Why Ontario’s Victim Compensation Bill Will Hurt Those It’s Designed to Help

  • December 18, 2019
  • Shiva Bakhtiary, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP

In April, the Conservative government of Ontario announced its plans to repeal the Compensation for Victims of Crime Act in the 194-page bill tabled as part of the Finance minister’s budget measures. Bill 100, titled Protecting What Matters Most Act, would also dissolve Ontario’s Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, the tribunal that has awarded financial assistance to victims of crime since 1971.

The province claims that by doing so, they can save up to $30 million annually starting in 2021-2022 and re-invest $6 million a year in victim services such as the Civil Remedies Grant Program.

Previously, the Compensation for Victims of Crime Act allowed for lump-sum payments of up to $25,000 or monthly payments of up to $1,000 to compensate victims of crime for medical and therapy expenses, funeral and burial expenses, legal expenses, loss of income or support, as well as pain and suffering.

Effective May 29, the total available funding for one victim is increased to $30,000 but compensation for pain and suffering is capped at $5,000. This cap applies to any decisions rendered by the board on or after May 29, 2019. The amendment prohibiting the board from accepting new applications is not yet in force.