Bill 89 2001
An Act to provide
for the respectful treatment
of victims of crime
Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario, enacts as follows:
1. In this Act,
"accused" means a person who is charged with an offence; ("accusé")
"child" includes, in respect of a victim,
(a) a child of the victim born after the death of the victim,
(b) a stepchild of the victim, and
(c) an individual who, although not a child of the victim by birth or adoption, is treated by the victim as his or her child; ("enfant")
"justice system personnel" means auxiliary constables, chief constables, chief officers, designated constables, enforcement officers, municipal constables, provincial constables, special municipal constables and special provincial constables, officers and employees appointed or employed under the Ministry of Correctional Services Act and personnel in the Court Services Division and Criminal Law Division of the Ministry of the Attorney General; ("personnel du système judiciaire")
"offence" means, except in section 13, a contravention of the laws of Ontario or Canada that harms a victim; ("infraction")
"offender" means a person convicted of an offence; ("délinquant")
"parent" includes, in respect of a victim,
(a) a stepparent of the victim,
(b) an individual who has legal or factual custody of the victim or who is responsible for the care or financial support of the victim, and
(c) an individual who, although not a parent of the victim by birth or adoption, acts like a parent toward the victim; ("père ou mère")
"sentence" includes a disposition as defined in the Young Offenders Act (Canada); ("sentence")
"spouse" means the person who is married to or living in a relationship similar to marriage with the individual against whom the offence was perpetrated, and includes a person of the same gender as the individual; ("conjoint")
"victim" means, with respect to an offence, an individual,
(a) who suffers physical or mental injury or economic loss as a result of an act or omission that forms the basis of the offence, or
(b) who suffers significant emotional trauma and is an individual against whom the offence was perpetrated or a spouse, sibling, child or parent of that individual; ("victime")
"victim service" means a service that is designed to assist victims and is provided or funded by the government. ("service aux victimes")
Right to courtesy and respect
2. All justice system personnel shall treat a victim with courtesy and respect and shall not discriminate against a victim on the basis of race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, religion, marital status, family status, physical or mental disability, gender, sexual orientation, political belief or age.
Legal representation of victims
3. On the request of a victim, the Attorney General shall take reasonable measures to ensure that the victim is provided with advice and representation by a lawyer if the victim requires legal representation independent from that of Crown counsel in response to an application for disclosure of information that is not in the possession of the police or Crown counsel and that relates to the personal history of the victim.
Presentation of victim's perception
of impact of offence
4. Crown counsel shall ensure that a victim is given a reasonable opportunity to have admissible evidence concerning the impact of the offence, as perceived by the victim, presented to the court before sentence is imposed for the offence.
5. Justice system personnel shall provide a victim with general information concerning,
(a) the structure and operation of the justice system;
(b) victim services;
(c) the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act;
(d) the Compensation for Victims of Crime Act;
(e) the Victims' Bill of Rights, 1995; and
(f) this Act.
Required information about offence
6. (1) Subject to the provisions of the Young Offenders Act (Canada) and only if there is no prejudice to an investigation or prosecution of an offence, justice system personnel shall obtain and provide to a victim of an offence, at the request of the victim, information relating to the offence concerning,
(a) the status of the police investigation;
(b) the specific counts with which the accused is charged or for which the offender is convicted;
(c) the reasons why a decision was made respecting charges;
(d) the name of the accused;
(e) the date, location and reasons for each court appearance that is likely to affect the final disposition, sentence or bail status of the accused;
(f) the outcome of each court appearance that is likely to affect the final disposition, sentence or bail status of the accused;
(g) the length of any sentence that the offender is serving and the date the sentence began;
(h) the means for the victim to report breaches of the terms of supervision by the offender if the offender is released under supervision;
(i) the means to contact agencies that may grant or amend conditions of parole or authorize release from custody of the offender;
(j) the eligibility and review dates applicable to the offender and how to make representations in any proceedings that may lead to a change in the custodial status or release conditions of the offender.
(2) Subject to the provisions of the Young Offenders Act (Canada), justice system personnel shall arrange, on request, for a victim to obtain copies of orders and permits setting conditions for the accused or offender that are relevant to the safety of the victim.
Information to be given in appropriate circumstances
7. (1) The minister charged with the administration of the Ministry of Correctional Services Act, a person designated by the minister, the chair of the Board of Parole for the Province of Ontario or a person designated by the chair of the Board of Parole for the Province of Ontario shall provide the following information relating to the offence to a victim on request if, in the opinion of the person providing the information, the interests of the victim outweigh the privacy interest of the accused or offender in the circumstances:
1. Information on whether the offender is in custody and, if the offender is in custody, the name and address of the institution where the offender is serving his or her sentence.
