A VICTIM S GUIDE TO FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE IN ONTARIO

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1 A VICTIM S GUIDE TO FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE IN ONTARIO There are many ways that victims of crime can seek financial assistance in Ontario. The province has specific financial programs for victims of crime, such as the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, Financial Assistance for Families of Homicide Victims Program, the Victim Quick Response Program, as well as other programs available to the general population that victims may access if they are in financial need. All of these programs are listed and discussed below. If you have specific questions about any of these programs, you can find contact information for each below as well. CRIMINAL INJURIES COMPENSATION BOARD (CICB) FOR VICTIMS OF CRIME ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA Anyone who is injured as a result of a violent crime, or family members of deceased victims, is eligible for compensation in Ontario. Injuries can be either physical or psychological, however they must be more than merely transient or trifling in nature. The following criteria must also be met to be eligible for compensation: The crime must have occurred in Ontario; however you do not need to be a resident of Ontario to receive compensation A police report must have been made, but no charges or conviction is necessary You must apply for compensation within two years of the date of the incident, however an extension can be made when appropriate (such as in the case of sexual victimization or if you were a victimized as a child) if you request one and explain your reasons for the delay in application If you have witnessed a crime happen, you may be eligible for compensation if: You witnessed or came upon the scene of a crime that resulted in death You meet the criteria for a finding of mental or nervous shock A PUBLICATION OF VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE

2 The CICB does not cover or award compensation for: Crimes committed outside the Province of Ontario Damaged, lost or stolen property Motor vehicle incidents (except where the vehicle was used deliberately to assault or harm another person) Legal fees for criminal court and/or civil suits Distress and/or loss of wages for attending criminal court Workplace accidents (claim should be filed with the WSIB) Accidental deaths Suicide Pain and suffering of family members in coping with the injury or death of a loved one (however, they may award compensation for bereavement counselling where there has been a death) Monetary loss due to fraud Neglect or abandonment of children (except where it amounts to criminal negligence) Accidental injuries (slip and falls) Negligence by an institution/organization Malicious prosecution of accused persons Additionally, the CICB will not compensate victims if the crime was committed by a child who is under 12 years old. This, according to the CICB, is because under the law children under the age of 12 cannot be held responsible for their criminal actions. As a result, the CICB has taken the position that because no crime was technically committed, there is also no victim that can be compensated. The CICB will also look at other sources of income or financial assistance before compensating victims. This means that if you have coverage through personal insurance or are receiving benefits from another program such as Ontario Works or the Canadian Pension Plan, the amount of compensation awarded to you may be reduced. TYPES OF COMPENSATION PROVIDED In Ontario, when one person is injured or killed as a result of a violent crime, the maximum amount that may be given in compensation is $25,000. If more than one person is injured or killed during the same criminal incident, a maximum of $150,000 can be awarded, divided up between all claimants (if there were two victims, each could still receive $25,000, but if there were 10 victims in the same

3 incident, each could only receive $15,000). Furthermore, ongoing monthly periodic awards can be made in certain cases when there is an ongoing financial loss at a maximum of $1,000 per month. Periodic payments cannot exceed a total of $365,000, and are reviewed on an annual basis to determine whether there is still a need for the funds. Compensation can be awarded to victims for: Treatment expenses for things such as ambulance fees, hospital charges, prosthetics, eyeglasses, prescriptions, dental expenses, counselling expenses etc. Only expenses not payable by any other source are compensated; Travel expenses to receive treatment if you are required to travel more than 40 km each way from your residence for treatment Compensation for loss of income may be awarded (or to a person responsible for your care) if you are unable to work because of injuries arising from a crime. Up to a maximum of $1,000 per month can be awarded and this is generally paid out to a maximum of $50 per day or $250 per week. Any benefits received from other sources will be considered and possibly deducted from this amount Pain and suffering: based on several factors, such as the nature of the crime/abuse, any breach of trust or abuse of power, the age and vulnerability of the victim, the degree of violence involved, the seriousness of the injuries sustained or the extent of the harm caused, the recovery period, the possibility of a continuing disability, the impact the crime/abuse had on the victim's life Costs associated with the support of a child born as a result of a sexual assault Compensation can be awarded for the following if a person has died as a result of a crime: Funeral and burial expenses such as the cost of a funeral director, clergyman, casket, cemetery plot, grave marker, cremation, newspaper notices and death certificates (there is no maximum amount specific to funeral expenses that can be awarded, however the overall maximum amounts still apply) Loss of financial support if you are a dependant who relied on the deceased person for financial support prior to his/her death. The Board requires proof of previous financial support to make this kind of award Bereavement counselling Other expenses that were reasonably incurred as a result of the death 3

