Victims of crime are sometimes entitled to compensation for the physical or psychological injury they suffered, or for property damage. Several programs are available to them. In many cases, victims are not required to file a police report in order to receive compensation.
There are many government programs to help victims of crime. A victim must apply to the government plan which covers the specific type of crime in question.
It’s usually the victim who must apply for compensation. But family members can also apply in certain situations, for example, if the victim has died.
Programs for injuries suffered
The victim can ask for compensation for the physical and psychological injuries caused by the crime. For example, compensation could cover the loss of employment income, medical expenses or personal home assistance.
Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité au travail (CNESST or labour standards, pay equity and workplace health and safety board)
The CNESST program applies when a crime is committed at work, for example, if a cashier is injured during an armed robbery at a store. The deadline to submit your application is six months after the injury or illness appears. The application procedure is explained (in French only) on the CNESST website.
Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ or Quebec auto insurance bureau)
The SAAQ program applies when a crime was committed with a vehicle, for example, if a pedestrian is hit by a drunk driver. The deadline for submitting your application is three years after the injury appears, but there are some exceptions.
Compensation for victims of crime (IVAC)
The IVAC program generally applies when the victim isn’t eligible for compensation under another program. However, the crime must be one covered by IVAC. For example, assault and sexual assault are covered, but criminal harassment is not. You can consult the list of crimes covered by IVAC. The deadline to submit your application is two years after the injury appears, but there are some exceptions.
Programs for specific situations
Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF or financial markets authority)
The AMF can compensate victims of financial fraud who dealt with an insurance representative, group savings (mutual funds) representative, scholarship plan representative, claims adjuster or financial planner.
Canadian Benefit for Parents of Young Victims of Crime
Parents of children who have been murdered or who have disappeared can apply for income support under the Canadian Benefit for Parents of Young Victims of Crime (income support).
The Victims Fund provides financial assistance to Canadians who have been the victim of a violent crime in a foreign country. Victims who have other sources of financial assistance are generally not eligible for this program.
Private insurance for property damage or robbery
Government programs generally don’t compensate victims for the loss of property or for property damage. However, that is what private insurance companies do. For example, victims of robbery or vandalism could receive compensation under their home, car or travel insurance policies.
Victims who have such insurance must usually file a police report before they can receive compensation. Insurance companies normally require a copy of the police report.
Contact your insurance company to find out whether you’re entitled to compensation.
Compensation from the person who committed the crime
A victim can ask for financial compensation from the person who committed the crime. This can be done in a criminal or civil lawsuit.
The judge can order a person who is found guilty of a crime to pay money to the victim. This allows the victim to cover certain expenses such as the cost of medical care or therapies, the repair or replacement of property, or the return of stolen money.
To request compensation, a must complete the form “Statement on Restitution.” Compensation is not automatic, but a judge must consider such requests.
A victim can try going to mediation.
A victim can also file a civil lawsuit against the person who committed the acts in question. Victims can represent themselves or can hire a lawyer to do so. A judge can order the defendant to pay compensation (money) to the victim, for example, for medical expenses, pain suffered or property damage.
A victim can file a civil lawsuit against someone even if that person was never charged with a crime nor found guilty at a criminal trial.
Assistance and accompaniment resources
Crime victims are also entitled to psychological, medical and social support. To learn more, refer to our article Resources for Victims of Crime: Assistance and Accompaniment.