An Act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (accountability of offenders)

This bill was last introduced in the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in August 2015.

This bill was previously introduced in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session.

Sponsor

Guy Lauzon  Conservative

Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)

Status

In committee (Senate), as of Feb. 5, 2014
(This bill did not become law.)

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment amends the Corrections and Conditional Release Act to provide that any monetary amount awarded to an offender pursuant to a legal action or proceeding against Her Majesty in right of Canada be paid to victims and other designated beneficiaries.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Votes

Oct. 31, 2012 Passed That the Bill be now read a third time and do pass.
Sept. 26, 2012 Passed That Bill C-350, in Clause 2, be amended by replacing line 6 on page 2 with the following: “result of an order for maintenance, alimony or family financial support”
March 28, 2012 Passed That the Bill be now read a second time and referred to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security.

May 8th, 2012 / 4:50 p.m.
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NDP

John Rafferty NDP Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Thank you, Chair.

Thank you both for being here today.

I have a question that is related to comments by previous witnesses. You were here earlier for the witness before you. He said Bill C-350 causes more trouble than it solves. Would that be your learned opinion of this particular bill?

May 8th, 2012 / 4:25 p.m.
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NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I would also like to thank Ms. Kane and Ms. Lieff for being with us today to discuss Bill C-350.

I have many questions about the constitutional side of all this, but I have to restrain myself.

I am going to ask you the following questions right off the bat. Do you find this bill too vague? Does it have flaws?

May 8th, 2012 / 4:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Yes, and I think that's where we've seen the challenge when we're talking about offenders.

When we're talking about people who aren't offenders and who are living in general society, there are ways for spousal support and child support to be collected. We've heard some conflicting testimony, but I think, by and large, what we've heard, unfortunately, is that there is no mechanism for offenders to be forced specifically to pay child support, spousal support, and then it goes on. We heard testimony in terms of restitution or other outstanding moneys that are owed.

Here's another question on something that we've heard come up as well. One of the witnesses we had, Mr. Toller from CSC, mentioned that if legal counsel determined there was a legal basis to consider that CSC might be liable, and if they've incurred damages, then an out-of-court settlement might be reached. Do you know whether out-of-court settlements would be included in the monetary awards that are affected by Bill C-350?

May 8th, 2012 / 4:20 p.m.
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NDP

The Vice-Chair NDP Randall Garrison

Welcome to our witnesses today. We have with us on Bill C-350, from the Department of Justice, Catherine Kane, the director general and senior general counsel of the criminal law policy section, and Ms. Elissa Lieff, the senior general counsel of the family, children, and youth section. Thank you very much for appearing on short notice. We do appreciate that.

I understand that you may wish to make only brief or no opening statements, so I leave that in your hands.

May 8th, 2012 / 4:15 p.m.
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Correctional Investigator, Office of the Correctional Investigator

Howard Sapers

In fact, it may be possible to contemplate a list of awards that should be excluded from any scheme contemplated under Bill C-350, and you could attach that list as a schedule to the act. You could create a schedule relating to the new subsection 78(1) and then review that schedule from time to time. Certainly, residential school claims or, perhaps, claims arising out of human rights complaints are things you may want to exclude.

May 8th, 2012 / 3:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

The challenge that I heard you articulate was more in terms of the CSC. I think you said that Bill C-350 would effectively require CSC to establish a tracking system to administer debts that are owed. Is that your main concern?

As I read the bill, I see that if an award is made from the federal government to an offender, an inmate, this bill lays out who would be paid first, second, third, and fourth, and when all of these things were paid out, then the remaining moneys would go to the offender.

I'm seeing the Government of Canada, the crown, paying out the money, but what you're saying is that as the bill reads right now, it would be up to CSC to determine who else is owed money in this list of people who would get paid before the offender would. So you're seeing this as a problem because now CSC has to find out whom the offender owes money to. Is that correct?

