In Quebec, under the Crime Victims Compensation Act, victims of crime may be eligible for compensation for the physical, psychological or material damages they have suffered.
In this article, our crime victims’ rights lawyers explain the important points of the Crime Victims Compensation Act (IVAC).
Who is considered a victim under the Act?
According to the Crime Victims Compensation Act, a crime victim is a person who is killed or injured in Quebec in one of the following circumstances:
- by reason of the act or omission of any other person occurring in or resulting directly from the commission of a criminal offence (certain sections of the Criminal Code are specified);
- while lawfully arresting or attempting to arrest an offender or suspected offender or assisting a peace officer making an arrest;
- while lawfully preventing or attempting to prevent the commission of an offence or suspected offence, or assisting a peace officer preventing or attempting to prevent the commission of an offence or suspected offence.
A person may also be considered a victim of crime if they are not killed or injured but incur material damage while trying to legally prevent a crime.
A crime victim may be entitled to a range of benefits and services under the Crime Victims Compensation Act. To obtain these, they must submit an application for benefits.
However, both the criminal offence and the victim must meet certain eligibility criteria.
The criminal offence
In order for a victim to be eligible for benefits under the Act, the criminal offence that caused the injury or damage must be committed in Quebec (as of March 1, 1972).
The offence must also be a crime committed against a person. Offences against property (e.g. fraud) are excluded.
There are also certain eligibility criteria for victims who wish to obtain IVAC benefits.
First of all, they must provide documentation to substantiate the criminal offence described in the application. The evidence must establish the facts to a reasonable degree. The application must be submitted within the time frame established by the Act, i.e. within the two years following the incident.
The victim must also prove the existence of a physical injury, mental trauma or death directly caused by the criminal offence and provide a document that specifies the nature of the damage.
It is important to note, however, that the victim does not have to file a complaint against the perpetrator in order to be eligible for IVAC benefits. Also, a victim can be compensated even if the perpetrator is not identified, prosecuted or found guilty following criminal proceedings.
Benefits available to crime victims
The IVAC offers a wide variety of benefits and services for crime victims.
Temporary total disability (TTD) benefits
Victims may receive compensation if they are temporarily unable to work due to the injuries caused by the incident. The amount provided is based on the victim’s salary.
Victims may also receive compensation if they are rendered incapable of studying or performing most of their usual activities.
Permanent disability (PD) benefits
Permanent disability is determined based on the victim’s anatomicophysiological deficits or sequelae and their inability to return to work.
Permanent disability compensation can be paid monthly or as a lump sum.
Benefit for children born as a result of sexual assault
The mother or legal guardian may receive benefits to care for a child born as a result of sexual assault.
The amount is based on the mother’s annual income at the time of the assault. Payments cease at age 18 if the child is not disabled, but may continue until age 25 if the child is studying full time.
Other types of compensation for crime victims
Here are other types of benefits, services and programs that crime victims may be eligible for:
- Medical expenses
- Dental expenses
- Clothing replacement
- Compensation for material damage
- Glasses replacement
- Purchase of glasses
- Psychological expenses
- Moving costs and protection measures
- Childcare costs
- Home maintenance expenses
- Vocational rehabilitation programs and measures
- Economic stabilization program
- Social stabilization program
- Assistance for close relations
Rescuers and close relations of crime victims may also be eligible for compensation
When a crime victim dies, their family or dependents may be eligible for compensation from the IVAC.
Rescuers may also be entitled to receive IVAC benefits. A rescuer is defined by law as a person who voluntarily intervenes to assist someone whose life or physical integrity is in danger.
For example, someone who suffers serious injuries while trying to get someone else out of a burning building could receive IVAC benefits.
Bégin Avocat helps crime victims get compensation
Being a victim of a crime is a difficult ordeal to overcome. It’s important to assert your rights so that you can be compensated accordingly. However, the steps to follow to obtain compensation can prove complex and challenging for those who are unfamiliar with the process.
Bégin Avocat is here to help you claim compensation from the authorities. We can free you from the administrative steps involved and provide moral support.
Furthermore, when you submit an application for benefits to the IVAC, you can also sue the perpetrator for civil liability under certain conditions.
Contact us to find out more about how we can help you. We will assess your situation, discuss it with you and propose a personalized approach.