Supreme Court decision on Victim Fine Surcharge

“Supreme Court quashes mandatory victims’ surcharge for convicted criminals” https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/supreme-court-victims-surcharge-1.4946018

PRESS RELEASE

DATE: December 17, 2018 FOR RELEASE ON: IMMEDIATE

SUBJECT: Supreme Court Ends Mandatory Victims’ Surcharge

Preamble:
The APBVSA was established as a non-profit society in 1997 when police-based programs across the Province identified the need for a collective voice for programs. The APBVSA is an accredited organization through Imagine Canada and the largest, police-based, victim services association in Canada. Membership includes 78 police-based victim service programs operating in all jurisdictions in Alberta. The Association offers training, professional development, a biennial conference, administration of group liability and a wide range of other insurance policies for programs. The APBVSA provides mentoring and support to programs; including managers, paid staff, volunteers and boards. In recent years, the Association has worked closely with Alberta Justice & Solicitor General, Victims Programs, on training initiatives such as the development of Program Manager Competencies, Advocate Competencies, follow-up actions relating to the Auditor General’s review of the Victims of Crime Fund (VOCF) and Gap Analysis Discussions (GAD Analysis) report. Victims of crime programs as described are funded by the Victims of Crime Fund which is sustained by an added surcharge on conviction for an offence in Alberta against provincial laws and the criminal code, monies are not tax dollars.

“Supreme Court quashes mandatory victims’ surcharge for convicted criminals” https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/supreme-court-victims-surcharge-1.4946018

Release:

The Association is now considering the potential impacts from the recent ruling of the Supreme Court of Canada that ends the assessing of a victim surcharge upon conviction for criminal offences. In Alberta there is also a victim surcharge applied to provincial offences and the extent to which this ruling will affect that is unknown at this time.

Victims of crime and tragedy in Alberta are assisted by local volunteer advocates in their communities. These volunteer groups rely on funds generated by the surcharge to provide administration and a variety of services in the work of supporting victims. The monies are held in the Victims of Crime Fund and accessed through a grant process managed by Alberta Justice and Solicitor General. The fund also supports payments to victims through a financial benefits program and those fleeing domestic violence.

“Loss of this funding will lead to critical gaps”, says Alf Rudd President of the Alberta Police Based Victim Service Association, “recent progress made by the JSG in ensuring funding reaches all victims in Alberta is now placed in jeopardy”.

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Inquiries: Alf Rudd 403-634-9460

Court Preparation Resource

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Court Preparation

As of mid-January 2016 all amendments to the program have been approved in accordance with the implementation of the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights and this project is in the final stages.   Any future changes will always be reflected on the website link.

 

Improving the Justice System for Victims

CSC reporting on Ombudsman’s position on victim rights

Improving Justice for Victims

“The system needs to be more flexible and adaptable in terms of particularly with people that participate, for example, vulnerable victims such as children, older persons, persons with disabilities.”

One of the reports also suggests putting victims at the centre of the debate over proposed plea bargains by allowing the court to hear from them before a guilty plea is made “in order to have the opportunity to have their views heard and considered.” The report notes variations of this kind of law exist in Colorado and California. The ombudsman also advocated for having victims make submissions to the court when a decision might affect their safety, such as in a bail hearing.

Questionnaire for Victims of Crime and Trauma

The Bow Valley Victim Services Association, in conjunction with the Alberta Police Based Victim Services Association is undertaking a very exciting project – asking victims of crime and trauma across Alberta if the services we provided were of help and met their needs.

But for this project to succeed, we need your help. We are therefore inviting you to complete this voluntary and anonymous questionnaire if you have ever received assistance from a police-based victim service program in Alberta. This questionnaire is accessible via Survey Monkey at – https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BVVS_VictimNeeds

Once complete, the results from this study will help all police-based victim service programs better understand the services we provide, which in turn will assist others who have experienced crime or a traumatic event.