May 8th, 2012 / 3:30 p.m.
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Howard Sapers Correctional Investigator, Office of the Correctional Investigator

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. It is a pleasure to be back.

I actually have very brief opening comments today, but I do appreciate the opportunity to appear before the committee to discuss Bill C-350. Today I am joined by Marie-France Kingsley, who is the director of investigations for the Office of the Correctional Investigator.

Though I will be brief in my remarks, I will raise some questions and concerns that we have noted regarding the application, scope and potential administration of Bill C-350, but I do want to declare my limitations at the outset. My office has no expertise in the prioritization of creditors or debt recovery mechanisms. I cannot speak to issues raised by this bill concerning jurisdictional matters or jurisdictional competence, and it is beyond my capacity to comment on matters of constitutionality, or even the compellability of forcing payments in the order of precedence contemplated by Bill C-350.

Hopefully, however, I can be of some assistance in bringing some insight into more practical matters that speak to the capacity and ability of a federal inmate to repay outstanding monetary debts, restitution orders, or victim fine surcharges and still meet their obligations to society while serving a sentence in a federal penitentiary.

As members know, Bill C-350 sets out priorities for debt repayment in cases when an offender is legally entitled to a monetary award. There are current mechanisms in place that allow Correctional Services Canada to register known restitutions and fines levied by the courts against federal offenders. Thousands of such registrations are currently on file. However, obligations arising from civil proceedings, creditors, and even spousal or child support payments, are not routinely noted in CSC's records. Bill C-350 would effectively require Correctional Services Canada to establish a tracking system to administer child or spousal support orders, as well as other debts owed as a result of an award by a court of competent jurisdiction.

It is not clear to me how such a registry would be created, or how much it would cost to implement or maintain. I do question whether we want or expect the federal correctional authority to be mandated to become part of a debt collection scheme. In fact, should it even be CSC's job to verify existing civil debts or other obligations, court orders, or settlements? What if a mistake is made? What if an appeal or variance is granted post warrant expiry? Who would be held accountable or liable? How would creditors register? In the case of debt repayment, is it up to CSC to decide what creditor gets paid first and in what order? One thing is certain, the cost and complexity of administering such a registry can be expected to be significant.

I understand that the need for this bill was based on a couple of high-profile cases. I appreciate that there may be a current impairment in recovering or garnishing monetary awards that may have been received by an offender under federal custody as a result of a legal action or proceeding by a federal court, tribunal, or agency. However, my experience suggests that the publicity surrounding such cases can be significant enough to likely alert any creditors. As we know, creditors usually act very quickly to intercept monetary awards before they can be disposed of by other means.

I am not certain that the creation of a complex and potentially expensive registry is the most efficient or effective way to deal with a few high-profile awards, much less meet court-ordered restitution arrangements, including child or spousal support obligations. In any event, the great majority of offenders in federal custody have very little money and limited capacity to earn while incarcerated. An elaborate recovery scheme is not likely to provide much satisfaction to victims as most debts will likely remain unpaid. Even the courts recognize these realities when imposing fines or making victim restitution orders or surcharges. This is an unfortunate reality, but perhaps also an opportunity to make substantive suggestions for reform.

Let me provide some context. I want to talk for a minute about the capacity of inmates to repay debts or meet ongoing family obligations while serving a federal sentence.

The maximum an offender can earn in a federal penitentiary while gainfully employed was set at $6.90 per day in 1981. It remains the same rate today, over 30 years later, and it has never been adjusted for the cost of living for inflation. Inmates in federal institutions are provided basic institutional clothing and personal hygiene products. Anything over and above that must be purchased by the inmate with their own money.

An established list of goods for purchase is available to the inmate population at a 10% profit margin. In 1981 when the rate of pay was established, a standard basket of canteen items could be purchased for $8.49. By 2005 that same basket of goods was estimated to cost $61.59, representing a 725% increase. Over the past three years, reductions in non-essential health care services previously provided by the Correctional Service has placed an additional burden requiring non-prescription items, such as Tylenol or medicated shampoo, to be purchased through the inmate canteen. For example, a 100 millilitre bottle of Buckley's cough syrup sells for $7.58 inside, more than one day's wages.

