Federal Victims Strategy, Mid-term Evaluation


3.1.  Design and Delivery


This section presents findings from the interviews, surveys and file and document review, where relevant.  It is organized according to the evaluation issues identified in the RMAF.

3.1. Design and Delivery

The evaluation examined how the FVS was designed and delivered.  More specifically, the evaluation looked at what activities have been carried out under the FVS; which organizations have been involved in these activities; if there have been any challenges to implementing these activities or implementing the new Criminal Code provisions; the extent to which programs, policies and legislation include a victim’s lens; and whether the Victims Fund is well targeted and reaching its intended beneficiaries.

3.1.1. Federal/Provincial/Territorial Working Group on Victims of Crime

The FPTWG meeting minutes indicate that the group met four times over the two years being reviewed for the evaluation. In addition to exchanging information amongst members of the working group, the following presentations were identified as being helpful in understanding the dynamics and sensitivities around victimization:

3.1.2. Criminal Law Reform and Policy Development

Policy Development

A key role of the PCVI is to provide a victims lens by ensuring that victims’ perspectives are considered in relation to the general federal policy development process. Examples provided by provincial, territorial and federal interviewees of areas where the PCVI participated and informed the policy process by providing a victims lens included the following, as noted by interviewees:


During the course of the two years being evaluated, seven research reports were completed. Six of them had been released and one was pending Web publication. An additional six draft reports were completed. Three research projects are ongoing and three more research projects are in development. Finally, a “victims lens” was applied in at least five other research project proposals.

Completed projects included:

International Work

The PCVI was also involved in the creation, implementation and evaluation of United Nations (UN) victim-related instruments. The PCVI participated in an UN Expert Meeting to develop a questionnaire on norms and standards, which looked at the extent to which member countries used a variety of non-binding victim-related instruments. The PCVI also participated in the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice to have guidelines adopted regarding child witnesses and victims of crime. Finally, the PCVI worked closely with Foreign Affairs Canada in order to establish a financial assistance scheme for Canadians victimized abroad, which was announced as part of the FVS enhancements in April 2007.

3.1.3. Grants and Contributions through the Victims Fund

Reach of Victims Fund

The following two tables present the distribution of projects across the Projects and Activities and Provincial/Territorial Implementation components of the Victims Fund and the distribution of resources by these components for 2005-2006 and 2006-2007. The Financial Assistance component of the Victims Fund is discussed further under the outcome of increasing participation in the criminal justice system.

Table 2: Distribution of projects under Victims Fund
Provincial/Territorial Implementation (# of agreements) Projects & Activities (#) Total number of agreements/projects
2005/2006 8 20 28
2006/2007 8 75 85
Total 16 95 113

(Source: Programs Branch files)

Table 3: Distribution of resources by Victims Fund components
Provincial/Territorial Implementation ($) Projects & Activities ($) Total amount
2005/2006 $299,967 $396,104 $696,071
2006/2007 $399,324 $1,394,076 $1,806,879
Total $699,291 $1,790,180 $2,502,950
(Source: Programs Branch files)

In 2006/2007, there was a substantial increase in resource distribution of the Projects and Activities component primarily due to the Victims Fund being fully accessible in this fiscal year after having been delayed in the first fiscal year[9]. The difference in funding can also be partly attributed to 28 NVCAW projects funded in 2006/2007 for a total of $152,398. The number of agreements under the Provincial/Territorial Implementation component remained the same over both years, although the amount of funding increased. With only eight agreements in each of the two years, not all jurisdictions are accessing this component of the Victims Fund.

The amounts of available funding and administrative requirements to obtain funding were found by some provincial and territorial respondents to be barriers to achieving the anticipated outcomes of the Strategy. The project-funding model was noted by certain provincial and territorial respondents to be problematic because it does not recognize the amount of time a new project can take to become sustainable, especially in small, remote communities. Moreover, the burden of re-applying annually for funding for a new phase of the same project was noted as taking away from the ability to focus those efforts on the actual project implementation.Finally, in terms of project funding, the process of expending the money first to be reimbursed later limited the number of new projects that could be undertaken for some provincial and territorial respondents.

While some jurisdictions received a sufficient amount for their needs and capacities, other jurisdictions found that their allotted amount has been too small or too targeted a contribution relative to their spending on services for victims. Moreover, the limited amount of funding coupled with the administrative requirements to obtain the funds resulted in at least one province not seeking its allotment at all.  Timing is also a concern when the decision to not take up funding by the provinces and territories is not communicated to the Department in a timely manner. This has led to funds not being re-allocated quickly enough to other areas or jurisdictions given the administrative requirements.

Federal officials also noted the delays in securing funding and thus, in having it flow to intended recipients as an obstacle to achieving the outcomes of the Strategy. The process required to secure additional funding meant that the first year of funding under the Strategy (2005/2006) was lapsed.

Rejected Applications and Projects

The following table presents the number of applications/projects that were rejected for funding by reason for 2005-2006 and 2006-2007.

