The CBA calls Victims Bill of Rights Act an important step for victims

  • April 01, 2015

Ottawa – In its second appearance before a Parliamentary committee in five months, the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) is welcoming Bill C-32, Victims Bill of Rights Act at the Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs today.  The CBA appeared before the House of Commons Justice and Human Rights Committee last November in this article.

Calling it an important step for victims of crime, Kathryn Pentz of the CBA’s Criminal Justice Section says, “Bill C-32 would generally enhance victims’ involvement in the criminal justice process, while respecting the rights of the accused under Canadian law and paying attention to the efficient administration of justice.”

The Bill has undergone some revisions since the hearings in November but they do not address the CBA’s recommendations. The CBA continues to suggest some changes to improve the Bill’s ability to withstand possible constitutional scrutiny, protect prosecutorial independence and ensure that the criminal justice system is actually able to deliver on any rights promised to victims of crime.

In its submission, the CBA says victims need support, resources and education about the criminal justice process.  The CBA recommends that the VBR include the following:

  • a framework of victims’ rights and treatment during the criminal justice process;
  • national guidelines with respect to the treatment of victims in the criminal justice process, and resources to ensure those guidelines are achieved;
  • an outline of governments’ responsibilities to victims, including measures of practical importance to victims; and
  • recognition of victims as key witnesses, not as added parties to the criminal justice process.

Kathryn Pentz will present to the CBA submission to the Senate Committee on April 1, in Room 257, East Block at 4:15 pm.

The CBA is dedicated to support for the rule of law, and improvement in the law and the administration of justice. Some 36,000 lawyers, notaries in Quebec, law teachers, and law students from across Canada are members.