Other potential deductions from offender pay include institutional fines, inmate welfare committee funds, social events, and room and board. The top earners who receive overtime, incentive pay, or supplemental income, such as pension payments, are subject to pay for room and board while incarcerated. This amount is not to exceed $5 per day or $50 per every 14-day pay period.

In addition, all inmates must contribute to the inmate welfare fund. These expenses add up to $6 per 14-day pay period and cover things such as television and cable costs, as well as a variety of inmate welfare committee disbursements for organized activities for offenders, as well as inmate donations to charitable groups and legal fees for group actions.

My point here is simply to say that crime does not, in fact, pay. Prison rarely captures the affluent. Most offenders have no savings, and their earning capacity inside a federal institution is extremely limited. There seems little point in diverting earnings that, at best, will only minimally support release. It is not unusual for a released offender to be facing thousands of dollars of accumulated debt and only limited employment opportunities.

The issue that Bill C-350 addresses is an important one. Part of an offender's reintegration should include the satisfaction of debts to the best of their ability. My concern is that the suggested approach may prove both unworkable and counterproductive.

Thank you once again for the invitation to meet with you today. I look forward to your questions.

May 3rd, 2012 / 4:45 p.m.
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NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

I want to thank our guest for appearing before the committee on Bill C-350.

My questions are for Ms. Pate because I think it is important to hear about women offenders who are in jail.

In your opinion, does Bill C-350 address a situation that is common among women?

May 3rd, 2012 / 4:40 p.m.
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Vice-President, Canadian Prison Law Association

Stephen Fineberg

—I had an opportunity to look at the transcript of Mr. Toller's testimony from yesterday. I think Mr. Toller was trying to make a distinction between the way the Correctional Service operates now and the way the Correctional Service would have to operate if Bill C-350 were enacted. What he was telling you was that currently the Correctional Service is not able to seize the money or divert the money. They can't do anything with the money. They can't act on a civil debt the prisoner has, even if they are aware of the civil debt.

What they do through the correctional plan is to encourage as much as possible. They encourage people to assume responsibility for their behaviour and their debts. That's what he was trying to say. I do not believe he was telling you that these moneys cannot be seized. He was saying that the Correctional Service has no authority to seize the money. He was not telling you that the civil mechanism for acting on orders does not apply to federal prisoners. That's my understanding of his testimony.

May 3rd, 2012 / 4:35 p.m.
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Vice-President, Canadian Prison Law Association

Stephen Fineberg

What we have said thus far is in reaction to the bill's intention. Our criticisms have presumed that the provisions as drafted will operate to create the proposed recovery system. But will they?

We note that the whole of the proposed section 78.1 is made conditional on satisfaction of its subsection (3):

In making payments under this section, Her Majesty is not required to take into account any judgment or order of which Her Majesty has no actual knowledge at the time the payment is made.

The very deliberate effect of that measure is to make this payment scheme operational only when the orders and judgments contemplated have been duly filed or registered in some manner that formally notifies Her Majesty in right of Canada of their existence. It could hardly be otherwise. No one should expect the administrator of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal to cut a cheque and forward it to a faceless individual whose claim to be a creditor is communicated through a mere letter accompanied by a copy of a punitive court order that may or may not be genuine.

Keeping the knowledge requirement in mind, we turn to the proposed paragraph (a), which refers to amounts owed by an offender pursuant to a spousal or child support order. We expect this provision will be without effect. Recovery for orders such as these is already managed by administrative systems established and controlled by provincial legislatures acting within their jurisdiction. In every province and territory there exists a maintenance enforcement branch whose support orders are filed. Such orders are routinely issued with a clause requiring that support payments be directed not to the individual creditor but to the maintenance enforcement branch.

