ACTS OF 1989
1 This Act may be cited as the Victims' Rights and Services Act. 1989, c. 14, s. 1.
2 In this Act,
(a) "child" includes an illegitimate child and a child to whom a victim stands in loco parentis;
(aa) "dependant" means a spouse, child or other relative of a person killed in the circumstances set out in clause (a), (b) or (c) of subsection (1) of Section 11A who was, in whole or in part, dependent upon that person for support at the time of that person's death and includes a child of that person born after that person's death;
(ab) "Director" means the Director of Victim Services;
(b) "Fund" means the Victims Assistance Fund established by this Act;
(ba) "injury" means actual bodily harm, mental or nervous shock, pain or suffering;
(c) "offence" means a contravention of an enactment of the Province or of the Parliament of Canada;
(ca) "peace officer" means a peace officer as defined in the Criminal Code (Canada);
(d) "sentence" includes a disposition as defined in the Young Offenders Act (Canada) or the Young Persons Summary Proceedings Act;
(e) "victim" means an individual who has suffered bodily harm, mental or nervous shock, pain, suffering, economic loss or deprivation of property as the result of an act or omission that forms the basis of an offence and includes, where the individual is dead, ill or otherwise incapable of exercising the rights granted by this Act, the spouse or next of kin of that person or anyone who has, in law or in fact, the custody or guardianship of that person or who is responsible for the care or support of that person. 1989, c. 14, s. 2; 1992, c. 36, s. 1.
3 (1) A victim has
(a) the right to be treated with courtesy, compassion and dignity and with respect for the privacy of the victim;
(b) the right to access to social, legal, medical and mental health services that are responsive to the needs of the victim and the needs of the victim's dependants, spouse or guardian; and
(c) the right to have property stolen from a victim returned to the victim as soon as possible.
(2) Subject to the limits imposed by the availability of resources and to any other limits that are reasonable in the circumstances of each case, a victim has
(a) the right to be informed of
(i) the name of the accused,
(ii) the specific offence with which the accused is charged,
(iii) the scope, nature, timing and progress of the prosecution of the offence,
(iv) the role of the victim and of other persons involved in the prosecution of the offence and of any opportunity to make representations on restitution and the impact of the offence on the victim,
(v) court procedures, and
(vi) crime prevention measures;
(b) the right to be informed by law enforcement, court, health and social-services personnel, at the earliest practical opportunity, of the services, remedies and mechanisms to obtain remedies available to a victim; and
(c) while waiting to give evidence at a proceeding in respect of an offence, the right to be kept apart, where necessary, from the accused and the accused's witnesses to ensure the safety of the victim and the victim's family and to protect them from intimidation and retaliation. 1989, c. 14, s. 3.
Director of Victim Services
4 (1) There shall be appointed in the Department of the Attorney General, in accordance with the Civil Service Act, a person to be known as the Director of Victim Services.
(2) The Director shall
(a) make recommendations to the Attorney General on
(i) expenditures from the Fund,
(ii) policies respecting victim services, and
(iii) any other matter within the scope of this Act that the Attorney General refers to the Director for the Director's recommendation;
(b) work with prosecuting officers, law-enforcement agencies, courts, social agencies and other organizations that serve victims in order to develop programs that promote the rights set out in this Act;
(c) promote research into and the distribution of information concerning victim services, needs and concerns; and
(d) review the operation, development and cost of victim services and research projects for which money from the Fund is being received or sought.
(3) The Director may receive from any person, organization or institution applications and submissions relating to
(a) the needs and concerns of victims;
(b) the provision and funding of research and services relating to victims. 1989, c. 14, s. 4; 1992, c. 36, s. 2.
5 (1) The Attorney General may appoint an advisory committee to advise the Attorney General on matters relating to victims and victim's rights.
(2) The advisory committee shall be composed of not less than seven and not more than fifteen members appointed by the Governor in Council, including at least two victims of crime and representation from law-enforcement agencies, prosecuting officers, the judiciary and members of the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society who are not employed by the Province and who have experience as defence counsel. 1989, c. 14, s. 5.
Victims' Assistance Fund
6 There is hereby established a fund to be known as the Victims' Assistance Fund. 1989, c. 14, s. 6.
7 (1) Where a fine is imposed on a person pursuant to a Provincial enactment, the person shall, in addition to the fine, pay to the court imposing the fine a victim-fine surcharge equal to the amount determined by multiplying the fine by a percentage prescribed by the regulations.
