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Canadian Victim’s Bill of Rights

The Victim’s Bill of Rights Act came into effect on April 23, 2015, resulting in:

  • the creation of the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights (CVBR)
  • changes to the Criminal Code that improve victims’ right to information and protection and encourage their participation at every stage of the criminal justice process
  • changes to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act that give victims access to more information on the offender who harmed them.

Whom does the CVBR apply to?

The CVBR applies to you if you were the victim of a crime committed in Canada that caused you physical, psychological or financial harm. You must also have reported the crime to the police.

The Criminal Code defines behaviours that are considered criminal in Canada. You are the victim of a criminal act if:

  • you were threatened, harassed, beaten, assaulted or subjected to any other physical or psychological harm under the Criminal Code,


  • you were robbed of property, were the victim of fraud, or suffered any other crime against your property.

If the victim is deceased or incapable to act, who may act on his or her behalf?

The following persons may act on the victim’s behalf if the victim is deceased or unable to enforce his or her rights:

  • the victim’s spouse
  • the person who is in a relationship with the victim and has been living with him or her for at least one year (or had been living with the victim for at least one year at the time of death)
  • the victim’s mother or father or a family member (uncle, grandmother, etc.)
  • the victim’s child
  • any other person for whom the victim is responsible (for example, a person with disabilities or an elderly parent)
  • anyone with legal custody of the victim
  • anyone who has legal custody of the victim’s child or of any other person for whom the victim is responsible (for example, the mother of a victim who has legal custody of her grandchildren).

These individuals may benefit from certain rights recognized by the CVBR depending on the circumstances and as permitted under other laws.

When does the CVBR applies?

  • While the offence is investigated or prosecuted;
  • While the offender is subject to the corrections process or the conditional release process in relation to the offence;
  • While the accused is, in relation to the offence, under the jurisdiction of a court or a Review Board if they are found not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder or unfit to stand trial.

The rights recognized by the CVBR

Every victim has the right to request information about:

  • the criminal justice system and his or her role as a victim
  • the services and programs available to them
  • the status and outcome of the investigation and legal procedures
  • the date, time, and location of proceedings in relation to the offence
  • reviews relating to the offender’s conditional release and the timing and conditions of that release.

Every victim has the right to:

  • have his or her security and privacy considered by the appropriate
    authorities in the criminal justice system
  • have measures taken to protect him or her from intimidation and retaliation
  • request that his or her identity be withheld from the public
  • request testimonial aids when appearing as a witness in court.

Every victim has the right to:

  • present a victim impact statement and have it taken into consideration
  • share his or her views on decisions that affect his or her rights.

Every victim has the right to:

  • have the court consider making a restitution order against the offender to pay for his or her financial losses
  • file the restitution order as a civil court judgment if the offender fails to pay.

Recourses in case of breaches of rights

Filing a complaint under the CVBR – Federal department or agency

Any victim has the right to file a complaint if they believe that their rights under the CVBR have been breached by a federal department or agency. Under the CVBR, these bodies have a responsibility to set up an internal complaint mechanism accessible to victims that would:

  • review complaints related to the infringement or denial of any of their rights under the CVBR
  • make recommendations to correct any infringement
  • notify victims of the results of the review and, as applicable, the subsequent


Conditions for filing a complaint

The person filing a complaint must correspond to the definition of a victim or be eligible to act on behalf of a victim.

Federal departments and agencies with responsibilities under the CVBR

Use the complaints mechanism put into place by the department or public agency in question. Click on the links below to learn more about their complaints mechanism.

How to proceed if you are not satisfied with the response you receive?

If the person who filed the complaint is not satisfied with the response obtained, they may request that their complaint be reviewed by the federal department or agency that provided the response. As a final recourse, they may contact the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime.

Source : Association québécoise plaidoyer-victimes