The maintenance enforcement branch, in turn, without any assistance from Bill C-350 , files the support order with all appropriate bodies, including federal tribunals, thereby garnishing not only wages but also monetary awards, both provincial and federal. The action contemplated at paragraph (a) is already taking place through a well-defined and comprehensive structure equally accessible to all creditors, a structure, we remind you, that is already funded. One sees that the proposed offender recovery scheme for support orders is entirely redundant, if not pernicious.

May 3rd, 2012 / 4:25 p.m.
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Vice-President, Canadian Prison Law Association

Stephen Fineberg

The Canadian Prison Law Association thanks you for the opportunity to appear on this bill.

We're a national organization of prison law practitioners from across the country whose purpose is to advocate on behalf of incarcerated persons and promote the rule of law as it affects the prison community. Since our founding in 1985, it has been our privilege to appear before this and other committees of Parliament on matters affecting the prison law environment.

I should mention that while our members are legal professionals, all activities undertaken on behalf of the CPLA are performed on a voluntary basis.

Our organization has objections to Bill C-350 based on principle and law. We are aware of and somewhat resigned to those many restrictions and irritants which consignment to a federal institution lawfully imposes on our clients and their incarcerated peers, yet the penalty unexpectedly proposed by Bill C-350 is of a kind unrelated to the rest. It is difficult to imagine that the sentencing judge, with one eye on the facts and the other on proper sentencing principles, would have anticipated, much less intended, the imposition of special rules for the garnishment of monetary awards, especially as the sanctioned criminal behaviour likely hasn't the slightest connection to the civil ill this legislation wants to cure.

Do not think that we stand against the payment of spousal and child support orders, or the payment of restitution, or the satisfaction of monetary judgments won in the civil courts. What we deplore is the conferral on deserving creditors of a new statutory advantage which is proferred only where and because their adversary is a federal prisoner. If there exists compelling reasons for offenders to respect court-ordered payments, it is not because an individual has committed a robbery, or an assault, or a drug offence; it is for exactly the same good reasons that apply to every other Canadian who is the subject of a court order. The statutory pressure on offenders to comply with orders should be neither less nor greater than that on the rest of the public. To operate otherwise would be to head down the road to second-class citizenship with second-class civil rights.

We must not forget that there was a time when conviction brought with it civil death, the extinction of all civil and property rights. The damaging disparity of the offender's status and that of the ordinary citizen could not have been more complete, but Canadian society has steadily moved away from that antiquated and counterproductive notion.

In 1906 the most drastic features of civil death were swept away in Quebec through the action of legislators like yourselves. In the rest of Canada the legislatures took action 14 years earlier. Still, the courts were slow to admit that offenders had rights that could be violated by unfair decisions by penitentiary authorities.

The Supreme Court decision in Solosky v. the Queen, in 1979, was a turning point, crystallizing the new understanding that “a person confined to prison retains ail of his civil rights, other than those expressly or impliedly taken away from him by law”.

Today this concept is built into the Corrections and Conditional Release Act itself, which reads at paragraph 4(d), as amended by Bill C-10:

(d) offenders retain the rights of all members of society except those that are, as a consequence of the sentence, lawfully and necessarily removed or restricted;

Clearly, that concept does not endorse a prejudicial garnishment scheme necessitated by neither sentencing principles nor the constraining barriers of bricks and bars.

Should the proposed rules be adopted, would this return Canadian offenders to the cruel and discredited condition of civil death? Obviously not, but it would be a step backward in that direction, and if it should serve to encourage additional measures that further degrade the civil status of offenders, it would be part of a societal tragedy.

We wish to refer the committee to the possibility that this adverse treatment reserved for federal offenders would violate section 15 of the charter, which prohibits discriminatory measures based on membership in a disadvantaged group. Of course, for a section 15 challenge to succeed the courts would have to recognize offenders, or at least federal offenders, as a group contemplated by that section.

