Prior to the release of the April 2019 budget – ironically entitled “Protecting What Matters Most” – victims of violent crime could apply to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board and potentially receive up to $25,000.00 for pain and suffering. Thanks to the Ford government, victims of violent crime may now only receive up to a maximum of $5,000.00
Winning a pain and suffering award at the CICB has never been an easy task. The application package is lengthy and requires significant details about the violent crime and the applicant’s symptoms. This process re-traumatizes the applicant, some to the point where they abandon the application.
For those who do soldier through the application, they must then gather and submit all the required documentation, and then wait patiently for their hearing (sometimes up to two years). And when the hearing finally arrives, the applicant must re-live the violent crime to convince the CICB that their pain and suffering deserves a compensation award.
Under the new law, Ford’s government will get rid of these hearings, replacing the “adjudicative” model with a bureaucratic “administrative” model to assess applications. According to the CICB website, the responsibilities covered by the CICB will be transitioned to a “new one-window access system for victim service programs.” Apparently, this means applicants need only submit paperwork and receipts online.
The Ford government claims that these changes are necessary as victims of violent crime wait too long to receive compensation from the Tribunal– which is fair. However, if the dissolution of the Tribunal is justified for the sake of expediency, what justifies an 80% cut to the pain and suffering award? And more importantly, how is that “protecting what matters most?”
To top it off, the 80% slash to the pain and suffering award is effective immediately, whereas the date of the Tribunal’s dissolution (and the repeal of the Compensation for Victims of Crime Act) has not even been confirmed by the Ford government.
So, for the foreseeable future, victims of violent crime must still go through the onerous application process and wait months or years for their hearing in the hopes of being compensated a maximum of $5000.00
The total amount that any one applicant can receive as a lump sum as increased under the law, from $25,000.00 to $30,000.00. But do not let that fool you. This is an increase that very few applicants will benefit from. Victims of violence primarily rely on the pain and suffering compensation award (again, only $5000.00). They mainly rely on this compensation award because few of the other categories of compensation apply. For example, medical, dental and counselling costs can be reimbursed by the Board – but few applicants can afford private treatment. Applicants can be reimbursed for loss of income (if they can prove they missed work because of the incident) but that award is capped at $1000 a month, and is also lowered by other benefits the applicant may receive (such as EI, CPP disability benefits, long- or short-term employer benefits). The only time an applicant could realistically receive an amount close to $30,000.00 is if the victim has died and the applicant seeks reimbursement for funeral and burial costs.
Essentially, when the victim survives the violence, the compensation available to help their recovery is capped at $5000.00, which will not go far in today’s economy. Protecting the survivors of violence should be what matters most, and it does not seem to be a priority on the new premier’s agenda.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of a violent crime please contact us today for a FREE consultation. Contact Millars Law today when you can’t afford to lose. Info@ml-dev.thirdeyeinsights.ca or (519) 657-1LAW
By Andrea Tredenick