Management Response and Action Plan

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Evaluation Report Title: Evaluation of the Justice Canada Federal Victims Strategy (March 2021)

Approval Date of Evaluation by Deputy Minister (mm/yyyy): 03/2021

Recommendation 1: To continue to address the ongoing and emerging needs of victims and survivors of crime, it is recommended to engage in annual collaborative priority setting exercises to inform the activities of the Justice Federal Victims Strategy (Justice FVS).

Rationale for Recommendation: The Evaluation found that the Justice FVS is consistent with government priorities, that it has achieved its expected outcomes, and that there is a continuing need for the Justice FVS. Of particular note, the evaluation found that the combined use of the multi-pronged strategic activities of the Justice FVS (federal criminal law policy, federal grants and contributions funding, and federal policy and leadership) played an important role in improving the criminal justice system responses to victims and survivors of crime. These activities also increased access to responsive services and justice for victims within areas of federal responsibility. The evaluation findings also indicated that there is a continued need for FVS initiatives as certain communities of victims and survivors continue to experience barriers to participating in the criminal justice system, accessing services and identifying supports (due to geography, intimidation, hesitation, and mistrust of the justice system, for example). At the same time, there are emerging issues for victims and survivors. Some of the commonly under-served communities mentioned by respondents include individuals living in rural, remote, and Northern communities (including Indigenous communities); racialized communities (e.g., Black Canadians); victims of gender-based violence such as sexual assault, intimate partner violence and human trafficking; victims who are LGBTQQI2S, persons with disabilities and seniors; families of missing and murdered Indigenous peoples; victims of cybercrime, families of homicide victims; and people experiencing homelessness and poverty.

Management Response: The Policy Centre for Victim Issues (PCVI) is in agreement with this recommendation. The landscape and experiences of victims and survivors continue to evolve, and PCVI is committed to ensuring that existing Justice FVS strategic activities and levers for change be used to address the issues and concerns of victims and survivors of crime within federal jurisdiction, and be aligned with federal government commitments to Canadians. The evaluation noted that there is an enduring need for federal policy and program initiatives, as well as collaboration and coordination across sectors and jurisdictions. The Justice FVS will continue to ground its efforts to give victims of crime a more effective voice in the criminal justice system and increase access to justice for victims and survivors of crime through the strategic activities of criminal law reform, policy development and federal leadership, as well as program development and delivery. In addition to providing ongoing federal leadership on a range of victim issues and actions, the Justice FVS will continue to identify opportunities to support or lead collaboration across sectors, between jurisdictions, and within victim service delivery and the criminal justice system in order to advance victim-focused initiatives and remain responsive to ongoing and emerging needs of victims and survivors of crime.

Considerations influencing implementation of this recommendation include:

Partnerships. PCVI has built and maintained strong relationships with key stakeholders and partners that will support the fulfillment of this recommendation.

Shared responsibility. Given that addressing and responding to victim issues is an area of responsibility shared with other federal departments, provinces and territories (PTs), criminal justice personnel, victim services and community organizations, Justice FVS activities and initiatives will be influenced by the level of interest and commitment among other key partners to collaborate.

Resource levels. This recommendation will be implemented with existing Justice FVS human and financial resources, which may influence the scope and reach of FVS activities.

Federal government priorities. Work undertaken by the Justice FVS is primarily guided by federal government priorities. Justice FVS officials will continue to pursue opportunities for collaboration in areas of shared interest and jurisdiction.

COVID-19 and the global pandemic. The changing environment caused by the global pandemic may influence the nature and scope of FVS activities.

Action(s)
What SMART action(s) will be taken to address this recommendation?
Deliverable(s)
Expected deliverable(s) to demonstrate the completion of the action.
Accountability
ADM responsible for implementing the action.
Planned Completion Date
Drawing on existing mechanisms for dialogue, the PCVI will organize annual discussions with partners to seek their views and/or data findings regarding the ongoing and emerging needs of victims and survivors of crime. Summary of federal/provincial/ territorial (FPT) dialogue on ongoing and emerging needs (including FPT Working Group on Victims of Crime, Interdepartmental Working Group on Violence and Victimization) (June 2022)Summary of departmental dialogues reviewing existing research findings as well as outcomes and lessons learned from funded projects on emerging and ongoing needs (June 2022)Summary of input from a sample of non-governmental partners on emerging and ongoing needs (June 2022) Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Policy Sector June 2022

Recommendation 2: It is recommended to improve reporting templates and tools to allow for more consistent and strategic data collection of Victims Fund projects.

Rationale for Recommendation: There were some limitations with the current performance measurement approach to funded activities under the Victims Fund. In particular, there was inconsistent data collected from PTs and NGOs regarding their activities, primarily due to variable reporting practices (e.g., a lack of consistent quantitative information from recipients across activities, as well as a lack of concise and targeted qualitative information to support accessible performance data), and some challenges with understanding and using the lengthy reporting templates. Improvements in this area would help funding recipients and departmental officials to complete and analyze reports in a more consistent and timely manner to better assess program performance on an annual and longer-term basis.

Management Response: Programs Branch – Innovation, Analysis and Integration Directorate agrees with the above recommendation to improve reporting templates and tools to allow for more consistent and strategic data collection of Victims Fund projects.

Action(s)
What SMART action(s) will be taken to address this recommendation?
Deliverable(s)
Expected deliverable(s) to demonstrate the completion of the action.
Accountability
ADM responsible for implementing the action.
Planned Completion Date
A new reporting template will be developed through consultations with a sample of relevant stakeholders and will be distributed to PT and NGO funding recipients for use in annual reporting. Notes from Consultations (December 2021)Following revisions to templates from consultations with Justice personnel, a sample of PTs/NGOs will also be consulted regarding data inputs and feasibility of the new templates.New reporting template is developed and distributed to PTs/NGOs for use in upcoming annual reporting cycles (May 2022)Justice will develop a flexible reporting template that can be adapted to address specifics of each program component to ensure consistent quantitative information from recipients across activities, and concise and targeted qualitative information to support accessible performance data. Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Policy Sector May 2022
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