Admittedly, this position was rejected in the Sauvé case by the Federal Court of Appeal, and subsequently by four justices of the Supreme Court, but we hasten to remind you that that opinion is found in a minority decision. That was in 2002. We note that the majority in the Sauvé case declined to rule on the application of section 15 to prisoners, leaving the door open for a differently constituted court to rally to our position, which we respectfully submit will one day prove to be the right one.

If the attack on Bill C-350 on equality grounds should have the look of a viable but uphill battle, the balance is different where the sections 91 and 92 debate is concerned. Here, we think it is for the bill's defenders to demonstrate why this apparent federal invasion of provincial jurisdiction would not be struck down. The question warrants a close examination by experts more focused than we are on the issues raised by section 91 and 92 conflicts, or, to be more specific, conflicts between Parliament's legislative authority over penitentiaries and the provincial legislatures' jurisdiction over matters related to the administration of justice and property and civil rights.

Given this bill's overt duplication of at least some provincial activity, before proceeding to enactment of Bill C-350 it surely would be prudent to hear from the provincial attorneys general, as they are among the interested parties who might be provoked to challenge your jurisdiction in the courts.

Without waiting for expert opinion, however, we feel comfortable stating that Bill C-350 wants to create rules governing matters in the provincial domain, and furthermore risks impairing the provincial scheme already controlling execution of court orders against all assets. The new specialized regime would create confusion for creditors faced with two sets of rules and create two classes of creditors, conferring an unfair advantage on those fortunate enough to have federal offenders as their debtors. One is forced to wonder if the new selective enforcement possibilities against federal offenders will work an even greater mischief by inspiring an interest on the part of some creditors in seeing their debtors receive a federal sentence.

We have said that we have no disagreement with legal rules that facilitate creditors' exercise of their civil and property rights. We imagine the author of this bill shares that position. Why, then, does he not seek to assist all the deserving creditors, instead of a small minority of them? The answer, of course, is that he understands this is beyond your competence as federal legislators. It is a provincial matter for your provincial counterparts, and that is how the execution of court orders and judgments should be handled.

We wonder as well if anyone has examined the financial burden of setting up a comprehensive registry of awards and judgments and orders issued against offenders and of federal awards of ail kinds in offenders' favour. Or is Mr. Lauzon's proposal to hand Correctional Service Canada, or some other branch of the federal bureaucracy, the assignment and discover later what the set-up and annual costs will be?

Bill C-350 pits itself not only against provincial legislative and administrative efforts, it seeks to undermine Correctional Service Canada's own operations. One remembers that Bill C-10 has recently added section 15.1 to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, instructing wardens to ensure that a correctional plan is established for all offenders, the goal of which is to bring about their rehabilitation and reintegration on release as law-abiding citizens. To that end, each correctional plan must contain “objectives for the offender's behaviour, including ... (iii) the meeting of their court-ordered obligations, including restitution to victims or child support”. Offenders' progress toward meeting these objectives is to have an impact on transfer and parole decisions.

The correctional plan is at the heart of Correctional Services Canada's program to move the prison population toward responsible attitudes that it is hoped will persist after release. I assume the inclusion of court-ordered obligations in the plan was not done without some thought. CSC does not want court orders satisfied despite the offender's opposition. That would defeat the goal of bringing offenders to understand and accept the rightness of responsible behaviour toward their dependants and creditors. Bill C-350 will pre-empt and frustrate CSC's mandate in this regard, one that was just conferred by Bill C-10.

May 3rd, 2012 / 3:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Thank you.

My time is limited, so I'm going to bring it back to Bill C-350. I appreciate, as you said, there may be more that we can do, certainly on the specific issue of restitution. I'm glad to hear that you support the spirit and what Bill C-350 does, even if it's a small step forward, telling victims that the restitution they've been awarded should come to them, and that we're starting the process.

The other part that the bill addresses quite clearly is the outstanding amounts owed to children and spouses of offenders. Do you do any work with the families of offenders, given the fact that they're also victims of crime?

