Frequently Asked Questions – PBC Victim Complaint Process
What is the purpose of the PBC victim complaint process?
The Board, like other federal entities, is required to establish a formal victim complaint mechanism in accordance with the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights (CVBR), to respond to victims who believe their rights under it have not been respected. The complaints mechanism came into force on .
The PBC Victim Complaint Process aims to:
- be fair and respectful to all complainants;
- be transparent and consistent in responding to complaints;
- provide as early a resolution as possible; and
- improve Parole Board of Canada practices, procedures and policies where complaints reveal deficiencies.
What is the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights (CVBR)?
On , Parliament passed legislation creating the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights (CVBR), and amending other existing laws, including the Criminal Code and the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA).
The CVBR creates the following statutory rights for victims of crime:
- Right to information: Victims have the right to receive information about the justice system, and about the services and programs available to them. Victims can also get specific information about the progress of their case including information on the investigation, prosecution and sentence of the person who is accused of harming them
- Right to protection: Victims have the right to have their security and privacy considered at all stages of the criminal justice process, and to have reasonable and necessary protection from intimidation and retaliation. Victims have the right to ask for a testimonial aid (i.e. support person or additional protection) at court appearances.
- Right to participation: Victims have the right to present victim impact statements in court and to express their views about decisions, and have them considered.
- Right to restitution: Victims have the right to have the court consider ordering the offender to pay for their financial losses and to have any unpaid amount enforced through a civil court order.
Who can make a complaint under the CVBR?
Under the CVBR, anyone who meets the definition in law of a victim of crime, including individuals who are named as a victim's representative, can submit a complaint under the CVBR.
A victim of crime is defined in law as:
- an individual who has suffered physical or emotional harm, property damage, or economic loss as the result of the commission or alleged commission of an offence.
The CVBR will also allow the following individuals to exercise a victim's rights when a victim is dead or incapable of acting on his or her behalf:
- The victim's spouse or a common-law partner;
- A relative or dependant of the victim; and
- Anyone who has custody of the victim, or is responsible for the care or support of the victim's dependant.
I have an issue or concern that I'd like to raise with the PBC – does this mean that I should submit a formal complaint?
Before submitting a formal complaint to the PBC, victims are strongly encouraged to first speak with a PBC Regional Communications Officer (RCO) if they have not already done so. The RCO's role is to assist victims, and they may be able to address your issue or concern quickly and informally.
To speak to an RCO in your region, please call 1-866-789-INFO (1-866-789-4636) toll free.
Are there any types of complaints that are not admissible under the CVBR?
Yes. The PBC Victim Complaint Process does not apply to:
- Complaints about the law (e.g. parole eligibilities);
- Complaints about a PBC parole decision;
- Complaints about pardons or criminal record suspensions; and,
- Complaints about issues that fall outside the PBC's jurisdiction or mandate (e.g. Correctional Service of Canada Wardens' decisions, offender transfers, offender security levels).
How long will it take the PBC to resolve my complaint?
Following receipt of your complaint, the PBC will send you an acknowledgement of receipt within two (2) business days.
You will receive a written response to your complaint within 20 business days of its receipt. Where a response is expected to take longer than 20 business days (due to the complexity or nature of the complaint), a PBC representative will contact you within 20 business days to provide a status update.
You may decide to withdraw your complaint at any time by writing to the PBC.
What kinds of remedies may be provided to a complaint under the CVBR by the PBC?
Remedies will be determined within the bounds of the law, and will vary on a case-by-case basis, but may range from an apology for human error and corrective actions taken to prevent its reoccurrence (e.g. for a missed notification) to a change to an existing practice or policy to address an identified gap or deficiency.
How do I submit a complaint?
Complete the PBC Victim Complaint Form available on the PBC Victim Complaints page.
Where indicated on the form:
- State which of the four rights under the CVBR you believe has not been respected;
- Describe in detail the nature of your complaint;
- Describe the resolution you are seeking through your complaint; and,
- Sign and date your completed form.
What if I am not satisfied with the final outcome of my complaint?
If you are not satisfied with the response to your complaint from the PBC, you may contact the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime.
Can I bypass the PBC's complaint process and just go directly to the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime?
Under the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights, victims of crime who believe their rights under it have not been respected must first use the formal complaint mechanism of the federal organization in question.
Who can I contact if I have more questions?
If you have a question about submitting a complaint, please call our Victims Info-line at INFO (1-866-789-4636) toll-free or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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