In Quebec, under the Crime Victims Compensation Act, victims of crime may be eligible for compensation for physical, psychological or material injuries they have suffered.
In this article, our IVAC lawyers share important information about how to obtain this compensation.
What constitutes a victim of crime in Quebec?
A crime victim is a person who has suffered loss or injury, including physical, psychological, material or financial damage, as a result of a criminal act perpetrated within Quebec. To be eligible for compensation from the IVAC, you must specify the type of criminal act you have suffered, indicating one of the following situations as defined by the law:
- A person was killed or injured as a result of an act or the omission (failure to act) of another person, occurring in the course of or as a direct result of the commission of a criminal offence (this includes certain acts described within the Criminal Code).
- A person was killed or injured while lawfully making or attempting to make the arrest of an offender or alleged offender or while assisting a peace officer who was making an arrest.
- A person was killed or injured while lawfully preventing or attempting to prevent the commission of an offence or what that person believed to be an offence, or while assisting a peace officer who was preventing or attempting to prevent the commission of an offence or what that person believed to be an offence.
A person may also be considered a victim of a crime even if he or she is not killed or injured. For example, a person who suffers material harm while trying to lawfully prevent a crime from occurring may also be considered a victim in the eyes of the law.
What are the requirements for obtaining crime victim compensation?
As a crime victim, it is possible to receive compensation and a range of other services under the Crime Victims Compensation Act. To access these benefits, you will need to complete a formal application.
Certain eligibility requirements must be met. These conditions include criteria related to the criminal act committed and the victim themselves. It is important to understand these conditions and eligibility criteria so that you can receive the assistance you need.
In order for a victim to be eligible for IVAC benefits, the crime causing the injury or harm must have been committed in Quebec (on or after March 1, 1972).
The crime must also have been a crime against the person. Property offences (e.g. fraud) are excluded.
To be eligible for IVAC benefits, a victim must also meet certain eligibility requirements.
- The applicant must provide documentation proving that the criminal act described in the application took place. This documentation must present factual evidence, at least to a reasonable degree. The application must be made within the statutory time limit, i.e. within two years of the incident.
- The victim must also demonstrate the existence of a physical injury, a psychological injury or a death resulting directly from the criminal act. They must provide a document that specifies the nature of these injuries and how they are the direct result of the criminal act.
- It is important to mention that the victim is not obliged to file a complaint against his or her aggressor in order to be eligible for IVAC benefits. A victim can be compensated even if the aggressor is not identified, prosecuted or found guilty following criminal proceedings.
How do I file a claim with IVAC?
The main steps you will need to take to obtain compensation from IVAC are as follows:
1. File a claim
The process of applying for compensation from the Crime Victims Compensation Act begins with providing all required documents and information. You will need to file these documents with IVAC no later than two years after the victim’s injury or death.
Although every victim of a crime has the right to receive compensation from IVAC, it can be difficult for victims to have their rights recognized due to the complexity of the compensation application process. Our Montreal victim compensation lawyers can represent you and help you obtain a favourable decision from IVAC.
2. Support from IVAC
If your application for compensation meets the criteria set out in the Crime Victims Compensation Act and is approved, a representative from IVAC will contact you to assess your needs.
This officer will inform you of what type of compensation they can offer you. In exceptional cases, an in-person meeting may be required.
3. Analysis of the case
Following your claim, IVAC will conduct a careful analysis of your file. They will assess the relationship between the crime and the injury and determine the most appropriate plan for the care and treatment required.
The IVAC representative will stay in touch with you throughout the process and keep you informed of the decisions being made regarding your case and to ensure that the case plan is appropriate for your needs, abilities and health status.
4. Assessment of injury
The severity of the injury is assessed based on its impact on the victim’s daily life and ability to perform regular tasks and work activities. This assessment is performed by the treating physician, the IVAC medical office or an expert physician using the anatomicophysiological deficiencies (APD) scale.
If the injury has caused permanent disability, the victim is entitled to receive compensation to cover the costs associated with the disability, such as medical care and lost earnings. Permanent disability benefits are assessed based on the impact on the victim’s daily life, ability to work and usual activities.
What compensation is available for crime victims?
IVAC programs offer a wide variety of benefits and services to victims of crime.
Temporary Total Disability (TTD)
The victim may receive an amount of money if he or she is unable to work due to the injuries caused by the event. The amount awarded is based on the victim’s actual wages.
Such compensation may also be paid if the victim is unable to perform the majority of his or her daily activities or to study.
Permanent Disability (PD)
A permanent disability is defined as an anatomicophysiological deficit (APD) or related side-effects that cause the victim to be unable to return to work.
The compensation for permanent disability can be paid in the form of a monthly annuity or a capital sum.
Allowance for children born as a result of sexual assault
Compensation may be paid to the child’s mother or legal guardian for the support of a child born as the result of a sexual assault.
The amount of the benefit is based on the mother’s annual income at the time of the assault. Payments cease when the child reaches the age of 18 if the child is not disabled, but may continue until age 25 if the child is a full-time student.
Other possible forms of compensation for crime victims
Other types of benefits, services, and programs for which victims of crime may be eligible include:
- Medical assistance expenses
- Dental expenses
- Clothing replacement
- Material damages
- Glasses replacement
- Acquisition of glasses
- Psychological follow-up
- Rehabilitation measures
- Moving expenses and protective measures
- Childcare expenses
- Home maintenance expenses
- Vocational rehabilitation measures and programs
- Economic Stabilization Program
- Social Stabilization Program
- Assistance to relatives
Relatives of victims of crime and rescuers may also be eligible for compensation
In the specific situation in which the victim of a crime dies, his or her family or dependents may be eligible to receive compensation and support from IVAC.
A rescuer may also be eligible for compensation from IVAC. By rescuer, the law refers to a person who intervenes to provide voluntary assistance to someone whose life or physical integrity is in danger.
This means that a person who suffers serious injuries while responding to a fire could receive IVAC benefits.
Bégin Avocat helps victims of crime obtain compensation
Suffering as a victim of crime is a difficult thing to overcome. It is important to assert your rights so that you are compensated accordingly. Unfortunately, the steps that need to be taken to apply for compensation can quickly become very complex for a person who is not familiar with this type of file.
At Bégin Avocat, our administratives lawyers are here to help you make your clai. In addition to taking care of the administrative steps involved, we also offer our moral support.
Note that when you file a claim with the IVAC, you can also sue your aggressor for civil liability, under certain conditions.
Contact us to find out more about how we can take charge of your case. We will evaluate the situation with you and propose a personalized approach.