May 3rd, 2012 / 3:40 p.m.
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President, International Organization for Victim Assistance

Dr. Irvin Waller

I think it's very clear that we don't have a system where the needs of victims are taken into consideration in a just and fair way. It's a surprise for victims when they go through the criminal justice process and find that the judge does not give due consideration to restitution. They suddenly find that the offender who was incarcerated is being released without any consideration given to restitution.

You're probably aware of the triple murder in the McDonald's in 1992. One of the offenders inherited some money and is now a multi-millionaire. So three people are dead, one person is disabled, and the parole process hasn't taken into account in any way whether this person is making restitution. I think that's a fairly extreme case, but nevertheless it's an important case that took place, and is taking place in Canada today.

I think victims are looking for some sort of justice from the criminal justice process. There are examples, like France and the International Criminal Court, where victims actually have standing and are able to talk about personal safety, restitution, and justice, and where restitution is ordered more often.

If you go back to cases like Olson, in those days we used to talk about the Son of Sam legislation. I'm not sure if you're familiar with that. A 2001 variation in New York State shows this is a model of what would happen.

One of the problems with Bill C-350 is that it's quite limited. We really need to set up a process whereby victims can sue an offender and get an order that is in some way enforceable. The Son of Sam legislation in New York State is one way of doing it, and there are other ways of doing it.

May 3rd, 2012 / 3:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Thanks very much, Mr. Chair.

Thank you, Dr. Waller, for being here, and thank you for the work you do advocating for victims.

I can say emphatically that on this side of the table—and I believe on both sides of the table—we are concerned with the way victims have been disregarded in many ways over the last many years under certain criminal justice regimes. What we're trying to do as the Conservative government is bring the focus back to victims. We've appointed the ombudsman for victims and created the role. There are a number of other initiatives we're doing, so it's really good to hear.... I'm sure you have a broad range of suggestions and things you would like to talk about.

I'm going to focus specifically on Bill C-350. I'm glad to hear that you support it. I want to ask you a couple of questions on your research and the work you've done with victims.

Can you explain how, for a victim to see an offender receiving money, especially when it's from the federal government, which is what this bill deals with.... If an offender is awarded funds from the federal government and is not obligated to pay the restitution that has been awarded and ruled on by a judge, can you talk about what that does to a victim, even in terms of re-victimizing?

Can you differentiate—if there is a difference—between victims of property crime, versus victims of violent crime?

May 3rd, 2012 / 3:30 p.m.
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Dr. Irvin Waller President, International Organization for Victim Assistance

Thank you for that introduction and for the opportunity to speak to crime victim issues in front of this committee.

I want to add to the introduction two or three things that I think are relevant to what I'm going to say.

I was involved in a major study in the seventies on the needs of crime victims and how we could meet those needs. One of the things clearly identified in that study was their need for restitution. I was also on the Hugessen committee that in 1973 brought victims and police officers onto the National Parole Board, something that continues to this day.

The award that you mentioned was for my role in getting the UN General Assembly to agree to human rights standards for crime victims. Those standards are very important for this committee to look at.

I'm going to be really reinforcing what the federal ombudsman on victim issues told you earlier, but I'm going to go a bit beyond what she told you and say that I think we need a lot more than is in Bill C-350 and a lot more than she called for to ensure that the needs of victims for reparation are met through restitution in this country, and at a level that meets international standards.

I want to make a more general point that the situation of crime victims in this country is way behind that of comparable jurisdictions, jurisdictions such as the United States, France, or Australia. That's not just my opinion, that's the opinion of several committees. The committee in 1989 that was chaired by David Daubney made a series of recommendations in restitution. The committee report “Victims' Rights - A voice, not a veto” in 1998-1999 made a series of recommendations about victims, most of which were ignored or implemented in a very unsatisfactory way.

If you look at what has happened in Ontario, which is the only place we've really had a serious look recently at what happens for crime victims, the Ontario ombudsman wrote a report that said the compensation system in Ontario, not the restitution system, was adding insult to injury.

