Application and Hearing Process
Effective May 29, 2019, the following changes have been made to the Compensation for Victims of Crime Act:
- The maximum lump sum payment amount has increased from $25,000 to $30,000.
- The maximum award for pain and suffering will not exceed $5,000.
Any CICB decisions rendered on or after May 29, 2019 will be subject to these changes. A cut-off date for new applications to the CICB will be determined by the Lieutenant Governor in Council in the near future. For more information, see Latest News.
Explains who qualifies for compensation and describes the different kinds of awards the CICB can make.
Who is Eligible for Compensation
Anyone injured as a result of violent crime in Ontario can apply for compensation, including people who were hurt while trying to prevent a crime. Police officers who are injured while making an arrest can also apply.
Violent crimes include:
- attempted murder
- firearm offences
- sexual assault
- domestic assault (abuse by a spouse/partner)
- child physical assault
- child sexual abuse
The injuries may either be physical or psychological. However, the injuries must be more than transient or trifling in order to qualify for compensation.
If a person died as a result of violent crime in Ontario, or while trying to prevent a crime, any family members who were dependent on the deceased person or who paid expenses as a result of the death (e.g. childcare expenses for the children of the deceased or bereavement counselling) can apply for compensation.
A person can also apply for compensation if he/she witnessed or came upon the scene of a crime that resulted in a death and meets the criteria for a finding of "mental or nervous shock."
You may be eligible for compensation even if no one has been prosecuted or convicted of the crime.
You must apply for compensation within two years of when the violent crime took place, unless you:
- were a victim of sexual or domestic violence
- are under 20 years old.
We can extend the two-year period if you have good reasons for not applying earlier, but you will have to request an extension and explain the reasons for the delay. See "When to File" in Step 2 for more information.
If you believe you meet the criteria for a claim, complete an application form with as much detail as possible. The violent crime has to have happened in Ontario, Canada but you do not need to be an Ontario resident to apply.
Our process does not interfere with your right to sue the offender or alleged offender in a civil action. However, if you sue and the court awards you money related to the incident, you must reimburse the CICB for the money you received.
Who is not Eligible for Compensation
We do not award compensation for the following:
- Harm resulting from crimes committed outside of Ontario
- Damaged, lost or stolen property
- Motor vehicle accidents (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
- Pain and suffering of family members who are coping with the injury or death of a loved one, except when the family member:
a. came across the scene of the death or injury, and
b. suffered significant psychological injury.
- 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
Compensation for Injury
We may award the following types of compensation for physical injuries or psychological harm that resulted from a violent crime in Ontario. We need receipts and/or supporting documents before we will make an award.
Treatment Expenses: May be awarded for ambulance fees, hospital charges, prosthetics, eyeglasses, prescriptions, dental expenses, and counselling expenses. Only expenses not payable by any other source (e.g. insurance, group benefits) will be considered.
Travel to Treatment Expenses: May be awarded if you need to travel more than 40 km each way from your residence for treatment.
Loss of Income: May be awarded to you (or a person responsible for your care) if you were unable to work because of injuries arising from the incident. We may award up to a maximum of $1,000 per month for lost income. Benefits received from other sources (e.g. Employment Insurance, CPP, disability benefits, long-term or short-term employer benefits) may be deducted from this amount.
Pain and Suffering: May be awarded based on several factors, including:
- 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 or the extent of the harm
- the recovery period
- the possibility of a continuing disability
- the impact the crime/abuse on the victim's life
Other: Costs associated with the support of a child born as a result of a sexual assault.
Compensation for Death
We may award the following types of compensation for a death that resulted from a violent crime in Ontario.
Funeral and burial expenses: We may compensate you for the cost of a funeral director, clergy, casket, cemetery plot, grave marker, cremation, newspaper notices and death certificates.
Loss of financial support: We may compensate you if you are a dependent who relied on the deceased person for financial support prior to his/her death. We need proof that the deceased person provided financial support to make this kind of award.
Bereavement counselling: We may compensate family members of a deceased person for the cost of bereavement counselling.
Other expenses: We may compensate you for any other expenses that were reasonably incurred as a result of the death.
For more information, see the information sheet: Claims Arising from Homicide.