2. If the accused or offender is in custody and is to be released, the date the release will begin, the length of the release and the terms of supervision during that release.
3. If the accused or offender is released from custody under supervision and the terms of supervision are to change, the nature of the change and the date the change begins.
4. If the offender is or will be on supervised probation, parole or temporary absence, the area of Ontario where the offender may be and whether the offender will be in the vicinity of the victim while travelling to that area.
(2) Subsection (1) applies despite the provisions of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act but is subject to the provisions of the Young Offenders Act (Canada).
8. To the extent that it is practicable, the government shall promote the following goals:
1. To develop victim services and promote equal access to victim services at all locations throughout Ontario.
2. To have victims adequately protected against intimidation and retaliation.
3. To have property of victims obtained by offenders in the course of offences returned promptly to the victims by the police if the retention is not needed for investigation or prosecution purposes.
4. To have justice system personnel trained to respond appropriately to victims.
5. To give proper recognition to the need of victims for timely investigation and prosecution of offences.
6. To have facilities in courthouses that accommodate victims awaiting courtroom appearance separately from the accused and witnesses for the accused.
7. To afford victims throughout Ontario equal access to,
i. courtrooms and prosecutors' offices that are designed to be used by persons with physical disabilities,
ii. interpreters for speakers of any language, and
iii. culturally sensitive services for aboriginal persons and members of ethno-cultural minorities.
Validity of proceeding, etc.
9. (1) A proceeding in respect of an offence must not be delayed or held to be invalid on the grounds that a right granted by this Act has been infringed or denied or that this Act has not been complied with, and the court shall not make an order respecting the conduct of that proceeding or the validity or propriety of an order, conviction, sentence or any other thing done in that proceeding on those grounds.
(2) An order, conviction or sentence may not be appealed on the grounds that a right granted by this Act has been infringed or denied.
Office of Victims of Crime
10. (1) On or after the later of the day this section comes into force and the day section 1 of the Statutes of Ontario 2000, chapter 32 comes into force, a victim who, in the opinion of the victim, has been denied any right as provided under this Act may make an application to the Office of Victims of Crime, for a review of the circumstances of his or her complaint and the Office may, as it sees fit, review the actions of the justice system personnel in their interaction with the victim and file a report, with recommendations for action, to the Attorney General who shall table the report with the Legislative Assembly.
(2) Despite subsection (1), the Office of Victims of Crime shall refuse to investigate the appropriateness of a decision by a member of the Criminal Law Division of the Ministry of the Attorney General,
(a) to approve the prosecution of an offence;
(b) to decline to approve the prosecution of an offence;
(c) to delay proceeding with the prosecution of an offence;
(d) to stay the prosecution of an offence;
(e) to conduct or decline to conduct an appeal or other proceeding in respect of an offence; or
(f) to exercise any other aspect of prosecutorial discretion.
11. The annual report under section 7 of the Ministry of the Attorney General Act must include a report on the administration of this Act.
Employers not to penalize
12. No employer may discharge, suspend, intimidate, coerce, impose any financial or other penalty on or otherwise discriminate against an employee because the employee is absent from work,
(a) to appear in court as a witness in a proceeding respecting an offence; or
(b) to attend a meeting with justice system personnel at their request to assist in an investigation of an offence or preparation for the prosecution of an offence.
13. A person who contravenes section 12 is guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of not more than $2,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or to both.
Power to make regulations
14. The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations referred to in section 23 of the Interpretation Act.
15. Section 2 of the Victims' Bill of Rights, 1995 is repealed.
16. This Act comes into force on a day to be named by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor.
17. The short title of this Act is the Respect for Victims of Crime Act, 2001.
The Bill provides that Crown counsel must give victims a reasonable opportunity to have admissible evidence concerning the impact of a crime presented to the court before sentencing. As well, the provision of information to victims concerning the structures and operation of the justice system, victim services, the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, the Compensation for Victims of Crime Act, and this Act are to be made mandatory. As long as the provision of specific information does not prejudice an investigation, victims must be provided with information concerning the offence upon request. Victims have the opportunity to apply to the Office for Victims of Crime for redress of complaints regarding treatment and adherence to victims' rights legislation.