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Infographic: Restitution

Progress Report


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The Canadian Victims Bill of Rights recognizes the importance of victims being able to seek restitution, a financial payment from the offender, for their losses

Restitution order

16. Every victim has the right to have the court consider making a restitution order against the offender.

Enforcement

17. Every victim in whose favour a restitution order is made has the right, if they are not paid, to have the order entered as a civil court judgment that is enforceable against the offender.

WHAT WE KNOW*

2,033,925 crimes reported to police

217,451 guilty verdicts

96,857 fines ordered
45% of cases

5,256 restitution ordered
<3% of cases

Fines are paid to the state while restitution is paid to the victim.

WHAT WE DON’T KNOW

  • Number of victims provided with restitution request form 34.1 by police
  • Number of restitution requests denied by a court
  • Number of restitution orders paid
  • Total losses suffered by victims
  • Types of cases where restitution is ordered
  • Amounts sought versus imposed
  • Number of times victims had orders entered as civil court judgments in efforts to enforce the orders
  • How often restitution is included with other sentencing options such as probation

 

Observations

Victims are not well informed of their right to seek restitution in the courts.
Only a few jurisdictions provide assistance with enforcement of restitution where it is ordered.
There is a lack of comprehensive data collection and reporting in all jurisdictions related to restitution orders.

Recommendation

Amend the provisions related to the enforcement of restitution orders (section 17) with:

Every victim in whose favour a restitution order is made has the right, if they are not paid, to have assistance with collection of the judgment that is enforceable against the offender.

This recognizes the responsibility of all governments to assist with the enforcement of court-ordered restitution, as victims have a right to receive reparations for the losses they have suffered.

* Statistics Canada, Police-reported crime for selected offences, Canada, 2018
* Statistics Canada, Adult criminal courts, guilty cases by type of sentence