Compensation for Mental or Nervous Shock
If you witnessed or came upon the scene of a crime that resulted in a death and you meet the criteria for a finding of "mental or nervous shock" we may compensate you for the following:
Treatment expenses: May be awarded for ambulance fees, hospital charges, counselling expenses. Only expenses not payable by any other source (e.g. insurance, employment group benefits, WSIB benefits) will be considered.
Travel to treatment expenses: May be awarded if you need to travel more than 40 km each way from your residence for treatment.
Loss of income: May be awarded if you are or were unable to work due to your condition. We may award up to a maximum of $1,000 per month for lost income. Any benefits received from other sources may be deducted from this amount.
Pain and suffering: May be awarded depending on based on several factors including:
- the extent of the psychological harm
- the treatment required and recovery period
- the possibility of a continuing disability
- the impact that witnessing the death had on your life
For more information, see the information sheet: Mental or Nervous Shock Claims.
Lump sum awards: When one person is injured or killed as a result of a violent crime, the maximum lump sum award is $30,000.
The maximum the Board can award for pain and suffering is $5,000.
When more than one person has been injured or killed as the result of a violent crime, the maximum lump sum award is $150,000 shared among all of the claimants.
Periodic awards: Can be made in cases when there is an ongoing financial loss (e.g. lost income, child care expenses). Periodic awards are paid on a monthly basis and cannot exceed $1,000 per month. Payments cannot exceed a total of $365,000.
The CICB usually reviews periodic awards each year to determine whether:
- the claimant should continue to receive payments
- the amount of the payment should change because the claimant's circumstances have changed.
In cases where a claimant receives a periodic award, the maximum lump sum award is $15,000 (instead of $30,000).
Interim awards: You may seek an award before a hearing for income support, funeral expenses and/or medical treatment expenses. This is called an interim award. We only make interim awards if you can show that you need the money urgently before your hearing. You will also have to provide evidence, such as police and/or medical records that lead us to conclude that an award will likely be made at the time of the hearing. To apply for an interim award, contact us.
Variation Awards: Section 25 of the Act allows the CICB to vary an award if the claimant's circumstances change. A variation award can only be granted if the CICB made an award in the first place. The process of varying the award is similar to when you first filed a claim: we will consider all the evidence and hold a hearing to decide whether to make an award.
For more information, see the information sheet: Asking to Vary an Order for Compensation.
Your Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) and Ontario Works (OW) Benefits: If you receive an award from us while you are also receiving benefits from either the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) or Ontario Works (OW), you must tell your OW or ODSP caseworker in writing about any award you receive from the CICB. The CICB award may affect your benefits. Contact your caseworker or read the information sheet: CICB Awards, the Ontario Disability Support Program and Ontario Works for more information.
Tells you when and how to apply. Explains when someone else can apply on your behalf.
How to apply
If you believe you meet the criteria for a claim, complete an application form with as much detail as possible. You can download the form or you can call, fax, email or mail us and we'll send you an application form. For more information, see Forms and Filing.
When to file
We need to receive your application within 2 years of the violent crime taking place unless:
- you were a victim of sexual or domestic violence
- you are under the age of 20 when you file your application
In other cases, we can extend the 2-year period if there is a good reason for it, but you will have to request an extension by giving reasons for the delay on the application form.
When we receive an extension request, we consider:
- the amount of time that has passed since the incident
- the reasons for the delay
- whether there is enough evidence to support an application and fairly adjudicate the claim
- the circumstances of the incident: the severity of the violence, the severity of the injury, the context and the extent to which the victim's behaviour may have contributed to his/her injury or death.
If your request for an extension is approved, your application for compensation can proceed.
If your request for an extension will be denied, we will send you a letter explaining why. You will have an opportunity to make submissions before we render a final decision. You can appeal this decision to the Divisional Court, a branch of the Superior Court of Justice. For more information, see: "If you don't agree with the decision", in Step 5.
Do I need a legal representative?
The CICB does not expect you to have a legal representative at a hearing, but you can have one if you want. A legal representative could be a lawyer or paralegal.
