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Bill C-343

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First Session, Forty-second Parliament,
64-65-66 Elizabeth II, 2015-2016-2017
HOUSE OF COMMONS OF CANADA
BILL C-343
An Act to establish the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Criminal Acts and to amend certain Acts
FIRST READING, April 4, 2017
Mrs. Boucher
421341


SUMMARY
This enactment establishes the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Criminal Acts and sets out the Ombudsman’s powers, duties and functions. It also amends the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights to clarify that the Ombudsman is the authority that has jurisdiction to review complaints under that Act. Lastly, it makes consequential amendments to certain acts.
Available on the Parliament of Canada Web Site at the following address:
http://www.parl.gc.ca


1st Session, 42nd Parliament,
64-65-66 Elizabeth II, 2015-2016-2017
HOUSE OF COMMONS OF CANADA
BILL C-343
An Act to establish the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Criminal Acts and to amend certain Acts
Preamble
Whereas the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Criminal Acts has existed since 2007 under the authority of the Minister of Justice;
Whereas the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights, adopted in 2015, gave the Ombudsman the mandate to investigate complaints made against a federal department, agency or body regarding any federal service or program offered to victims of criminal acts;
Whereas Parliament recognizes that the Ombudsman, given the evolution in his or her responsibilities, should report to Parliament;
And whereas it is desirable to create, in law, the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Criminal Acts and to set out the Ombudsman’s powers, duties and functions;
Now, therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:

Short Title

Short title
1This Act may be cited as the Act respecting the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Criminal Acts.

Interpretation

Definitions
2The following definitions apply in this Act.
Minister means the Minister of Justice. (ministre)
Ombudsman means the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Criminal Acts appointed under subsection 4(1). (ombudsman)

Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Criminal Acts

Office
3The Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Criminal Acts is established.
Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Criminal Acts
4(1)The Governor in Council appoints the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Criminal Acts by commission under the Great Seal, after consultation with the leader of every recognized party in the Senate and House of Commons and approval of the appointment by resolution of the Senate and House of Commons.
Tenure and term of office
(2)The Ombudsman holds office during good behaviour for a term not exceeding five years, but may be removed for cause by the Governor in Council at any time on address of the Senate and House of Commons.
Full-time employment
(3)The Ombudsman is to engage exclusively in the duties and functions of his or her office under this Act or any other Act of Parliament and is not to hold any other office or engage in any other employment for reward.
Absence or incapacity of Ombudsman
5(1)If the Ombudsman is absent or unable to act or if the office of Ombudsman is vacant, the Minister must appoint an acting Ombudsman, who is not to be appointed for a term of more than 90 days without the approval of the Governor in Council.
Powers, duties and functions
(2)The acting Ombudsman exercises the powers and performs the duties and functions of the Ombudsman under this Act or any other Act of Parliament.
Remuneration and expenses
6(1)The Ombudsman receives the remuneration that may be fixed by the Governor in Council and is entitled to be paid reasonable travel and living expenses incurred in the performance of his or her duties and functions while absent from his or her ordinary place of work.
Compensation
(2)The Ombudsman is deemed to be a person employed in the public service for the purposes of the Public Serv-ice Superannuation Act, to be an employee for the purposes of the Government Employees Compensation Act and to be employed in the federal public administration for the purposes of any regulations made under section 9 of the Aeronautics Act.
Chief executive officer
7The Ombudsman is the chief executive officer of the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Criminal Acts and has the control and management of the Office and all matters connected with it.
Staff
8(1)The employees who are necessary to carry out the work of the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Criminal Acts are to be appointed in accordance with the Public Service Employment Act.
Assistance
(2)The Ombudsman may engage on a temporary basis the services of persons having technical or specialized knowledge of any matter relating to the Ombudsman’s work to advise and assist the Ombudsman in the per-formance of his or her duties and functions and, with the approval of the Treasury Board, may fix and pay the remuneration and expenses of those persons.

