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Letter addressed to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights on the report “Improving Support for Victims of Crime.”

February 20, 2023

Mr. Randeep Sarai, M.P
Chair, Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights
House of Commons 
Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0H8

Dear Chair and Honourable Committee Members,

I would like to thank you and the members of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights for the recommendations made in the report “Improving Support for Victims of Crime.” I am pleased to see that the Standing Committee thoughtfully considered input from victims of crime, academics, victim service providers, and the Office of the Federal Ombudsperson for Victims of Crime (OFOVC), and responded with compassionate recommendations to strengthen rights and services for victims and survivors of crime.

As it stands, the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights (CVBR) does not guarantee victims the right to information; instead, the legislation states that victims can receive information upon request. This is a common complaint received by our Office. As Ombudsperson, I believe information should be provided automatically, and so do victims of crime across Canada. Not having access to information has severe consequences for victims and survivors, including missing the opportunity to participate in hearings, and to be consulted about decisions that affect their lives and their personal safety.

Automatic access to information is feasible; the European Union (EU) provides victims with the to right receive information across all Member States. As soon as a crime is reported and throughout the criminal justice process, victims have access to information, including information about supports, legal aid, protection and compensation.

Additionally, in the EU, the Victims’ Rights Directive clearly mandates Member States to integrate victims’ rights into their national legislation and to apply them in practice, which guarantees a minimum standard throughout the EU. I recognize the importance of the Committee’s recommendations to establish national best practices and minimum standards for victims of crime, particularly as this relates to the level of support and services available to victims. The discrepancy in the rights and services available to victims across provinces and territories in Canada is clear. Adopting minimum standards of support for victims of crime will ensure that victims are supported equally throughout the country.

In the coming months, I intend to a release an official response to the Committee’s report and recommendations. I thank you once again for your tireless work advancing victims’ concerns and I look forward to future opportunities to provide input on this Committee’s important work.


Dr. Benjamin Roebuck
Ombudsperson for Victims of Crime