If you have a legal representative, we will communicate only with that person and not with you. Remember to complete the "Legal Representation" section of the application form. If you hire a representative after you file your application, send us a Notice of Legal Representation Form.
If you are under 18
If you are under the age of 18, your legal guardian will usually make the application for you. If you don't have a legal guardian, and you are living independently, contact the CICB to ask about applying on your own.
If a claimant lacks mental capacity
If an applicant lacks the capacity to make an application, the CICB may appoint a litigation guardian. For more information about the duties and responsibilities of litigation guardians see: SJTO Common Rule A10, the Practice Direction on Litigation Guardians and the Litigation Guardian Form for Mental Incapacity.
Can someone speak to the CICB on my behalf?
You may give another person permission to call and ask about the status of your claim but we need your permission in writing. Complete an Authorization for Release of Personal Information and send it to the CICB.
How to prepare for your hearing.
When we receive an application form, we assign it a file number which we will include on all our correspondence to you. Write the file number on any documents you send us.
If you did not answer all of the questions in the application form, it will delay the processing of your claim. We may contact you for missing information or documents. We will also contact you if you are not eligible.
Gathering documents for your hearing
We will assess receipts, medical or counselling reports, police reports, and court records.
You are responsible for gathering:
- Reports from your treatment providers or making sure your treatment providers send them to us. We will give you instructions on how to get these reports. If you are having trouble getting these reports, please let us know. We may be able to help. We will pay all or part of the costs for obtaining the reports. See the information sheet: Payments for Medical Reports for more information.
- Letters of support. If the crime was not reported to the police, you may need to identify individuals who witnessed the crime or were aware of it, and send us letters of support that talk about your character, your credibility or corroborate (confirm) what you say about the crime and the effect it had on your life. These letters can be written by relatives, close friends or elders.
The CICB will:
- contact the police service involved to request a written report.
- obtain documents (e.g. a decision, transcript) regarding the outcome of any criminal trial that resulted from the crime. If the matter is still before the courts, we may not be able to proceed with your hearing until the trial is completed.
Your responsibilities before the hearing
Gathering all of the information needed to support your claim can take some time. The more quickly we receive all of the information, the more quickly your application can be processed.
It is your responsibility to:
- submit a properly completed application form
- respond to our letters and/or requests for information in a timely manner
- follow up with your treatment providers to ensure they send us your records
- let us know when the criminal trial is completed, so we can request the court documents
- inform us of any changes in your situation that may impact your claim, such as changes in the injury/medical condition that resulted from the crime
- keep your address and phone number up to date. Your file may not be processed if we are unable to contact you
- notify us if you receive payment compensation for the injury or death from the offender or alleged offender (restitution or through civil action), insurance, WSIB, or any other government or private agency
Scheduling your hearing
When the file is ready, we will schedule a written, oral or electronic hearing. We will mail you a notice of hearing, which is a document that tells you the date, time, location and type of hearing.
You are responsible for making sure that we have your current telephone numbers and mailing address. If your contact information changes, submit the Notice of Change of Address or call or email the CICB with your updated contact information as soon as possible.
Notice to the alleged offender
The Board's Practice Direction on Alleged Offenders outlines how the Board engages with and notifies alleged offenders of a claim. If it is not clear to the Board, whether a crime of violence occurred, the CICB may issue a Notice of Application to a person identified in the application as responsible for the alleged crime of violence. The person you say is responsible for the violent crime is called the "alleged offender". If a court has found that person guilty of the crime he or she is called the "offender".
We will advise you if the alleged offender will be notified. If you have concerns about their participation, you must tell us as soon as possible during the application process.
If the alleged offender is notified, we will disclose documents or portions of documents that relate to the alleged crime or crimes of violence. Your personal particulars and information about your injuries/treatment and details of compensation requested are not shared with the alleged offender.
Generally, an alleged offender's participation will be by way of written submissions, however, on occasion, the Board may determine that, based on his/her submissions, an alleged offender must take part in the hearing to support proper adjudication. If this is the case, the alleged offender will communicate by phone or video conference. They will not be in the same room as you.
The alleged offender will receive a copy of the CICB's decision.
The different types of hearings, the location of the hearing, and who will be there.
Take a virtual tour of a hearing site.
