History

This is a brief overview of the history of Victim Services at the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC).

1988: In 1988, Canada's federal, provincial and territorial governments endorsed the Canadian Statement of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime. The statement is based on the 1985 United Nations Declaration of Basic Principles for Victims of Crime and Abuse of Power. It is intended as a guide for governments as they develop legislation and policy. The Statement was revised in 2003.

1992: The Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA) recognized for the first time that victims of crime have a legitimate interest in receiving information from CSC about the offender who harmed them. Since the implementation of the CCRA, CSC has been providing services to registered victims and is continuously seeking ways to enhance its services.

2006: In August 2006, CSC amended the Commissioner's Directive (CD) 784 - Information Sharing between the Victims and Correctional Service of Canada and associated guidelines. The changes clarify the information-sharing process and outline CSC's responsibilities, most notably in the sections on Disclosure of Information and Sharing Victim-Related Information with Offenders.

2007: The Government of Canada announced the creation of the Federal Victim Strategy, which provided increased funding to the Departments of Justice and Public Safety Canada to respond to the needs of victims of federal offenders and included the creation of the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime.

2007: On September 4, 2007, CSC launched the National Victim Services Program. As part of this initiative, CSC established 30 new full-time staff positions to provide services to victims of offenders serving a sentence of two years or more. The Victim Services Officers (VSOs) work exclusively with registered victims and respond directly to their requests.

2011: The Serious Time for the Most Serious Crime Act came into force on December 2, 2011. This new legislation eliminates the 'faint-hope clause'.   As a result, criminals who committed first-degree murder on or after December 2, 2011, are not eligible for parole until they serve the full 25 years of their sentence.  Similarly, offenders serving life imprisonment for second-degree murder committed on or after December 2, 2011 are no longer eligible for parole until their parole ineligibility period is served, which could be up to 25 years.  For more information on how this new legislation affects victims of crime, please see our FAQ on Bill S-6.

2012: The Safe Streets and Communities Act was passed in Parliament and received Royal Assent in March 2012. The section relating to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA) came into force on June 13, 2012. This new legislation increases the accountability of federal offenders and promotes the interests and the role of victims in the correctional process.  For more information on how this new legislation affects victims of crime, please see our FAQ on Bill C-10.

2014: Bill C-32 was introduced in the House of Commons in April 2014. The legislation was created to establish statutory rights for victims of crime and ensure a formal complaint process is in place for victims to use if they believe their rights have been infringed or denied.

2015: The Victims Bill of Rights Act received Royal Assent on April 23, 2015 and allows CSC to provide more information to victims and further enshrines in law the critical role that victims play in the criminal justice process. The legislation also introduces measures to enhance victims' participation and protection. The majority of the provisions and amendments included in the Victims Bill of Rights Act, including the creation of the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights, and amendments to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA), Criminal Code, Canada Evidence Act, and Employment Insurance Act, came into force July 23, 2015. For more information on how this new legislation affects victims of crime, please see our FAQ on the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights.

2016: Some additional amendments to the CCRA stemming from the Victims Bill of Rights Act came into force on June 1, 2016. For more information on how this new legislation affects victims of crime, please see our FAQ on the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights.

If you would like additional information, please contact us toll-free at 1-866-806-2275 or by email.

The Canadian Centre for Missing Children has also published an in-depth Exploration of the Victims’ Movement in Canada. This document was published in English only.