Have you experienced assault? Have you ever been criminally harassed? Did you experience abuse as a child? Have you been the victim of domestic violence? If the answer is yes to these questions or if you have been the victim of another violent crime, you may be able to apply for compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board (“CICB”). The CICB is a program funded by the Ontario government to provide money to victims of violent crime. This program is governed by the Compensation for Victims of Crime Act.
You can apply for compensation from the CICB if you have suffered physical, mental, emotional, or psychological injuries as a result of a violent crime that was committed against you. In some cases, if you have been harmed as a result of an injury to another person you will also be allowed to apply. An example of such a situation would be if you were the child of a murder victim.
Compensation awards can include money to cover treatment expenses, travel costs to treatment, loss of income as well as damages for pain and suffering.
To apply for compensation, the crime must have taken place in Ontario. In addition, you must start your application to the CICB within 2 years of the crime taking place. However, if you were injured while still a child then you must start your application within 2 years of turning 18. In special circumstances, an extension of time may be granted if you have missed the 2 year deadline.
In your application, you will have to provide:
Detailed information about when the crime of violence occurred;
The name of the offender;
Location of the crime; and
If you received medical treatment or counselling.
An application form can be obtained through the CICB website (link at end of article) or by phoning the CICB directly.
Applying for compensation is easier when the person who committed the crime has been convicted of that crime. However, you can still apply for compensation even if no charges have been laid or a conviction made. In doing so, however, you will need to have some evidence to show that it is “more likely than not” the crime of violence occurred.
It can take anywhere from 12-18 months to have your claim processed. In some cases, a hearing may be held.
You do not need a lawyer to make an application but having one is always recommended. Legal advice can make the process much easier as well as ensuring that you are aware of all legal options, including a law suit against the offender for hurting you.
Further information on the CICB is available at http://www.cicb.gov.on.ca and at http://yourlegalrights.on.ca/criminal-law/criminal-injuries-compensation.
This column is brought to you by Community Law School (Sarnia-Lambton) Inc., and Community Legal Services and Pro Bono Students Canada at Western University, with funding support from the Law Foundation of Ontario. It provides legal information only. The information is accurate as of the date of publication. Laws change frequently so we caution readers from relying on this information if some time has passed since publication. If you need specific legal advice please contact a lawyer, your community legal clinic: Rural Legal Services at (613) 279-3252 or 1-888-777-8916, Justice Net at 1-866-919-3219, or the Law Society Referral Service at 1-800-268-8326.