Mandate

Powers, duties and functions
9The Ombudsman provides support and assistance to victims of criminal acts and their families and, in particular,
(a)facilitates access to federal programs and services offered to victims of criminal acts by providing them with information and referral services;
(b)reviews complaints against a federal department, agency or body regarding any federal program or serv-ice offered to victims of criminal acts;
(c)reviews federal legislation and federal government policies relating to victims of criminal acts and federal services and programs offered to them;
(d)directs victims of criminal acts to the services and programs offered in their community or province;
(e)implements education and information programs, for the competent authorities in the criminal justice system and other interested parties, designed to enhance their understanding of victims’ needs and concerns and of the applicable legislation, including the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights;
(f)identifies the issues that have a negative effect on the victims of criminal acts; and
(g)make recommendations to the Minister intended to bring about positive changes for the victims of criminal acts.
Restrictions
10The Ombudsman is not permitted to review complaints relating to
(a)a recommendation of the Correctional Service of Canada to the Parole Board of Canada or to a provincial parole board;
(b)a decision of the Parole Board of Canada or of a provincial parole board; or
(c)a decision of the Correctional Service of Canada concerning a transfer or an authority to release from detention, including a work release or a temporary absence with or without escort.
Refusal to review a complaint
11The Ombudsman may refuse to review any complaint, or end any review of a complaint, if he or she is of the opinion that it is frivolous or vexatious or is beyond his or her jurisdiction.
Powers of the Ombudsman
12(1)In conducting the review of a complaint, the Ombudsman may take the measures that he or she deems appropriate, including
(a)summoning and enforcing the appearance of any person that the Ombudsman believes can provide information concerning the complaint, compelling them to give oral or written evidence on oath, and administering oaths;
(b)requiring any person to furnish any information that the Ombudsman believes the person is able to furnish in relation to the complaint and to produce any document or thing that the Ombudsman believes relates to the review of the complaint and that may be in the possession or under the control of that person; and
(c)making copies of any document or examining any thing produced in accordance with paragraph (b).
Return of documents or things
(2)The Ombudsman must return any document or thing produced under paragraph (1)‍(b) to the person who produced it within 10 days after a request for its return is made to the Ombudsman, but nothing in this subsection precludes the Ombudsman from again requiring its production under that paragraph.
Other examination
13(1)The Ombudsman may, on his or her own initiative or at the request of the Minister, examine any matter that relates to his or her powers, duties and functions.
Powers
(2)In conducting the investigation, the Ombudsman may exercise the powers described in section 12.
Report — complaint
14(1)At the conclusion of a review conducted following a complaint, the Ombudsman must prepare a report containing a summary of the complaint and his or her conclusions and recommendations, and send it to the complainant and to the federal department, agency or body to which the complaint relates.
Report — other examination
(2)If the examination is conducted on the Ombudsman’s own initiative or at the request of the Minister, the Ombudsman must prepare a report containing a summary of the matter under examination and his or her conclusions and recommendations, and send it to the Minister.

Annual Report

Activity report
15(1)Within three months after the end of each fiscal year, the Ombudsman must present a report to the Minister on his or her activities for the fiscal year, and include a summary of the complaints submitted to the Ombudsman under subsection 25(2) of the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights.
Tabling of report
(2)The Minister must cause the report to be laid before each House of Parliament on any of the first 30 days on which that House is sitting after he or she receives it.
Publication of report
(3)The Ombudsman must publish the report on the website of the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Criminal Acts within 30 days after it is tabled in Parliament.

Transitional Provisions

Continuation of employment — employees
16Nothing in this Act is to be construed as affecting the status of any employee who, immediately before the day on which this section comes into force, occupied a position in the Department of Justice with the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Criminal Acts, except that the employee, as of that day, occupies their position in the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Criminal Acts established under section 3.
Continuation of term of office — Ombudsman
17The person holding the office of Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Criminal Acts on the coming into force of this section continues in office until the end of his or her term of office as if he or she had been appointed under subsection 4(1).
2015, c. 13, s.‍2

Amendment to the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights

18Subsection 25(2) of the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights is replaced by the following:
Complaint to Federal Ombudsman
(2)Every victim who has exhausted their recourse under the complaints mechanism and who is not satisfied with the response of the federal department, agency or body may file a complaint with the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Criminal Acts appointed under subsection 4(1) of the Act respecting the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Criminal Acts.

Consequential Amendments

R.‍S.‍, c. A-1

Access to Information Act

19Schedule I to the Access to Information Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order under the heading “Other Government Institutions”:
Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Criminal Acts
Bureau de l’ombudsman fédéral des victimes d’actes criminels
R.‍S.‍, c. F-11

Financial Administration Act

20Schedule I.‍1 to the Financial Administration Act is amended by adding in alphabetical order, in column I, a reference to
Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Criminal Acts
Bureau de l’ombudsman fédéral des victimes d’actes criminels
and a corresponding reference in column II to “Minister of Justice”.
21Schedule V to the Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order:
Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Criminal Acts
Bureau de l’ombudsman fédéral des victimes d’actes criminels
22Part III of Schedule VI to the Act is amended by adding in alphabetical order, in column I, a reference to
Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Criminal Acts
Bureau de l’ombudsman fédéral des victimes d’actes criminels
and a corresponding reference in column II to “Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Criminal Acts”.
R.‍S.‍, c. P-21

Privacy Act

23The schedule to the Privacy Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order under the heading “Other Government Institutions”:
Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Criminal Acts
Bureau de l’ombudsman fédéral des victimes d’actes criminels
R.‍S.‍, c. P-36

Public Service Superannuation Act

24Part I of Schedule I to the Public Service Superannuation Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order:
Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Criminal Acts
Bureau de l’ombudsman fédéral des victimes d’actes criminels
1991, c. 30

Public Sector Compensation Act

25Schedule I to the Public Sector Compensation Act is amended by adding the following in alphabetical order under the heading “Other Portions of the Public Service”:
Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Criminal Acts
Bureau de l’ombudsman fédéral des victimes d’actes criminels

Coming into Force

Order in council
26(1)Subject to subsection (2), this Act comes into force on a day to be fixed by order of the Governor in Council.
Royal recommendation
(2)No order may be made under subsection (1) unless the appropriation of moneys for the purposes of this Act has been recommended by the Governor General and the moneys have been appropriated by Parliament.
Published under authority of the Speaker of the House of Commons

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