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Archived - Royal Assent for Bill protecting Canadians from high-risk accused persons found Not Criminally Responsible on account of mental disorder

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Government's Bill Geared at Further Protecting Canadians and Communities

April 11, 2014 – Ottawa, ON – Department of Justice Canada

Bill C-14, the Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act, received Royal Assent today, ensuring that the Government can deliver on its commitment to protect Canadians from not criminally responsible (NCR) accused persons who have been found to pose a higher risk of committing violence if released.

Bill C-14 ensures that public safety comes first in the decision-making process with respect to accused persons found NCR or unfit to stand trial on account of mental disorder. The legislation also enhances the safety of victims and promotes greater victim involvement. The Bill addresses concerns raised by victims and families of victims as well as the provinces and territories.

The legislation creates a new designation process which aims to protect the public from NCR accused persons who are found by a court to pose a higher risk of committing acts of violence. Families of some victims have applauded the Government's action to reduce the risk of repeat violent actions by creating the high-risk designation and ensuring that victims are better informed about the status of the NCR accused. Upon being designated by a court as high-risk, an NCR accused would be held in custody in a hospital and could not be released by a review board until the high-risk designation was revoked by a court.

The Criminal Code amendments will come into effect three months from the date of Royal Assent (on July 10) while provisions related to the National Defence Act will come into force on a day or days to be fixed by order of the Governor in Council.

Quick Facts

  • Other effects of being designated as a high-risk NCR accused include a possible extension by the review board of the period between reviews (up to three years), the denial of unescorted passes to such individuals, and the condition that escorted passes could only be granted for medical reasons and subject to sufficient safeguards to protect public safety.
  • The legislation enhances the safety of victims by ensuring that they are specifically considered when decisions are being made about mentally disordered accused persons; ensuring that they are notified when such an accused is discharged and where they intend to reside, if the victims so desire; and allowing for non-communications orders between the accused and the victim.
  • The reforms do not affect access to treatment for any mentally disordered accused person.

Quotes

"The safety and well-being of all Canadians is of paramount importance to our Government, and I am pleased to see another example of our Government's actions becoming law today, which is fitting as we celebrate and highlight Victims Week. Since the Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act was reintroduced late last year, our Government has worked quickly to put public safety first, protect Canadians from NCR accused designated as high-risk, and enhance the rights of victims by passing this legislation. Through the creation of a new high-risk designation process, this legislation ensures that NCR accused who meet the higher-risk threshold are no longer a threat to their victims or communities across our country"

Peter MacKay
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

"My family and I are very happy to see that this legislation has received Royal Assent. There is still a lot more to do, but this is the beginning of justice for us. We finally feel we have some support from the justice system."

Isabelle Malo
(Daughter of homicide victim Ronald Malo)

"This new legislation constitutes a starting point to increase security for all: a longer period of evaluation and care for the aggressor; an additional benchmark for the proposed review, since the accused will be going back before the judge before being freed; and finally some much-needed relief for the victim who needs time to heal."

Isabelle Gaston

"Our family has been working for three years with this government on this Bill. We cannot thank them enough for their support and commitment to victims. This Bill is exactly what is needed: that is, people found not criminally responsible get better supports than are currently in place; the community as a whole receive the protections we deserve; and the families of victims finally get more time to heal."

Darcie Clark Family

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Contacts

  • Paloma Aguilar
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Minister of Justice
    613-992-4621
  • Media Relations
    Department of Justice
    613-957-4207

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