Workplace Sexual Harassment

Criminal Injuries Compensation

Most jurisdictions in Canada provides for compensation by statute to be paid for a victim of crime. The exceptions are Newfoundland & Labrador and Nunavut.

Former Ontario Law

The Ontario statute was a typical example.The law has since been repealed. A victim of a sexual assault was then apply to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board for financial recovery. There was no requirement for a criminal conviction, or that criminal charges have been laid, to succeed in the application. A criminal act was still required to be proven. The maximum sum allowed per applicant was $25,000. The application was required to be made within two years from the date of the event.

By an amendment to this statute which took effect in September of 2016, there was no time limit for this application where a crime of sexual violence occurred within a relationship of intimacy or dependency.

The application was intended for those persons who have not received compensation from the wrongdoer. It may be appropriate where there has been a human rights hearing, showing criminal conduct, where the award cannot be enforced due to the financial insolvency of the person found accountable.

The Board was to consider, in assessing the quantum of the compensation for pain and suffering, factors such as the nature of the crime, whether there was a breach of trust, the age and vulnerability of the victim, the degree of violence exhibited, the gravity of any injuries suffered, the recovery period, the possibility of a continuing disability and the impact of the events on the victim’s life.

The cap on pain and suffering awards was set at $5,000. In addition, there was compensation available for out-of-pocket medical expenses and travel expenses to receive same. A loss of income claim was  allowed up to $1,000 a month. Where periodic payments are ordered, the lump sum maximum decreased to $12,500.

The Ontario law was promised to be replaced by new legislation which was to increase the cap to $30,000. It has yet to be implemented in the form of new legislation. There is a program known as the VQRP+.

Nova Scotia sets a cap of $30,000 and a lost income claim of $1,000 a month. It also allows for counseling services within certain limits.

Alberta sets the sum for a victim of sexual assault suffering from severe emotional issues as $40,000. New Brunswick has a maximum of $10,000, P.E.I. $15,000 and B.C $50,000.

If a sum is subsequently received by civil or other action, the payment must be reimbursed. Normally the statute provides for a subrogated right in favour of the Province. For example, Manitoba requires that the victim take action against the wrongdoer and the Province may do so in the victim’s name should she fail to do so. Should the victim take such action, any settlement must be approved by the Province.

In addition, it is generally possible to apply for interim relief in the event of financial need.

Quebec’s statute requires the victim to elect to sue or seek compensation from the fund. Should legal action be taken, which is less than the fund eligibility, a claim for the discrepancy may then be made.