The tour shows:
- what a typical hearing room, reception area and remote hearing site look like
- the roles of the various people who attend the hearing
Types of hearings
If your claim can be assessed based on written evidence alone, you won't need to attend a hearing. The adjudicators (also called members) will make a decision based on the information in the file. See the information sheet: Written Hearings.
If an oral hearing is held, you must attend. Please arrive 15 minutes before your hearing is scheduled to start. During the hearing, the adjudicators will ask you questions about the incident, injuries and associated costs.
If you don't attend, we may go ahead without you. In these cases, the adjudicators can make a decision based on the documentary evidence in the file and the oral evidence of any witnesses who appear.
During an electronic hearing, you would be on the phone or video conference while the adjudicators are at a hearing site.
Examples of times we would hold an electronic hearing include:
- If the alleged offender is participating
- You have mobility issues that make it difficult to get to the hearing site
- Your claim can be assessed without you appearing in person
See the information sheet: Electronic Hearings.
At the hearing
Location of the hearing
We hold oral hearings in 21 locations across Ontario: Barrie, Belleville, Cornwall, Hamilton, Kenora, Kingston, Kitchener, London, Moosonee, North Bay, Orillia, Ottawa, Peterborough, Sault Ste. Marie, Sioux Lookout, St. Catharines, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, Timmins, Toronto and Windsor.
All our hearing sites are wheelchair accessible and many are equipped with automatic door openers. If you want more information on the accessibility features of your hearing site, or you need help to participate in your hearing because of a disability, contact us. For more information, see: Accessibility and Accommodations.
Length of the hearing
Oral hearings are usually scheduled for 1.5 hours.
We may allow more time if:
- the claim is complex
- one of the parties is using an interpreter
- there are witnesses
- the alleged offender is participating
Language of the hearing
Hearings are conducted in either English or French. If you require an interpreter in a language other than English or French, let us know and we will arrange for an accredited interpreter to attend your hearing. For more information see: Language Services.
Who attends the hearing
Lawyer or paralegal: The CICB does not expect you to have a legal representative at a hearing, but you can have one if you want. A legal representative could be a lawyer or paralegal. If you have a legal representative, we will communicate only with that person and not with you.
Support Persons: A support person, such as a family member or friend, can attend a hearing with you.
Police: Police who investigated the incident may be asked to attend the hearing as a witness. They could be asked about their investigation, whether you cooperated during the police investigation and court proceedings, as well as the outcome of any criminal court proceedings related to the crime.
The Alleged Offender: The person you say is responsible for the violent crime is called the "alleged offender". If a court has found that person guilty of the crime he or she is called the "offender". If it is not clear whether a crime of violence occurred, the CICB may notify the alleged offender about the application.
The CICB's proceeding is not adversarial. Many CICB applications are decided on the basis of written materials and without an oral hearing. An alleged offender is invited to participate in the proceeding by making written submissions. If the CICB decides to hold the hearing in person, the alleged offender will not be in the same room as you. They will be on the phone or video conference. We will tell you in advance if an alleged offender will participate in the hearing process.
For more information, see "Notice to the alleged offender", in Step 3.
Witnesses: A person who can give a firsthand account of something seen, heard or experienced is called a witness. The information that a witness gives is called evidence. If you want to have someone give evidence at your hearing, you must complete a Request for Summons as soon as possible after receiving the Notice of Hearing and, in any event, at least 7 days before the hearing. We will only issue a summons if we think that the witness' evidence will be relevant to the proceeding. If the CICB issues a summons, it is your responsibility to have personally delivered it ("served") to the witness and to pay the witness fees.
Members of the public and media: Oral hearings are usually open to the public and the media, if they choose to attend. However, the hearing may be closed if:
- there are public safety concerns
- there are ongoing criminal proceedings
- the claim involves a sexual offence, spousal abuse or child abuse.
If you have concerns about participating in an open hearing, you must tell us during the application process.
People under 18: A person under 18 who has received the CICB's permission to make an application on their own must attend the hearing. A person under 18 who has a litigation guardian is not required to attend, unless they are giving evidence.
How members make a decision, how you will get your decision, and what to do if you don't agree with it.
