Criminal Injuries Compensation Board closes: Victim Quick Response Program (VQRP) starts October 1

ung woman looking downcast

Anyone wishing to make a claim for compensation under the CICB must submit their application by September 30th. After this date, some claims can be made to the Victim Quick Response Program (VQRP+).

What is the CICB?

Ontario’s Criminal Injuries Compensation Board (CICB), has been a tribunal – independent of government – that accepts applications from victims of violent crime and determines if they should receive financial compensation for their injuries, both physical and psychological. Victims could receive up to $30,000 as a one-time payment as well as up to $1,000/month to a total of $365,000 in ongoing payments.

An award from the CICB covered such costs as medical and dental treatment and therapy, loss of income, support for a child born as the result of a sexual assault, funeral expenses and counselling as well as compensation for pain and suffering.

Importantly, a victim of violent crime could make a successful application to the CICB whether or not they reported the crime to the police, whether or not a charge was laid and whether or not, if a charge was laid, the accused was found guilty.

While applications for compensation had to be made within two years of the crime taking place, this limitation was waived routinely for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.

What is the Victim Quick Response Program?

As of October 1, 2019, the VQRP will replace the CIBC.

Under the VQRP, direct victims, immediate family members and, in some cases, witnesses of serious assaults, sexual abuse, homicide or attempted murder, intimate partner violence, human trafficking and hate crimes can apply for financial assistance with immediate post-crime needs.

The applicant must:

  • have no financial resources of their own
  • report the crime to the police
  • apply for financial assistance within 45 days for most costs and within six months for short-term counselling.

There also must be no publicly funded programs available to assist applicants.

The VQRP is administered across the province through police Victim Service agencies.

VQRP can assist a survivor with immediate expenses such as funeral costs, crime scene clean-up, emergency repairs to their home and limited short-term counselling. There is no compensation for pain and suffering.

The financial assistance is limited to a maximum of:

  • $5,000 for funeral expenses
  • $1,500 for crime scene clean-up
  • $1,000 for emergency repairs
  • $1,000 for short-term counselling

What about sexual assault?

Sexual assault is not listed explicitly as one of the crimes covered by VQRP. The requirement to report through a police station will mean few survivors of sexual assault even consider making an application. The same is true for the requirement to report within 45 days or 6 months – many survivors of sexual assault are not ready to take any steps for many months or even years after they have been assaulted.

It may be the case that survivors of violent crime will no longer have to complete a long application form, which could be a traumatizing experience, but it is also the case that they will receive far less money, especially survivors of adult sexual assault.

Even for a survivor who does make an application, there is little waiting for her at the end of this expedited process. One of the greatest strengths of the CICB awards was that they could cover ongoing counselling costs for the many years required by survivors of sexual assault who are dealing with trauma.