(2) Where a person is convicted of an offence but no fine is imposed in respect of the offence, the victim-fine surcharge pursuant to subsection (1) shall be as prescribed by the regulations.
(3) Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply
(a) where a fine is imposed on a person pursuant to the Young Persons Summary Proceedings Act;
(b) in respect of a parking offence; or
(c) to an enactment prescribed by the regulations as an enactment to which this Act does not apply.
(4) Where a person referred to in subsection (1) or (2) establishes, to the satisfaction of the court imposing the fine or entering the conviction, that undue hardship to that person or the dependants of that person would result from the imposition of a victim-fine surcharge, the court may, by order, exempt that person from the surcharge or part of the surcharge.
(5) The court shall provide reasons for an order made pursuant to subsection (4). 1989, c. 14, s. 7.
Treatment of certain funds
8 Money from any person or source made payable to the Fund shall be credited to the Fund and money received that is subject to trust conditions shall be disbursed pursuant to those conditions. 1989, c. 14, s. 8.
9 Subject to any trust conditions under which money is received into the Fund, the Governor in Council may authorize expenditures from the Fund for
(a) promotion and delivery of victim services;
(b) research into victim services, needs and concerns;
(c) distribution of information respecting victim services, needs and concerns;
(d) any other purpose the Governor in Council considers necessary for carrying out the purposes and promoting the rights set out in this Act. 1989, c. 14, s. 9.
Restriction on use of and grant from Fund
10 (1) The Fund shall not be used to provide direct compensation to individual victims.
(2) An application for a grant from the Fund shall be submitted to the Director for a recommendation as to whether the grant should be made. 1989, c. 14, s. 10; 1992, c. 36, s. 3.
Control of Fund
11 (1) The Fund shall be under the control and supervision of the Minister of Finance and shall be held in trust for the purposes of this Act in a special account in the Consolidated Fund of the Province.
(2) The Minister of Finance may make payments from the Fund in accordance with an authorization granted pursuant to Section 9.
(3) If at any time the balance to the credit of the Fund or the amount received subject to trust conditions is in excess of the amount that is required for the immediate purposes of this Act or the trust conditions, the Minister of Finance may invest the excess and any income therefrom shall be credited to the Fund.
(4) Money that is received for or otherwise credited to the Fund shall be deposited with the Minister of Finance for the account of the Fund.
(5) The Minister of Finance shall annually make a report to the House of Assembly showing the condition of the Fund. 1989, c. 14, s. 11.
Persons to whom compensation payable
11A (1) Where a person is injured or killed by an act or omission in the Province of another person occurring in or resulting from
(a) the commission of an offence within the description of any criminal offence mentioned in the Schedule to this Act;
(b) lawfully arresting or attempting to arrest any offender or suspected offender, or assisting a peace officer in making or attempting to make an arrest; or
(c) lawfully preventing or attempting to prevent the commission of any offence or suspected offence, or assisting a peace officer in preventing or attempting to prevent the commission of such offence or suspected offence,
the Director, on application to the Director in accordance with the regulations and on consideration of such evidence as the Director may require, may, as the Director considers proper, award compensation to
(d) the person injured or killed or that person's estate;
(e) a person who is responsible for the maintenance of the person injured;
(f) the dependants, or any of them, of the person killed;
(g) a person who was responsible for the maintenance of the person killed immediately before the person's death;
(h) repealed 2000, c. 4, s. 86.
(2) Subsection (1) does not apply in respect of the injury or death of a peace officer occurring under circumstances entitling the peace officer or the peace officer's dependants to compensation payable out of public money pursuant to any other Act of the Province or of the Parliament of Canada or payable by an organization that is supported in whole or in part by public funds.
(3) The Director may determine that a man and woman were spouses of each other for the purpose of this Act where the Director finds that
(a) although not married, they co-habited as husband and wife and were known as such in the community where they lived; and
(b) the relationship was of some permanence.
(4) Where a claim is for less than two hundred and fifty dollars or such lesser amount as determined by the regulations, no application shall be entertained by the Director and where the award determined is less than two hundred and fifty dollars or such lesser amount as is determined by the regulations no award shall be made. 1992, c. 36, s. 4; 2000, c. 4, s. 86.
Time for application
11B (1) An application for compensation shall be made within one year after the date of the injury or death but the Director, before or after the expiry of the one-year period, may extend the time for such further period as the Director considers warranted.
(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), an application for compensation in respect of a sexual assault may be made at any time if at the time of the sexual assault a person committing the sexual assault was
(a) in a position of trust or authority with respect to the injured person;
(b) a person upon whom the injured person was financially, emotionally, physically or otherwise dependent; or
(c) a person having charge of the injured person.