4 Compensation can be awarded to witnesses for: Treatment expenses for ambulance fees, hospital charges, counselling expenses, etc. Only expenses not payable by any other source will be considered Travel expenses to receive treatment if you are required to travel more than 40 km each way from your residence for treatment Loss of income if you are unable to work due to your condition. They may award up to a maximum of $1,000 per month for lost income. Generally, this is paid out to a maximum of $50 per day or $250 per week. Any benefits received from other sources will be considered and possibly deducted from this amount. Pain and suffering: awards are based on several factors including: o the extent of the psychological harm caused o the treatment required and recovery period o the possibility of a continuing disability o the impact that witnessing the death had upon your life Note: You must meet the criteria for mental or nervous shock before you can be compensated as a witness. Mental or nervous shock is a legal finding, not a medical one, even though medical information is used when determining whether a person suffers from this. It is generally described as the injury arising from the shock of reasonable fear of immediate personal injury and shock of being part of a traumatic event, and while it is brought on suddenly, the impact is a serious and prolonged psychiatric illness. When interpreting whether a person has made a claim for compensation, the board will consider how the particular circumstances of a fact situation interact with the criteria needed for finding mental and nervous shock as defined by the courts. APPLICATION AND CONTACT INFORMATION You should be aware that the application process to receive financial compensation from the CICB can take from one to two years to be fully processed. If a victim is unable to apply for compensation themselves because of age or disability for example, a legal guardian may make the application on their behalf. Application forms for victims and witnesses can be found at: This link will also take you to the comprehensive guides that the CICB has published to help make filling out your application easier.

5 Once you have filled out the application, you must sign and return it to the CICB. Make sure you keep a copy for yourself and send the original document to the Board at: Criminal Injuries Compensation Board 439 University Avenue, 4th Floor Toronto, Ontario M5G 1Y8 Once the application has been completed and submitted, there is a hearing for the victim. The Board will decide whether a written (victim not present and decision made based on information in the application by one Board member), oral (victim is present at the hearing and is asked questions by two Board members in order to assess the amount of compensation to be awarded) or electronic (a telephone conference with an unidentified amount of Board members to assess the value of the award). The Board will examine all the collected information to decide if the applicant has been a victim of a crime of violence, and what amount of compensation should be awarded. For more information about the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board of Ontario, you can call them at (within the Greater Toronto Area) or toll-free at You can also them at or visit their website at: APPEALING A DECISION If you do not agree with the CICB s decision regarding compensation, you can have the decision reviewed or appealed. You can request a review if: A single adjudicator made a decision about your claim, You make a written request within 15 days for a review hearing with two new adjudicators. If an award was ordered, the compensation cheque must be returned before a review hearing is scheduled. The new hearing panel may confirm the original decision, increase or decrease the award, or even deny the claim. Your review hearing will be scheduled as soon as the schedule permits. You can make an appeal if a panel of two or more adjudicators made a decision about your claim. 5

6 Appeals need to be made to the Superior Court of Justice, Divisional Court, within 30 days of receiving the decision. Appeals can only be made on a point of law; you cannot appeal the amount of an award. The location for an appeal will depend on where the hearing took place. You will be provided with this information when you receive your decision. You can contact the applicable courthouse for more information about the appeal process. The Board cannot assist you with the appeal, nor can the Board provide you with legal advice. You can also download the Appeal Information Package from the Divisional Court's website at: FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FOR FAMILIES OF HOMICIDE VICTIMS (FAFHV) PROGRAM This program recognizes that while no amount of money can make up for the emotional shock and grief caused by the loss of a loved one through homicide, financial assistance may be part of helping families recover from that loss. This program is designed to financially help those survivors of homicide that may not have met the eligibility criteria for compensation from the Ontario Criminal Injuries Compensation Board. ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA You may be eligible for financial assistance from FAFHV if: The homicide occurred from January 1, 2006 to December 31, 2011 You were the victim s parent (biological or adoptive) or spouse at the time of death (*Note: this funding is available only to parents and spouses at this time) The homicide occurred in Ontario You reside in Ontario The victim did not contribute to his or her death through criminal activity or other behaviour that could reasonably have been expected to lead to the homicide You do not have a conviction or any pending charges against you related to the homicide, and you were not found to have contributed to the homicide You applied to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, and did not receive an award for mental or nervous shock, or if one was received, it was less than $10,000