How members decide whether to make an award
To decide whether to make an award and the amount of the award we consider:
- whether there is enough reliable evidence to support the claim.
- whether the incident is considered a violent crime under the Criminal Code or an arrest occurred, or whether the injured/deceased person was assisting a peace officer with their law enforcement duties, or trying to prevent a crime. Note: The law changes over time. When we decide whether a violent crime took place, we will consider the version of the Criminal Code that was in effect when the incident happened.
- all of the relevant circumstances, including any behaviour of the injured/deceased person that caused or contributed to the injuries or death.
- whether the claimant refused reasonable cooperation with the police or failed to report the offence promptly to the police.
- whether the claimant has received benefits paid by private insurance, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board or any other source, as a result of the crime. This does not include Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Program.
If the adjudicators tell you their decision at the hearing
At the end of an oral hearing, the adjudicators will sometimes tell you their decision and then email or mail the written decision to you and your counsel, if you have a legal representative. In that case, you will receive the written decision in 4-6 weeks.
If the adjudicators don't tell you their decision at the hearing
Adjudicators don't always make a decision immediately. They could issue a decision later with written reasons. In this case, you will usually receive your decision within 2 to 3 months of the hearing.
If a written hearing was held in your case, you will usually receive a decision by email or mail within 2 to 3 months.
If you prefer to come into the office to pick up your decision, let us know in advance. You will need to bring two pieces of identification with you, e.g. a passport, driver's license or Social Insurance Number (SIN) card. At least one piece of identification must have your photo on it.
If you are awarded compensation, you will receive a cheque separately in the mail 30 days after you receive the written decision.
If you sue and the court awards you money related to the incident, you must reimburse the CICB for the money you received. Write a letter explaining what happened and enclose a cheque.
If your claim is denied, you will be given the reasons for the denial. You will also be told how to ask for a review, reconsideration or appeal of the decision.
If you don't agree with the decision
If you do not agree with the decision in your case, you have different choices depending on whether your case was heard by one or two adjudicators.
If you intend to ask for a review, reconsideration or appeal of a decision you must request written reasons. Requests for written reasons must be in writing unless requested at the conclusion of a hearing.
Single adjudicator: Request a review hearing
If you are an applicant and a single adjudicator made a decision about your claim, you may request a review hearing if the decision contains a serious error of law or an unreasonable exercise of discretion. Your request must be in writing and made within 15 days of receiving the written reasons. You can fax, email, mail or drop it off to the CICB. An alleged offender cannot ask for a review hearing.
If an award was ordered, we will not schedule a review hearing until you have returned the compensation cheque to us.
Unless the CICB directs otherwise the request for review will be decided by a panel of two or more adjudicators in a written hearing. The new two-member panel may confirm the original decision, increase or decrease the award, or even deny the application.
The CICB can accept a late request for a review hearing (more than 15 days after the date of your decision) if:
- there is a good reason for the delay, and
- the late request would not disadvantage another person.
Any party may request reconsideration of a final decision made by a panel of two or more members. The request must be made by completing the Request a Reconsideration form and sending it to the CICB no later than 30 days from the date of the decision. If the request is made after this time you must include reasons explaining the delay with your request.
The CICB will not reconsider a decision unless satisfied that:
- there are new facts or evidence that could potentially be determinative of the application and that could not reasonably have been obtained earlier; or
- the party seeking reconsideration was entitled to but, through no fault of its own, did not receive notice of the proceeding or a hearing; or
- the decision is in conflict with established jurisprudence or CICB procedure and the proposed reconsideration involves a matter of general or public importance; or
- other factors exist that, in the opinion of the CICB, outweigh the public interest in the finality of CICB decisions.
Appeal to the Divisional Court
If a panel of two or more adjudicators made a decision about your claim, you can appeal to the Superior Court of Justice, Divisional Court, within 30 days of the date of the decision.
Appeals can only be made on a question of law. You cannot appeal the amount of an award.
When you receive your decision, you will be told which courthouse can hear your appeal. You can contact the courthouse for more information about the appeal process. You can also download the Guide to Appeals in Divisional Court from the Divisional Court's website.
The CICB cannot help you with the appeal or give you legal advice.