The “significant” victims of the crime ombudsman’s work are still vacant nine months later


The federal government is currently free to monitor the rights of major victims for more than nine months.

Since October 1, there has been no federal ombudsman for victims of crime, and the Justice Department only started the application process for this job at the end of February.

Pierre Hugh Boisvenu, a conservative senator and advocate for the rights of long-time victims, has recently criticized the delay in occupying a “significant” position.

Boisvenu told the House of Commons Committee in June that the ombudsman may have screamed at the victim’s family during an ongoing investigation into the 2020 Nova Scotia mass shootings.

“Currently, no ombudsman conveys the anger of the victim’s family and opposes the infringement of their rights,” he said.

At the same hearing, Jennifer Gold of the Ontario Women’s Law Association called for the ombudsman to be found “quickly.”

Gold said the office needs to be expanded to better monitor the application of the 2015 Victims Bill of Rights aimed at summarizing and strengthening the rights available to victims within the criminal justice system. rice field.

“It’s great to write all these great things, but if it’s not actually seen, and it’s not experienced by the victims, it’s rhetoric,” she said.

Heidi Illingworth, who served as an ombudsman until October, oversaw the government on the “sporadic and inconsistent” implementation of a bill unanimously passed by the House of Commons on the day of the death of Stephen Harper’s majority conservative government. I criticized it.

In a bitter statement last summer, one of her last roles, Illingworth, informed victims of their rights and blamed the system for failing to provide. He said there was no meaningful effort to ultimately make the bill a “symbolic tool.”

Illingworth was appointed in 2018 after a long vacancy of 11 months.

The office was set up in 2007 and has been empowered to support and defend victims, including recommendations to the federal government.

A spokesman for Justice Minister David Rametti said in a statement Monday that work was underway to find a new ombudsman, one of whom would be appointed “in due course.”

The ombudsman’s office continues to handle victims’ complaints and help them find services, a spokesman said.

Marie Daniel Smith

Canadian press