In response to that report, Roy McMurtry, recently retired Chief Justice of Ontario, who will be known to all of you, completed a report making recommendations. Those recommendations used the UN standards from 1985. They talked about what the role of police should be to inform victims more about what is available. And they talked about the importance of having an advocate at the provincial level to get action.

Another important critic has been the Prime Minister's Office, which in the material prior to Bill C-10 talked about the damage that is done to victims by crime in this country, talked about the famous 83% of $100 billion. I prefer talking about $83 billion. That's actually the figure that comes from Justice Canada. I think it's a reasonable figure. It is, of course, the damage done to adult victims. It doesn't include victims under the age of 15. And $83 billion is a very important figure for what I'm going to have to say.

The Prime Minister's Office also talked about the abysmal proportion of victims who report to the police in this country, 31%. And if you look at sexual assault, it's actually only 8%. This is way below any comparable country, such as the United States or the United Kingdom. I think we have to ask ourselves very much why so few victims in this country are going to the police. They're very professional police, very highly paid police. But it is a very low proportion.

If we do, in fact, scratch at those figures to understand why, what we see is that victims of property crime are going to police because they expect some sort of reparation. That could include restitution, but it could include also other ways of paying back, which would include, of course, insurance.

If we look at victims of violent crime, then we see what they want is the offender stopped, and I want to emphasize “stopped”. I didn't say “punished”, I said “stopped”. It's actually a relatively small proportion who are going for some very heavy penalties.

It's a serious situation, and I hope your committee will choose to encourage not only the adoption of something along the lines of Bill C-350, but much more serious attention to meeting the needs of victims, in terms of their losses, and the ways in which those losses can be repaired.

My third point basically relates to international standards. We have, since 1985—Canada of course was a leader in getting those adopted—UN standards, and within those there are basically five issues. One of those issues is restitution for the victim from the offender.

In your introduction, sir, you mentioned the much later guidelines, around 2003, that have been adopted by ECOSOC, in relation to child victims. Those also refer to restitution.

Both of those documents have in the resolution or in the actual documents themselves a heavy emphasis on prevention. This country needs to reduce the $83 billion in harm to victims, and the way to do that is to invest in what is well established and well known and would reduce violence and property crime, everything from examples like Winnipeg, which reduced car theft by 87% within three years, to the Alberta strategy, where comprehensive matching of smart enforcement with smart treatment with smart prevention has been going now for nearly four or five years, with a plan and with evaluation and with the driving energy of the Alberta strategy being reducing harm to victims.

Some of the other international standards that I think your committee needs to look at are those, of course, of western Europe. The European Union has a framework decision from 2001, and is studying a directive at the moment, and those refer to restitution. Victims are represented with legal aid in France in the court process, and roughly 50% of all cases in France are resolved by the payment of restitution from the offender to the victim and there is no other action taken. This is undoubtedly a model for us. It's the model that influenced the International Criminal Court, of which Canada is a strong supporter, where victims are represented by legally aided lawyers.

The U.S. has a range of different things that relate to restitution. In California, for instance, their corrections system monitors the restitution orders, it takes payments on the minimal amounts that prisoners earn in prison, and it also takes payments out of what prisoners might get if they get a paying job as part of their sentence. There are other U.S. states that have something similar. Florida, for instance, has something similar. Vermont, just south of the border, actually pays restitution up to about $2,000, I believe, and then collects from the offender. So there are a number of interesting options within the U.S.

Probably the most important is the Justice For All Act. As you may or may not be aware, the current Vice-President of the United States has been the lead on three major pieces of legislation.

The Victims of Crime Act in 1984 puts about $1 billion into victim assistance and compensation every year by using a victim fine surcharge, which is way more advanced than ours, because it is applied not just to individuals but companies. Pfizer, for instance, paid a $1.3 billion fine that went into that.

Vice-President Biden also supported the Violence Against Women Act, a very important act, because not only does this look at what responses there should be to victims, it also looks at prevention and evaluates it.