7 TYPE OF FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE The FAFHV can provide up to $10,000 per homicide to the victim s parents or spouse. $10,000 is the maximum amount of assistance that can be provided per homicide. This means that if both the homicide victim s spouse and parents apply for assistance, the total eligible amount ($10,000) must be split equally between the applicants. APPLICATION INFORMATION The application process for this program can take up to 90 days once they have received all necessary information from the victim and from the Ontario Criminal Injuries Compensation Board. Application forms can be found at: and a guide to assist you in filling it out can be found at: You must send the original copy of the application as well as supporting documents to the FAFHV at: Financial Assistance for Families of Homicide Victims Program 18 King Street East, 7th floor Toronto, ON M5C 1C4 Make sure you make copies for yourself because the documents you send to the program will not be returned to you (copies of birth certificates, marriage certificates, adoption papers, and property assessment notices are usually accepted however). Once your application is sent in, it will be given a file number and you should make sure to indicate that number on any further correspondence or documents you send to them. Make sure you keep the program appraised of any telephone or address changes so that they can contact you. If they are unable to reach you, this may result in your application being delayed or not completed. If you have any other questions about this program, the FAFHV can be reached at (toll free) or APPEALING A DECISION 7

8 If your application is denied or you do not agree with the outcome, you can request a review of a decision in writing and return it to the program within 30 days of the date of the decision. Make sure to provide details of the reasons for your request for review. You will then be advised of the results of your request for review in writing within approximately 30 days. The decision made upon review is final. VICTIM QUICK RESPONSE PROGRAM (VQRP) The VQRP provides short-term assistance to victims in the immediate aftermath of violent crime, provides immediate support services to victims to lessen the impact of violent crime, and also helps to ensure a victim s safety immediately after violent crime. ELIGIBILITY In order to access this program, victims must meet the following criteria: Victims must contact the Victim Quick Response Program within 14 business days of when the crime was reported in order to be eligible for this program. You then must apply within 45 calendar days after the date of the crime for emergency, crime scene clean up and/or funeral expenses, and apply within 90 calendar days of the date of the crime for counselling or related transportation costs Is a victim of a violent crime (such as homicide, attempted murder, serious assault, sexual assault, domestic violence, hate crimes, etc) The violent crime occurred in Ontario and any funds awarded will be used in Ontario Have no other financial resources to assist them with funeral expenses; and/or emergency expenses; and/or crime scene cleanup, and/or short-term counselling services A police report (or report to other agency such as a domestic assault centre or sexual assault centre) must have been made Victims should know that any of the following circumstances may impact their eligibility/amount of assistance available under this program: Other resources are available to meet the victim s immediate needs, such as private or work insurance plan, Ontario Disability Support Program,

9 Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, Ontario Works, Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, or other publicly funded services The victim has previously received funding from the VQRP for the same criminal offence The victim is charged in the crime reported Furthermore, the VQRP will not cover: Business or employment income lost because of time off work Expenses that are not directly related to the reported crime ELIGIBLE EXPENSES AND MAXIMUM AMOUNTS The VQRP can provide financial assistance for: Short-term immediate counselling (Up to 10 sessions or $1000 can be provided) o They can also provide up to $250 for travelling expenses for victims living in rural or remote areas where public transit is limited or unavailable o The VQRP can also provide up to $1000 for victims with disabilities that need specialized or professional services in order to access counselling services Funeral expenses for victims of homicide (up to $5000 can be provided) Immediate emergency expenses for (a combined maximum of up to $1000 can be provided): o Costs incurred to ensure a victim s home is secure immediately after a crime o Practical transportation costs for a family member to identify a victim of homicide, or to support a victim who has suffered serious injury as a result of violent crime o Child care and care for elderly or special-need dependents to allow a family member to identify a victim of homicide, or to support a victim who has suffered serious injury as a result of violent crime o Accommodation and meals where the victim or an immediate family member must travel out of town or leave his/her home Crime scene cleanup (up to $1,500 can be provided) APPLICATION AND CONTACT INFORMATION The VQRP is usually administered by a Victim Crisis and Referral Service in your area. A complete list of these services can be found at: by scrolling to the bottom of the document. You can also call the Victim Support 9

