PMO photo by Deb Ransom
Ottawa: Prime Minister has announced the introduction of legislation to create a Canadian Victims Bill of Rights that would transform the criminal justice system by creating, at the federal level, clear rights for victims of crime – a first in Canadian history. He was joined by Peter MacKay, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and Steven Blaney, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.
“Our Government is proud to be rebalancing the scales of Canadian justice to ensure that innocent victims of crime have clear rights in our system. The new legislation being introduced in Parliament today aims to ensure that victims are at the heart of our judicial system and that they have the right to information, to protection, to participation and to restitution,” said Harper.
The legislation would create the following statutory rights for victims of crime:
Right to information: Victims would have the right to general information about the criminal justice system and available victim services and programs, as well as specific information about the progress of the case, including information relating to the investigation, prosecution and sentencing of the person who harmed them.
Right to protection: Victims would have the right to have their security and privacy considered at all stages of the criminal justice process, to have reasonable and necessary measures to protect them from intimidation and retaliation, and to request their identity be protected from public disclosure.
Right to participation: Victims would have a right to convey their views about decisions to be made by criminal justice professionals and have them considered at various stages of the criminal justice process, and to present a victim impact statement.
Right to restitution: Victims would have the right to have the court consider making a restitution order for all offences for which there are easy-to-calculate financial losses.