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e-4226 (Justice)

Initiated by Elsje de Boer from Fauquier, British Columbia

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Minister of Justice

  • There are more than 2.5 million victims of violent crime in Canada every year; victims of crime cannot get protection because: The Victims Rights Act of 2015 states: S. 28: No case of action or right to damages arises from an infringement or denial of a right under this Act, S. 29: No appeal lies from any decision or order solely on the grounds that a right under this Act has beeninfringed or denied, but: S. 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states that: 15. (1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination; and
  • The Victims Rights Act is unconstitutional. It deprives victims of crime of the right to equal protection, and equal access to the benefit of the law. Victims of violent crime cannot get protection. There is no opportunity for a victim or a victim’s lawyer to defend their rights or question the statements of the accused or of defense counsel.
We, the undersigned, citizens and residents of Canada, call upon the Minister of Justice to:
1. Amend the Victim Rights Act of 2015 to conform to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms; and
2. Create an opportunity for victims or their lawyer to defend the rights of the victim throughout the police investigation and in court, including in custody disputes where domestic violence is an issue.

Response by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable Arif Virani

Our Government is committed to ensuring that Canada’s criminal justice system shows compassion to victims, holds offenders to account and upholds the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Healing looks different for every victim and survivor. It is a priority for our Government to ensure that in every case, victims are treated with dignity and respect in the criminal justice process and our government is taking action.

The Canadian Victims Bill of Rights, 2015 does not draw any distinction or difference, among victims, based on enumerated or analogous grounds contained in section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Budget 2021 provided $48.75 million over five years, to support a national program for independent legal advice and independent legal representation for victims of sexual assault, as well as to support piloting these programs for victims of intimate partner violence.

Through the Victims Fund, more than $28 million is made available annually to provincial and territorial governments and non-governmental organizations to increase awareness and knowledge of victim issues, legislation, and services available.

Our Government’s way forward will always be guided by the experiences and views of victims and survivors of crime, recognizing and respecting that the needs and concerns of victims—and their pathways to justice—remain varied and multi-faceted.

We recognize the unique challenges faced by victims and survivors of crime and remain committed to providing greater support for them with the goal of keeping them safe.

Open for signature
January 26, 2023, at 9:31 a.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
April 26, 2023, at 9:31 a.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
May 16, 2023 (Petition No. 441-01458)
Government response tabled
September 18, 2023
Photo - Elizabeth May
Saanich—Gulf Islands
Green Party Caucus
British Columbia