10 Line at or toll-free at and they can direct you to the appropriate agency to make an application. You should know that VQRP strives to provide approval for emergency and funeral expense requests within three business days of receiving the request and within five business days of receiving the request for counselling services. APPEALING A DECISION If you do not agree with the decision made or amount of financial assistance awarded you can ask that the decision be reviewed by contacting the VQRP Coordinator in writing to: Ontario Victim Services Secretariat PO Box Adelaide Street East Toronto, Ontario M5C 2K5 Your request, along with additional or clarified information, will be forwarded to a special team for review. If, after additional consideration, the review team determines your Referral Form is approved in whole or in part, the request will be processed. If not, a letter outlining the reasons for denial will be forwarded to you and to the service provider. The decision of the review team is final. INTERNET CHILD EXPLOITATION COUNSELLING (ICE) PROGRAM ELIGIBILITY This program is available to any person who was sexually exploited on the internet, and who was under the age of 18 when the crime occurred. If you are a survivor, or a member of the survivor's immediate family, and you need counselling services to assist you in coping with the victimization, you may be able to access financial assistance for counselling from this program. Immediate family members includes: birth parent, step parent, adoptive parent, custodial guardian, birth sibling, step sibling, or grandparents. This program is only available if you are not eligible for other benefits, such as insurance or publicly funded community services. If you have received funding from this program or another government program (such as VQRP) you may not be eligible. Your main residence must be in

11 Ontario and the services must be provided within Ontario in order to take advantage of this program. TYPES OF BENEFITS Financial assistance through this program can only be used for counselling services. Survivors can apply for coverage of up to $1,500 and members of the survivor's family can apply for up to $800 to help cover these costs. The professional you chose to receive services from will be paid directly by this program once your appointments start; you do not have to pay yourself and then wait for reimbursement. APPLICATION AND CONTACT INFORMATION To apply for counselling services under this program, you simply have to contact the ICE Counselling Program and an intake worker will walk you through the application process. There is no application form and you do not have to provide a police report or other evidence of your victimization. The intake worker may ask you for the name of the officer investigating your case, or the name of the victim services worker working with you, if applicable. The program can be contacted at: Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) Counselling Program BOOST Child Abuse Prevention and Intervention 890 Yonge Street, 11th Floor Toronto, Ontario M4W 3P4 Phone: ext 338, or ext 338 in the Greater Toronto Area, or ONTARIO WORKS Ontario Works is a social services program designed to help those in financial need to meet the costs of basic living expenses. ELIGIBILITY To be eligible to receive help from Ontario Works, you must: Live in Ontario Need money right away to help pay for food and housing costs, and 11

12 Be willing to take part in activities that will help you find a job (you must sign a participation agreement) The amount of money you may receive from Ontario Works will depend on your: Family size Income Assets Housing costs TYPE OF ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE Ontario Works can provide you with financial assistance to ensure that your basic needs (such as food and clothing) are met, as well as housing costs. In addition, this program can also provide benefits for: Prescription drug and dental coverage Eyeglasses Diabetic supplies Moving or eviction costs Employment-related costs Community start up benefits (if you are just leaving an institution, are behind in rent, utilities, are moving to a permanent residence, etc.) Assistive medical devices Child care while working or taking part in employment activities Ontario Works can also help you find employment by working with you to determine what you need to become employed, and helping you develop a plan based on your skills, experience and circumstances. They can provide you with workshops on looking for work, résumé writing, and preparing for an interview, referrals to job counselling or training programs, information on who's hiring, access to basic education, and access to telephones, faxes, computers and job banks. APPLICATION AND CONTACT INFORMATION There are three ways that you can apply for assistance through Ontario Works: in person, online, or over the phone.

