TORONTO, March 16, 2007 - The Honourable Rob Nicholson, Q.C., Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and the Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of Public Safety, today announced the establishment of an office for a Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime, as well as funding for programs and services to support Canada's victims of crimes.
This announcement, totaling $52 million over four years, fulfills a promise made by Canada's New Government to better meet the needs of victims of crime in matters of federal jurisdiction.
"Canada's New Government has tremendous respect for this country's victims of crime, and we are proud to ensure they have a stronger voice in the criminal justice system,"said Minister Nicholson.
"I am proud to announce Canada's first Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime, and a multi-year investment in victims' support services that will make a difference in their journey for justice."
"We have been listening to the concerns of victims, and we have delivered with a comprehensive package of programs and services," said Minister Day.
"Today's announcement demonstrates that our new government is taking action to have an effective and fair federal corrections system that protects Canadians as the overarching priority."
The Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime will be appointed to ensure the federal government meets its legislative and policy commitments; to promote access to existing government programs and services; and to identify and explore systemic and emerging victim issues.
The Ombudsman will operate at arm's length from the federal departments responsible for victim issues, namely the Department of Justice and the Department of Public Safety. The provinces and territories will continue to be the primary providers of victim services and funding for victims.
In addition, new funds will go towards helping federal, provincial and territorial governments respond more effectively to the needs of victims of crime across the justice and federal corrections systems. These measures will help support victims as they go through the judicial process, and give them greater opportunities to represent their interests.
There will be enhancements to:
- First response service delivery, which is provided when an individual is victimized;
- Court-based services, which include giving individuals the opportunity to present victim impact statements, supporting children who have been victimized and other similar measures;
- Services for victims of offenders under federal jurisdiction, to assist them financially in travelling to National Parole Board hearings or to aid those who require support persons to accompany them. As well, new staff positions will be created to provide services to victims on a full-time basis;
- Assistance for those currently underserved by existing programs, including victims in the North, as well as Canadians victimized abroad, many of whom currently have little support.
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Justice
Department of Justice Canada