

Text displays: "No contact"

Text displays: "Geographical restrictions"

The screen changes to Parole Board of Canada Board Members seated at an office table working on their computers. Folders and documents are spread out on the table.

NARRATOR: Information from victims helps PBC understand the seriousness of the offence. It also assists in assessing the risk of the offender re-offending if released and if special conditions are needed to manage the offender's risk in the community, especially if they will be living near you or they are a member of your family.

Text displays: "Seriousness of the Offence"

Text displays: "Risk of re-offending"

Text displays: "Special conditions to manage the offender’s risk"

The screen transitions to a solid green background.

Text displays: "Participating in a PBC Hearing and Presenting a Victim Statement"

The screen transitions to the outside of a city building where a silhouette of the Victim stands outside looking in.

NARRATOR: As a registered victim, you have the right to attend Parole Board of Canada hearings of the offender who harmed you.

The screen changes to a Parole Board hearing taking place with Board members, a Hearing Officer, a CSC Parole Officer, an Offender and Observers.

NARRATOR: Hearings may be conducted in person or…

The screen transitions to the victim sitting at her home office, watching the hearing on her laptop. There are books, papers and a cup of coffee beside her on the desk.

NARRATOR: …virtually by way of videoconference.

The screen changes to a close-up of a clock on the wall as the hour hand moves forward.

NARRATOR: Hearings typically last several hours and normally include…

The screen changes back to the Parole Board hearing.

NARRATOR: Board members, a hearing officer, a CSC parole officer, and the offender. They may also include other participants, such as an Elder if it is a culturally responsive hearing, and observers, such as victim and offender supports, members of the public and media.

Text displays: "Board members"
Text displays: "Hearing Officer"
Text displays: "CSC Parole Officer"
Text displays: "Offender"
Text displays: "Elder"
Text displays: "Observers"
Text displays: "Victim and Offender Supports"
Text displays: "Members of the Public"
Text displays: "Media"

The screen transitions to a stylised blue sky scene with clouds.

NARRATOR: To attend a hearing simply complete and submit the ‘Request to Observe a Parole Hearing and/or present a Victim Statement’ form, available on the PBC’s website or through the Victims Portal, at least 30 days before the hearing.

Text displays: "Request to Observe a Parole Hearing and/or Present a Victim Statement Form"
A laptop appears

Text displays: "30 days before the hearing"
A calendar appears

NARRATOR: The Department of Justice Victims Fund provides financial assistance to victims, as well as a support person, to attend PBC hearings.

Text displays: "Financial Assistance"
A cheque and pen appear

The screen changes to the victim in person at the Parole Board hearing standing reading her victim statement.

NARRATOR: If you have prepared a victim statement, you can read it at the hearing yourself…

Screen changes to the two Board members listening intently to the victim.

NARRATOR: …or designate a support person to read it on your behalf.

The screen changes to the victim at home recording her victim statement. She is sitting at her home office, in front of her laptop. There are books, and papers and a cup of coffee beside her on the desk.

NARRATOR: You can also choose to submit your victim statement in a pre-recorded video or audio recording, whether or not you attend the hearing.

The screen changes back to the hearing room with the two Board members watching the victim on their laptop screens.

NARRATOR: Board members will consider your statement in their decision-making regardless of what format you provide it in.

The screen transitions back to the stylised blue sky background with an illustration of a checklist with Do and Do Not columns.

Display text: Victim Statement Checklist

NARRATOR: The PBC’s website includes a checklist to help victims develop their statements.

The screen transitions to the neighbourhood street from the opening scene with an opaque solid teal layer over it.

NARRATOR: For more information, visit Canada.ca/victims-and-parole. Or call the PBC Victim Information Line toll-free at: 1-866-789-4636

Text displays: "For more information: Canada.ca/victims-and-parole"

Text displays: "PBC Victim Information Line: 1-866-789-4636 (toll-free)"

Screen transitions to all black screen with the Parole Board of Canada signature with a Canadian flag.

The Canada wordmark appears with a waving Canadian flag.

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