GOVERNMENT INTRODUCES THE NOT CRIMINALLY RESPONSIBLE REFORM ACT

The Prime Minister announced the introduction of the Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act today, which addresses concerns raised by victims of crime with respect to accused persons found Not Criminally Responsible on Account of Mental Disorder.  The legislation is a key part of the Government’s plan for safe streets and communities. 

The new legislation has three main components:

  • Putting Public Safety First – the legislation would explicitly set out that public safety is the paramount consideration in the decision-making process relating to accused persons found to be NCR.
  • Creating a High-Risk Designation – the legislation would create a new designation to protect the public from high-risk NCR accused. Upon being designated by a court as high-risk, an NCR accused must be held in custody and cannot be considered for release by a review board until their designation is revoked by a court. The other consequences of being designated as a high-risk NCR accused include that their review periods could be extended to up to three years, such individuals would not be entitled to unescorted passes, and could only obtain an escorted pass in narrow circumstances and subject to sufficient conditions to protect public safety.
  • Enhancing Victims’ Involvement – the legislation will enhance the safety of victims by ensuring that they are specifically considered when decisions are being made about accused persons found NCR; ensuring they are notified when an NCR accused is discharged; and allowing non-communications orders between an NCR accused and the victim.

 Access to treatment for any NCR accused person would not be affected by the proposed reforms.

The Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime offers support, research and education to survivors and stakeholders.

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