Many people are unaware that the Ontario Criminal Injuries Compensation Board (CICB) exists or of how it operates. This initiative operates as a part of Social Justice Tribunals Ontario (of which the Human Rights Tribunal is one body) to assess and award financial compensation for innocent victims of violent crimes, including sexual crimes, committed in Ontario.
In the employment law context, this can be an interesting avenue for obtaining financial compensation for employees who are injured or who lose their jobs as a result of an experience that constitutes a crime under Canadian law, for instance assault or sexual assault.
How can a victim of a violent crime apply for compensation?
The CICB’s application form can be completed at this link: http://www.sjto.gov.on.ca/cicb/forms-filing/.
A CICB hearing can take place in one of three ways:
- In writing;
- In person before a Panel Member; or
- By way of teleconference.
If the Board determines that an applicant’s claim can be assessed based on written information provided for the file alone, the applicant may not need to attend a hearing. If an oral hearing is needed, the Board will require the applicant to be present and to answer questions about the incident, injuries and associated costs.
In each setting, a Panel Member of the CICB hears the case and decides whether or not to award compensation.
What does the CICB look for when awarding compensation?
In determining whether to make an order for compensation and the amount thereof, the Board shall have regard to all relevant circumstances, including any behaviour of the victim that may have directly or indirectly contributed to his or her injury or death, and it may, in its discretion, refuse to make an order for compensation or order a reduced amount of compensation where it is satisfied that the applicant has refused reasonable co-operation with, or failed to report promptly the offence to, a law enforcement agency.
The Board will also take into consideration any benefit, compensation or indemnity paid or payable to the applicant from any source other than social assistance.
Perhaps most notable with regard to this process is that it is not necessary that a criminal conviction be secured against the alleged perpetrator of the crime in order for the victim to receive compensation. An order for compensation may be made whether or not any person is prosecuted for or convicted of the offence giving rise to the injury or death.
The CICB operates with the understanding that not all crimes, especially sexual crimes, are reported to the police or result in criminal charges. However, without a police report or court documents, an applicant will have to provide other evidence, including a statement and/or testimony, to show that a crime occurred and resulted in injuries and/or costs. Further, if it is not clear to the Board whether a crime of violence occurred, the CICB may order that the alleged perpetrator take part in the hearing to support proper adjudication.
What kind of awards can the CICB make?
The CICB can compensate victims for a variety of damages/costs that result from being a victim of the crime, including for:
- pain and suffering;
- loss of income or financial support;
- treatment expenses and travel to treatment expenses
- funeral and burial expenses; and
- bereavement counselling.
You do NOT need to be a citizen of Canada or a resident of Ontario to receive compensation from the CICB. If the crime happened in Ontario, then you are eligible for an award.
The CICB can award up to a lump sum of $25,000 to one victim of crime or of $150,000 when more than one person has been injured or killed as the result of a violent crime and the award is to be shared among all of the claimants.
The CICB can also make periodic awards in cases when there is an ongoing financial loss (for instance, for lost income or child care expenses). These awards are paid on a monthly basis and cannot exceed $1,000 per month.
For more information regarding the CICB hearing process, please consult the CICB’s governing law, Compensation for Victims of Crime Act, R.S. O. 1990, c. C. 24.
Takeaways and more information
If you have been the victim of a crime which has impacted your ability to work or has caused you to have to leave your job, please contact Sultan Lawyers PC by telephone at 416-214-5111 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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