Guidelines Related to Financial Assistance Provided to Victims to attend Parole Board of Canada Hearings

Feburary 2017

Table of Contents

1. Overview

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.

Financial assistance may be provided for victims wishing to attend a hearing and who are registered with the PBC. Eligible expenses may include:

2. Definitions

2.1 Victim

An individual who has suffered physical or emotional harm, property damage or economic loss resulting from the commission or alleged commission of an offence.

2.2 Support Person

An individual providing support and encouragement before, during and after the hearing. There can only be one support person chosen for each registered victim and the support person must be 18 years of age or older.

2.3 Hearing

A face to face meeting between PBC members and the offender to review the offender’s case and consider their request for conditional release. The PBC makes its decision by taking into account the risk to the community as well as other criteria set out in the law. In most cases, PBC members make their decision right at the hearing.

3. Eligibility for Assistance

3.1 Victims

Victims who wish to attend a PBC hearing may receive financial assistance to cover some of their travel costs if they are 18 years of age or older and have:

3.2 Support Persons

A support person may apply for financial assistance to cover some of the travel costs to accompany a registered victim to a PBC hearing if the person is 18 years of age or older and has:

A support person does not require PBC approval to attend the hearing if the person is not entering the correctional institution.

4. Expenses

4.1 Eligible Expenses

Eligible expenses to attend a PBC hearing at a correctional institution are based on Government of Canada rates and include:

4.2 Ineligible Expenses

The following expenses are not covered under the Victims Fund:

4.3 Exceptions

Some exceptions to the above may apply on a case by case basis.

4.4 Transportation

Transportation arrangements should be based on cost, duration, convenience, safety and practicality.

4.5 Vehicle Insurance

5. Reimbursement of Costs Incurred to Attend a PBC Hearing

An individual will be reimbursed for reasonable costs incurred to attend a PBC hearing based on the following:

5.1 Official Receipts

5.2 Expenses that do not require receipts

The following expenses will be reimbursed at Government of Canada rates and do not require receipts:

6. Advanced Payments

An advanced payment up to a maximum of 70% of total estimated costs, excluding meals, and dependent care expenses may be made when requested, provided:

7. Direct Deposit

Payments will be issued through direct deposit unless the individual:

8. Application Process

A victim who has registered and applied to the CSC or the PBC to attend the hearing of the offender who harmed them, either to observe or to present a victim statement may apply for funding by completing the Application Form and sending it to the Department of Justice Canada for consideration.

An individual may apply for financial assistance as a support person to a victim by completing the Application Form and sending it to the Department of Justice Canada for consideration. The victim being supported must be registered with the CSC or the PBC and must have applied to attend a hearing. The support person does not need to be registered with the CSC or the PBC, and does not have to attend the hearing.

Applications may be sent electronically, by fax or by mail. Decisions on the eligibility of an applicant and the amount of funding are made as soon as possible after a fully completed application is received. Applicants are advised by letter of the decision, including confirmation of the expenses that will be covered.

9. Other Considerations

An individual who received an advance payment and who did not attend the PBC hearing will be required to reimburse the advance payment provided:

Should an assessment of an individual’s final expenses result in an overpayment:

Where a PBC hearing is cancelled, and where the individual has incurred eligible costs;

10. Extraordinary Circumstances

Exceptions may be made to these guidelines where they are clearly articulated and consistent with the objectives and limitations of the Victims Fund.

11. False Declaration

A false declaration may result in repayment of expenses and could constitute fraud.

12. Service Charter

The Department is committed to providing quality services to all clients whether through e-mail, written correspondence or over the telephone.

We pledge to:

We ask that you:

12.1 Our service standards are:

The following standards are identified for the timely and accurate delivery of services:

12.2 Monitoring

These service standards are monitored to identify service issues and trends. Departmental results are posted on the Department of Justice website.

12.3 Language of Service

We provide service in both official languages – English or French – whether in written correspondence, online, or on the telephone.

12.4 Hours of Service

Website

You can access the http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/fund-fina/cj-jp/fund-fond/attend-audience.html website 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Victims Fund e-mail and address

You can send us comments, questions or a completed funding application online at either of the following email addresses: 

E-mails are monitored from Monday to Friday (excluding statutory holidays) between 8:30 and 16:30 (Eastern Standard Time).

Our mailing address is:    
Victims Fund Manager
Programs Branch
Department of Justice
284 Wellington Street, 6th Floor
Ottawa ON  K1A 0H8

Toll-free telephone line

You can call us at 1-866-544-1007 from Monday to Friday (excluding statutory holidays) between 8:30 and 16:30 (Eastern Standard Time). Outside of these hours or in the event that we are dealing with another call or an urgent file, a confidential message can be left. Your call will be returned within 2 business days.

12.5 Feedback

The Department of Justice strives to proactively improve your service experience. As our client, your needs and preferences are important to us. Positive and constructive feedback are always welcome and should be sent by email to pb-dgp@justice.gc.ca.

If you are unsatisfied with the service provided, you may contact the Manager of the Program at (613) 941-4193 or by email at pb-dgp@justice.gc.ca. The Manager will contact you to resolve the difficulties you have encountered.

13. Evergreen Document

These guidelines are an evergreen document and can be amended from time to time to ensure that they remain aligned to government priorities.

14. Privacy

All personal information provided in an application will be protected, used, disclosed and retained in accordance with the Privacy Act. Personal information may be disclosed to the Parole Board of Canada or Correctional Service Canada for the purpose of determining eligibility for assistance and reimbursement. The information collected will be retained for at least 2 years as required by the Privacy Act and Privacy Regulations to allow you a reasonable opportunity to obtain access to your personal information. You have a right, under the Privacy Act to request your own personal information and be given access to it. You have a right to request a correction if you believe there is an error or omission in your personal information under the control of a government institution.

15. Example – Personal Declaration

To the Department of Justice Canada:

I, the undersigned, (Full name of declarant), hereby declare that I lost the (Identification of the lost receipt) related to the Parole Board of Canada hearing of (Name of offender) that was held on (Date of hearing).

I understand that making a false declaration is a criminal offense.

Signature of declarant

Signature of Witness

Signature date

Signature date