13 To apply in person, you should contact your local Ontario Works office and set up an appointment. Contact information for these offices can be found at To apply online, you can begin the process by clicking this link: To apply over the phone, you can find contact information for your local Ontario Works office by following this link: ONTARIO DISABILITY SUPPORT PROGRAM (ODSP) ELIGIBILITY You may qualify for Disability Income Support if you: Are 18 years of age or older Live in Ontario Are in financial need (this is determined by looking at your eligibility for Income Support, and by taking into account all assets and sources of income such as other provincial or federal benefits programs, spousal support, employment insurance, Have a substantial physical or mental disability that meets the definition of "a person with a disability" as defined under the Ontario Disability Support Program Act. TYPES OF BENEFITS AVAILABLE The amount of assistance you can receive through this program depends on a combination of the number of people in your family, the age of the people in your family, whether your spouse has a disability, what your actual costs incurred each month are, and the value of your assets and income from other sources. The way amounts are calculated are based on individual circumstances and therefore it is best to contact an ODSP worker to discuss the amount and type of financial assistance you can receive. Some of the things that ODSP can help to cover include: Basic needs (such as food and clothing) 13

14 Shelter (assist with monthly rent/mortgage payments, utilities, property tax, home insurance, etc) The ODSP also provides a variety of benefits in the following areas: Health benefits, such as prescription drugs, dental, vision care, pregnancy/breastfeeding nutrition, and extended health coverage. Disability-related benefits, such as help to pay for hearing aids, guide dogs or other assistive devices. Employment incentives and benefits, such as help to pay for child care costs or items you need for work. Housing-related benefits, such as help to pay for emergency plumbing repairs or other necessary repairs, or to assist you if you need to move because of employment, health related issues or are facing eviction. Transition Child Benefit (this is automatically mailed after you file you your income, there is no application required). APPLICATION AND CONTACT INFORMATION In order to receive financial assistance through ODSP, there are two parts to your application. The first looks at your financial situation and the second looks at your disability status. You can complete the first part of your application online, in person, or over the phone. To begin the application process online, please click this link: and follow the instructions. To begin the application process in person or over the phone, please click this link for the location of the ODSP office closest to you to make an appointment: Once your financial situation is assessed and it is determined you are in financial need, the next step is the Disability Determination Process. The ODSP will send you a Disability Determination Package that contains: A Health Status Report and Activities of Daily Living form A Consent to Release Medical Information form A Self-Report form Instructions on how to complete the forms Some people do not have to complete these forms. For example, you will not have to complete these forms if you:

15 Receive disability benefits from the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) or the Quebec Pension Plan (QPP) Are 65 or older but do not qualify for Old Age Security (OAS) Live in a certain type of institutions, such as a mental health facility or a home for people with developmental disabilities If one of these applies to you, your local Ontario Disability Support Program office will tell you what information you need to provide. More information on how to complete these forms can be found at: After the forms have been completed, you must submit them within 90 days of receiving your Disability Determination Package to the Disability Adjudication Unit of the Ministry of Community and Social Services. If you cannot get the forms back to them within 90 days, you should call the number below to arrange for an extension. The address to send the forms to is: Ontario Disability Support Program Disability Adjudication Unit Box B18 Toronto ON M7A 1R ONTARIO WORKER S SAFETY INSURANCE BOARD (WSIB) ELIGIBILITY A worker who sustains a personal injury by accident arising out of and in the course of his or her employment is entitled to benefits under the Ontario WSIB. A person who suffers an injury as a result of a criminal offence while at work would also be covered under this insurance plan. Most injuries are covered under this insurance, however the WSIB does not cover mental stress except where it is an acute reaction to a traumatic and sudden event related to their employment (this does not include such things as mental stress caused by a decision to change the work to be performed or the working conditions, to discipline the worker, or to terminate the employment). To be eligible for benefits under this program, you must file a claim with the WSIB within six months of the date of the incident. Furthermore, you must provide all of the relevant information requested by the WSIB, and you also must consent to the release of functional abilities information to your employer. 15