Table 4: Number of Rejected Projects by Reason
Rejection Reason 2005/2006 2006/2007 % of Total
Fund requirements not met 20 14 50%
Not proceeding 16 10 38%
Unsuccessful 5 3 12%
(Source: GCIMS)

The most common (50%) reason that an application was rejected across components and years was that the project did not meet the terms and conditions of the Victims Fund, there was insufficient time to process the request, or there was no response from the applicant. The next most common (38%) reason that an application was rejected was not proceeding because the project was entered in error[10], or when the application was incomplete[11]. Finally, a small proportion (12%) of applications were rejected because the projects were deemed to have insufficient funding partners and/or were requesting too much funding, there was insufficient resources in the Victims Fund, or the projects were not sufficiently innovative, which are requirements of the Fund.

Victims Fund Distribution by Activities within Projects

Victims Fund recipients undertook a range of activities with which to achieve the anticipated outcomes of their projects. The following table presents the distribution of the types of activities funded through projects.

Table 5: Victims Fund Activities
Activity % of all Victims Fund Project Activities
Information sharing 46%
Service enhancement 14%
Training and education 11%
Research 6%
System development 5%
Unidentified 5%
Other 4%
Pilot project 2%
Translation 1%

(Source: GCIMS)


Across both fiscal years, a total of 38 (40%)[12] of the projects funded included partnerships with community-based organizations, media, advocacy organizations, and municipal and provincial governments. The nature of the partnerships included financial, in-kind and planning supports. The average number of partnerships for those projects with partners was just over one and a half. Of the partnered projects, the average financial contribution of the Department of Justice was 53%.

National Victims of Crime Awareness Week

One of the most significant undertakings to raise the profile of victim issues by the PCVI during the first two years of the FVS was to establish the National Victims of Crime Awareness Week (NVCAW) in Canada in April 2006. The PCVI’s intention was to encourage and support locally based and national events over the course of one week to raise awareness about victim issues. In terms of support, small amounts of grants and contributions (on average, approximately $5,000) were made available through the Victims Fund to organizations interested in organizing an event.

The purpose of the week was to:

3.1.4. Public Legal Education and Information (PLEI)

Building on a communication/PLEI package used from 2000 to 2005, the PCVI developed fact sheets for the public on recent enhancements made available through legislation and funding. The fact sheet regarding Financial Assistance for Victims to Attend National Parole Board Hearings provides a basic overview of the purpose of the assistance, eligibility requirements and policies and instructions on how to apply for the assistance. Two fact sheets on testimonial aids available to witnesses in criminal proceedings were created, published and disseminated. One fact sheet is specifically designed for child witnesses and the other fact sheet provides an overview of testimonial aids for all vulnerable witnesses, including children.

The PCVI also organized a national-level opening ceremony and symposium in Ottawa focusing on victim issues to commemorate the NVCAW. The audience of approximately 100 people was comprised mainly of federal government stakeholders and community-based representatives from the Ottawa area. A Resource Guide including fact sheets, sample speeches and media materials was developed and distributed both electronically and by mail in order to assist organizers in planning and hosting events for the NVCAW. The Resource Guide was made publicly available on the NVCAW Website of the Government of Canada.

3.1.5. Building the Capacity of Northern Service Providers

The PCVI collaborates with the Department of Public Prosecutions to support CWCs. The PCVI undertook several activities during the evaluation period to support the CWCs, including: paying the salary for three of ten CWCs (one in each territory); holding two annual meetings including workshops on issues such as vicarious trauma; supporting CWCs to attend victim-related training events; and developing manuals and other resources to assist in their work.

In addition to the funding dedicated to CWCs, Victims Fund projects are intended to ensure that funding gets to small remote communities where there is limited access to services and social and crime issues are at very high levels. Examples of how the Victims Fund has been used in the North include:

3.1.6. Organizational Configuration of the Policy Centre for Victim Issues

Some human resource challenges were identified during the evaluation.  Several respondents noted that the Director of the PCVI has been acting in multiple senior management roles for an extended period of time. As a result, the Director has to manage additional highly pressing priorities, which inevitably has an impact on the PCVI’s access to the Director. The knowledge, experience, leadership and links to other sections and initiatives in the Criminal Law Policy sphere that the Director is found to bring to the FPTWG on Victims of Crime as Chair was noted as invaluable by several provincial and territorial respondents.

The evaluation found that there were some resource challenges with the development and implementation of the new FVS. To secure the funding for victims of crime identified in the 2006 Budget by the government, the PCVI spent a significant amount of time developing a new Strategy to distribute this new allocation. In addition to the new Strategy, the PCVI was also responsible for the establishment of the new office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime. The PCVI staff originally in place to undertake the activities related to the second Victims of Crime Initiative had to re-distribute their work accordingly. This work included further research, consultations and the development of new models. These processes, which took approximately 9 to 12 months, meant foregoing some of the activities that would have been undertaken to support the Victims of Crime Initiative launched in 2005, including maintaining an active Advisory Committee, conducting case law reviews, performing Victims Fund mining activities and completing Consultation Reports.

In addition, the current organizational configuration of the PCVI, with both permanent FTEs and others secured through service agreements from other Minister of Justice sections, has resulted in some periods of turnover and limiting the continuity and priority of some files.