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Government's Bill Geared at Further Protecting Canadians and Communities
OTTAWA - Bill C-14, the Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act, received Royal Assent yesterday, ensuring that the Government can deliver on its commitment to protect Canadians from not criminally responsible (NCR) accused persons who have been found to pose a higher risk of committing violence if released.

Bill C-14 ensures that public safety comes first in the decision-making process with respect to accused persons found NCR or unfit to stand trial on account of mental disorder. The legislation also enhances the safety of victims and promotes greater victim involvement. The Bill addresses concerns raised by victims and families of victims as well as the provinces and territories.

The legislation creates a new designation process which aims to protect the public from NCR accused persons who are found by a court to pose a higher risk of committing acts of violence. Families of some victims have applauded the Government's action to reduce the risk of repeat violent actions by creating the high-risk designation and ensuring that victims are better informed about the status of the NCR accused. Upon being designated by a court as high-risk, an NCR accused would be held in custody in a hospital and could not be released by a review board until the high-risk designation was revoked by a court.

The Criminal Code amendments will come into effect three months from the date of Royal Assent (on July 10) while provisions related to the National Defence Act will come into force on a day or days to be fixed by order of the Governor in Council.

Quick Facts
  • Other effects of being designated as a high-risk NCR accused include a possible extension by the review board of the period between reviews (up to three years), the denial of unescorted passes to such individuals, and the condition that escorted passes could only be granted for medical reasons and subject to sufficient safeguards to protect public safety.
  • The legislation enhances the safety of victims by ensuring that they are specifically considered when decisions are being made about mentally disordered accused persons; ensuring that they are notified when such an accused is discharged and where they intend to reside, if the victims so desire; and allowing for non-communications orders between the accused and the victim.
  • The reforms do not affect access to treatment for any mentally disordered accused person.

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