16 TYPES OF BENEFITS LOSS OF EARNINGS: These benefits are calculated based on 80% of your take home pay and are paid every two weeks. These payments will continue until you are able to return to work or until you reach the age of 65. Once you reach the age of 65, the LOE benefits stop, and you may be eligible for Loss of Retirement Income Benefits. NON-ECONOMIC LOSS BENEFITS: The WSIB will pay you a non-economic loss benefit to compensate you for the physical, functional, or psychological loss that your impairment causes. This benefit is calculated based on your age and the seriousness of your impairment. HEALTH CARE BENEFITS: The WSIB can cover costs associated with prescription drugs, professional services provided by a health care practitioner, services provided by or at hospitals and health facilities medical devices and orthotics, relevant transportation costs, modifications to a person s home and vehicle, and other expenses deemed reasonable. SURVIVOR BENEFITS: Spouses and dependants of a person who died while at work may be eligible for a variety of benefits from the WSIB. These benefits include: o Survivor Payments: These are lump sum and monthly benefits that can be paid to spouses, dependants, and children of a deceased worker. Information on the amount of money you may receive from this benefit can be viewed at: e35c819d7210vgnvcm c710arcrd. o Funeral and Transport Costs: The WSIB will pay all reasonable burial and funeral expenses (there is no maximum amount). o Bereavement Counselling for both the surviving spouse and child(ren). This must be requested within one year of the worker s death. o Help in Joining the Workforce: The WSIB may help surviving spouses to join the workforce if they were previously depending on the deceased spouse s income. Spouses should contact the Occupational Disease and Survivor Benefits Program at or to determine if they are eligible. More information on all of these benefits can be found at: d7210vgnvcm c710arcrd&vgnextchannel=09f55087bbeaf110vgnvcm

17 e18120arcrd. APPLICATION AND CONTACT INFORMATION Workers (or surviving spouses) should contact the WSIB as soon as possible after they are injured to apply for benefits. The WSIB can be contacted at Telephone: or Toll free: to begin the claims process. To file a claim, you must fill out the appropriate form, which can be found at: A.pdf and return in to the WSIB at: Workplace Safety and Insurance Board 200 Front Street West Toronto, Ontario M5V 3J1 Or Fax to: or You will then be contacted by a claims officer who will assess your situation and contact you if more information is needed. APPEALING A DECISION If you do not agree with the decision the WSIB has reached in your case, your first step should be to discuss the issue with the person who made the decision. If after speaking with the person who made the decision, you still do not agree with the decision, there is a formal appeal process that you may access. The process is discussed in detail here: If you require more information about the appeals process, you can call and a representative will be able to explain the process and options, and can also help you complete any paper work or documents necessary for a review or appeal of a decision. ONTARIO MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT CLAIMS FUND (MVACF) In Ontario, drivers must have private vehicle insurance. The type of coverage you have and amount of compensation available to you will depend on the type of 17

18 insurance you have purchased. You should talk to your insurance broker about the specifics of your coverage and how to access those monies. In cases where no vehicle insurance exists or if the person who caused the accident is unknown (such as in the case of a hit and run accident), victims may access The Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund. This fund is meant to be a payer of last resort and is only available when all other insurance recourse options have been exhausted. The MVACF has the following functions: To provide statutory accident benefits directly to persons involved in an automobile accident, who have no recourse to automobile insurance such as income replacement, medical rehabilitation, and attendant care benefits; To provide compensation for personal injury or property damage to victims involved in an automobile accident with an uninsured or unidentified driver or a stolen vehicle when no liability insurance exists; and To recover from the owners and drivers of uninsured vehicles monies paid out on their behalf, where legally permissible. You can find out more on how to access these benefits by visiting: Benefits-from-the-Fund.aspx or by calling the MVACF at All of the forms you will need to fill out, including applications for benefits if you are a direct victim, as well as the application for death benefits (funeral expenses) for survivors of deceased victims, can also be found by clicking that link. * See A Victim s Guide to Financial Assistance Available to Canadians for additional information on Federal Programs and restitution.

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