Attending Parole Board of Canada Hearings
The objective of the Federal Victims Strategy is to improve access to justice for victims and survivors of crime.
Through the Victims Fund, victims of crime in Canada have the opportunity to attend Parole Board of Canada (PBC) hearings for the offender who harmed them. Victims can do so as observers or to present a victim statement. A hearing may take place in person, usually at the institution where the offender is incarcerated, or remotely by videoconference or teleconference. In cases where a PBC hearing is being held in person, victims may ask PBC to attend the hearing in person or remotely by videoconference or teleconference. The Fund does not provide compensation to victims of crime.
Who is eligible?
Attending Parole Board of Canada hearings often involves travel and accommodation away from home. The Victims Fund offers financial assistance to registered victims who wish to attend hearings for the offender who harmed them in order to help victims participate more fully in the criminal justice system. Financial assistance is also available for a support person to accompany registered victims to Parole Board hearings or to provide child or dependant care to enable victims to attend hearings.
Who can apply for this funding?
Victims who wish to attend a Parole Board of Canada hearing may receive travel funding assistance if they have:
- registered with the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) or the Parole Board of Canada (PBC);
- applied to and been approved by PBC to attend a hearing of the offender who harmed them, either to observe or to present a victim statement; and
- attended the hearing.
A support person may also apply for travel funding assistance if he or she will be:
- traveling with a registered victim to a PBC hearing;
- attending a PBC hearing with a registered victim; providing child care in order for a registered victim to attend a PBC hearing; and/or
- providing dependant care in order for a registered victim to attend a PBC hearing.
Who is considered a support person?
An eligible support person must be an adult over the age of 18 years of age who is chosen by the registered victim. Support persons may include relatives, friends or victim service workers.
Which Parole Board of Canada hearings are eligible?
Victims may apply for financial assistance to travel to any or all of the PBC hearings scheduled for the offender who harmed them.
Support persons may apply for financial assistance to travel to any or all of the PBC hearings to which the registered victim they are supporting is travelling.
What financial assistance is available?
The Victims Fund can help cover the following expenses:
- travel costs: gas mileage rates; air, bus or train travel at economy rates (receipts required);
- hotels, generally to a maximum of two nights (receipts required);
- meals, generally to a maximum of three days;
- costs of transportation (taxi, shuttle bus, ferry, other), if necessary, between airport, hotel and place of hearing (receipts required) ;
- airport surcharges (receipts required); and,
- costs for child care or dependant care to a maximum of three days (receipts required).
What expenses are not covered by the Victims Fund?
The Victims Fund does not cover:
- lost wages; or,
- any other expenses not related to travel or accommodation.
For additional information, please consult the Guidelines related to Financial Assistance Provided to Victims to Attend Parole Board of Canada Hearings.
How to Apply for Funding
Step 1: Apply to Attend the PBC Hearing
Victims who wish to attend a hearing, whether to observe or to make a victim statement, must submit a written request to the office of the PBC in the region where the hearing will take place. Application forms, a list of regional offices and other information about the parole process are available on the PBC Website at: https://www.canada.ca/en/parole-board/services/victims.html.
Victims should apply to the PBC as soon as possible after receiving notice from CSC/PBC of potential hearing dates. A security screening must be conducted, as it is on all visitors before they are allowed into a penitentiary. The screening may take a number of months to process, so victims are encouraged to apply early.
Support persons who wish to attend a PBC hearing with a registered victim must submit a written request to the office of the PBC in the region where the hearing will take place, once the victim has received notice from CSC/PBC of potential hearing dates. A security screening will be conducted for all visitors before they are allowed into a penitentiary.
If the support person is accompanying the victim to the hearing, but does not intend to go to the hearing, then a security screening is not required. Please note, however, that if the support person should need to enter the penitentiary, the security screening would be required.
Step 2: Apply to the Department of Justice for Financial Assistance to Attend the Hearing
It is important to start the funding application process as far in advance of the scheduled hearing date as possible so that financial assistance will be available when required. Applications may be submitted based on the most accurate information available; the information can be updated and finalized when the date and time of the hearing, as well as proposed travel arrangements and costs are confirmed.
Victims who have applied or have been approved to attend a hearing, and who seek financial assistance to travel to it, should apply for funding at least 30 days before the scheduled date of the hearing. To apply for financial assistance, please complete and submit the Application Form PDF Version with as much information as possible.
In response to the Government of Canada's initiative to phase out issuing cheques, the Department of Justice is requiring all applicants to enroll in direct deposit. You can have your interim and final payments related to your attendance at a Parole Board of Canada hearing deposited directly into your account at a financial institution in Canada. Please complete the Direct Deposit Form PDF Version and send it to email@example.com. Your direct deposit information will stay in effect until you change it or cancel the service.
