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Bill C-32

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This enactment enacts the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights, which specifies that victims of crime have the following rights:
(a) the right to information about the criminal justice system, the programs and services that are available to victims of crime and the complaint procedures that are available to them when their rights have been infringed or denied;
(b) the right to information about the status of the investigation and the criminal proceedings, as well as information about reviews while the offender is subject to the corrections process, or about hearings after the accused is found not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder or unfit to stand trial, and information about the decisions made at those reviews and hearings;
(c) the right to have their security and privacy considered by the appropriate authorities in the criminal justice system;
(d) the right to protection from intimidation and retaliation;
(e) the right to request testimonial aids;
(f) the right to convey their views about decisions to be made by authorities in the criminal justice system that affect the victim’s rights under this Act and to have those views considered;
(g) the right to present a victim impact statement and to have it considered;
(h) the right to have the courts consider making, in all cases, a restitution order against the offender; and
(i) the right to have a restitution order entered as a civil court judgment that is enforceable against the offender if the amount owing under the restitution order is not paid.
The Canadian Victims Bill of Rights also specifies
(a) the periods during which the rights apply;
(b) the individuals who may exercise the rights;
(c) the complaint mechanism for victims and the requirements for federal departments to create complaint mechanisms; and
(d) how the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights is to be interpreted.
This enactment amends the Criminal Code to
(a) align the definition of “victim” with the definition of “victim” in the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights;
(b) protect the privacy and security interests of complainants and witnesses in proceedings involving certain sexual offences and ensure that they are informed of their right to be represented by legal counsel;
(c) broaden the conduct to which the offence of intimidation of justice system participants applies;
(d) expand the list of factors that a court may take into consideration when determining whether an exclusion order is in the interest of the proper administration of justice;
(e) make testimonial aids more accessible to vulnerable witnesses;
(f) enable witnesses to testify using a pseudonym in appropriate cases;
(g) make publication bans for victims under the age of 18 mandatory on application;
(h) provide that an order for judicial interim release must indicate that the safety and security of every victim was taken into consideration;
(i) require the court to inquire of the prosecutor if reasonable steps have been taken to inform the victims of any plea agreement entered into by the accused and the prosecutor in certain circumstances;
(j) add victim impact statement forms to assist victims to convey their views at sentencing proceedings and at hearings held by Review Boards;
(k) provide that the acknowledgment of the harm done to the victims and to the community is a sentencing objective;
(l) clarify the provisions relating to victim impact statements;
(m) allow for community impact statements to be considered for all offences;
(n) provide that victims may request a copy of a judicial interim release order, probation order or a conditional sentence order;
(o) specify that the victim surcharge must be paid within the reasonable time established by the lieutenant governor of the province in which it is imposed;
(p) provide a form for requesting a restitution order; and
(q) provide that courts must consider the making of a restitution order in all cases, and that, in multiple victim cases, a restitution order may specify the amounts owed to each victim and designate the priority of payment among the victims.
The enactment amends the Canada Evidence Act to provide that no person is incompetent, or uncompellable, to testify for the prosecution by reason only that they are married to the accused. It also amends that Act to add a new subsection to govern the questioning of witnesses over the age of 14 years in certain circumstances.
This enactment amends the Corrections and Conditional Release Act to
(a) align the definition of “victim” with the definition of “victim” in the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights;
(b) permit victims to have access to information about the offender’s progress in relation to the offender’s correctional plan;
(c) permit victims to be shown a current photograph of the offender at the time of the offender’s conditional release or the expiration of the offender’s sentence;
(d) permit the disclosure of information to victims concerning an offender’s deportation before the expiration of the offender’s sentence;
(e) permit the disclosure to victims of an offender’s release date, destination and conditions of release, unless the disclosure would have a negative impact on public safety;
(f) allow victims to designate a representative to receive information under the Act and to waive their right to information under the Act;
(g) require that the Correctional Service of Canada inform victims about its victim-offender mediation services;
(h) permit victims who do not attend a parole hearing to listen to an audio recording of the hearing;
(i) provide for the provision to victims of decisions of the Parole Board of Canada regarding the offender; and
(j) require, when victims have provided a statement describing the harm, property damage or loss suffered by them as the result of the commission of an offence, that the Parole Board of Canada impose victim non-contact or geographic restrictions as conditions of release, where reasonable and necessary, to protect the victims in relation to an offender who is the subject of a long-term supervision order.

Available on the Parliament of Canada Web Site at the following address: