The CRCVC has voiced the need for an expansion of the type of information provided to victims of offenders serving federal sentences. Information about programming (or lack thereof) will allow victims to better judge the risk an offender may still present to them if any. Advance notifications of transfers, reasons behind transfers, and access to recordings of the most recent National Parole Board hearings are crucial pieces of information for victims to access. In the past, the denial of such information under the pretense of protecting an offender’s privacy was seen as unacceptable. Accordingly, the government has introduced Bill C-46, which will amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA) to:
- Enshrine in law the right of victims to present a statement at National Parole Board hearings.
- Revise the definition of victim to ensure that guardians/caregivers of dependants of victims who are deceased, ill or otherwise incapacitated can get the information that victims are permitted under the law.
- Provide victims with access to a recording of the most recent hearing held by the NPB regarding the offender who harmed them.
- Expand the type of information that can be provided to victims to include information on offender program participation and the reason(s) for offender transfers, with advance notice of transfers to minimum security institutions, whenever possible.
In Ontario, the government has introduced Bill 190, which amends both the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act to provide next of kin with the disclosure of personal information about a deceased loved one for compassionate reasons (as long as the access request does not constitute an unjustified invasion of personal privacy). The CRCVC has worked vigorously to have such amendments introduced, and believe all other provinces/territories and the federal government should amend their access to information laws similarly.