If you have previously enrolled in direct deposit at the Department of Justice, you do not need to resubmit the form. If you move, let us know your new address as soon as possible. Otherwise, your direct deposit payments may stop.
If you are changing any bank account held in Canada into which we deposit a payment, be sure to tell us about your new bank account. In addition, do not close the old bank account before we deposit the payment into the new bank account.
If, for any reason, we cannot deposit your payment into the bank account held in Canada, we will mail a cheque to you at the mailing address we have on file.
Where an application for funding is received less than 30 days before the scheduled hearing date, advance funding will likely not be possible. If the application is approved, eligible expenses will be reimbursed after the hearing when the Victims Fund Manager receives an expense claim with receipts. Confirmation by letter outlining the expenses to be covered will be sent to the applicant.
A separate application is required for a support person, indicating the name of the registered victim that he or she will be supporting.
As with the victim, it is important to start the support person’s funding application process as far in advance of the scheduled hearing date as possible so financial assistance will be available when required. Ideally, the application for funding for the support person would accompany the application from the victim.
Where do I send my application form?
Victims Fund Manager
Department of Justice
284 Wellington Street, 6th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1A 0H8
You can complete and submit the following version of the form electronically:
In response to the Government of Canada's initiative to phase out issuing cheques, the Department of Justice is requiring all applicants to enroll in direct deposit. Please complete this form and include it with your application for funds. If you have previously enrolled in direct deposit at the Department of Justice, you do not need resubmit the form.
What is the approval process?
Applications are reviewed for completeness and eligibility for funding. Decisions on the eligibility of an applicant and the amount of funding he or she may receive are made as soon as possible after receipt of a properly completed application. Applicants are advised by letter of the decision, including confirmation of the expenses that will be covered.
Applications should be submitted as far in advance as possible before the proposed hearing date so that funds are available when required. A letter confirming eligible expenses will be provided as soon as possible.
When will approved funding be received?
Where applications have been submitted at least 30 days before the hearing, every effort will be made to provide the decision letter, as well as some funding to approved applicants before the hearing date. Payment will generally be made in two installments. The first installment will represent about 70% of anticipated travel and hotel expenses, and will be issued before the hearing, where possible. The second installment will be paid after the hearing when the Victims Fund Manager has received the applicant’s expense claim, supported by receipts, for actual expenses incurred.
Where an application is received less than 30 days before the scheduled hearing date, and is approved, eligible expenses will be reimbursed after the hearing once the Victims Fund Manager has received an expense claim with receipts.
Expense claims with receipts should be submitted to the Victims Fund Manager within 30 days of having attended the PBC hearing.
The Department of Justice encourages applicants to submit proposals electronically. If you submit your application on paper, please consider printing on both sides of the paper. These actions will minimize environmental impacts.
Frequently Asked Questions
What if two or more victims travel together?
A separate application is required for each victim who seeks funding.
Where two or more victims travel together, each should apply for and claim his or her own expenses, and just one should claim the shared expenses, such as transportation (gas mileage) and accommodations. The application form must clearly identify which expenses cover both the applicant and other victims. The other victims would apply for and claim their own meals and their own transportation if not shared (individual air, bus or train fare).
What happens if funding is provided and the hearing is postponed or cancelled?
If the hearing does not proceed as scheduled and is not rescheduled within three months those who have received financial assistance must return all advanced funds to the Victims Fund Manager, including any unused tickets that have been purchased.
Where funding recipients have travelled to a scheduled hearing that does not proceed and have incurred expenses as a result, they can still claim eligible expenses. If the funds advanced exceed what has been spent, the difference must be returned to the Victims Fund Manager.
All subsequent applications for financial assistance must provide details of travel funding assistance previously received.
Publications and Resources
Helpful Federal Government Links:
- Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
- Canadian Embassies or Consulates
- Travel Canada
- Correctional Service of Canada, Victim Services
- Federal Ombudsperson for Victims of Crime
- Health Canada (National Clearinghouse on Family Violence)
- Parole Board of Canada (Victims of Crime)
- Public Safety Canada (National Office for Victims)
Helpful Provincial/Territorial Government Links:
- British Columbia
- New Brunswick
- Newfoundland & Labrador
- Nova Scotia
- Ontario Victims Services
- Victim Support Line: 1-888-579-2888 toll free (or in Toronto , 1-416-314-2447)
- Prince Edward Island
- Ministère de la Justice du Québec - Victimes d'actes criminels (Victim Services)
- Ministère de la Justice du Québec - Aides financières (Financial Assistance)
- Crime Victims Assistance Centre: 1-866-532-2822
- Saskatchewan Justice Victims Services
- Saskatchewan Justice Victims Services Compensation (Financial Assistance)
- Northwest Territories
Where is more information available?
For more information about how to apply for financial assistance to attend a parole hearing, you can call:
Or contact the:
Victims Fund Manager
Department of Justice
284 Wellington Street, 6th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1A 0H8
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