(3) The one-year period referred to in subsection (1) does not commence until
(a) where at the time of the injury the injured person had not attained the age of majority, the injured person attains the age of majority or has a guardian ad litem appointed, whichever is earlier; or
(b) where at the time of the injury the injured person is, or was rendered as a result of the injury,
(i) mentally incompetent,
(ii) of unsound mind, or
(iii) incapable of pursuing the claim because of a physical, mental or psychological condition, or physical restraint,
the condition terminates or the injured person has a guardian ad litem appointed, whichever is earlier. 1992, c. 36, s. 4.
11C repealed 2000, c. 4, s. 87.
Determination of award by Director
11D (1) In determining whether to award compensation and the amount thereof, the Director shall consider and take into account all such circumstances as the Director considers relevant to the making of the award and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, the Director shall consider and take into account any behaviour of the person injured or killed that directly or indirectly contributed to that person's injury or death.
(2) The Director may decline to make an award for compensation if the person injured does not co-operate fully with the Director and, in particular, if that person refuses to submit to a medical examination by a duly qualified medical practitioner appointed by the Director.
(3) The Director may decline to make an award for compensation if the person injured fails to report the offence within a reasonable period of time to, or refuses reasonable co-operation with, a law enforcement agency. 1992, c. 36, s. 4.
Deductions from award
11E Subject to the regulations, in determining the amount of compensation, if any, to be awarded to an applicant, the Director shall deduct
(a) any amount recovered from the person whose act or omission resulted in the injury or death, whether as damages or compensation, pursuant to an action at law or otherwise; and
(b) any benefits received or to be received
(i) by the person injured in respect of the injury,
(ii) by the person who is responsible for the maintenance of the person injured, or
(iii) by the applicant in respect of the death of the person killed, pursuant to an Act of the Parliament of Canada, of the Province or of any other province other than benefits under a pension plan or program pursuant to such an Act. 1992, c. 36, s. 4.
Manner of payment
11F The Director may award compensation to be paid in a lump sum or in periodic payments, or both, as the Director thinks fit. 1992, c. 36, s. 4.
11G repealed 2000, c. 4, s. 87.
Terms and conditions of award
11H (1) An award of compensation may be made subject to such terms and conditions as the Director thinks fit
(a) with respect to the payment, disposition, allotment or apportionment of the compensation; or
(b) as to the holding of the compensation or any part thereof in trust for the person injured or the dependants, or any of them, of the person killed whether as a fund for a class or otherwise.
(2) repealed 2000, c. 4, s. 88.
(3) If a person entitled to an award pursuant to this Act is under the age of majority, is of unsound mind or, in the opinion of the Director, is incapable of managing that person's own affairs, any amount payable to that person may be paid on that person's behalf to that person's parent, spouse or guardian or to the Public Trustee or may be paid to such other person or applied in such manner as the Director considers in the best interest of such person, and amounts so paid shall be received and administered by the payee for the benefit of the person. 1992, c. 36, s. 4; 2000, c. 4, s. 88.
11I repealed 2000, c. 4, s. 89.
11J repealed 2000, c. 4, s. 89.
11K Where the Director declines to make an award by reason of the exercise of the discretion of the Director, the Director shall give the reasons therefor to the applicant in writing. 1992, c. 36, s. 4.
11L (1) Where an applicant for compensation pursuant to this Act is dissatisfied with the decision of the Director, the applicant or such person may appeal that decision in accordance with the regulations.
(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), no appeal lies pursuant to subsection (1) in respect of any claim for less than two hundred and fifty dollars or such lesser amount as determined by the regulations and where the award determined upon appeal is less than two hundred and fifty dollars or such lesser amount as determined by the regulations no award shall be made upon appeal.
(3) repealed 2000, c. 4, s. 90.
(4) A decision made upon appeal is final except that an appeal lies therefrom to the Appeal Division of the Supreme Court on any question of law. 1992, c. 36, s. 4; 2000, c. 4, s. 90.
Exemption from legal process
11M Any compensation awarded pursuant to this Act is not subject to execution, garnishment, attachment, seizure or any other legal process and the right thereto is not assignable. 1992, c. 36, s. 4.
Preservation of rights
11N (1) Subject to subsections (2), (3) and (4), nothing in this Act affects the right of any person to recover from any other person, by civil proceedings, damages in respect of the injury or death.
(2) The Director is subrogated to all the rights of the person to whom payment is made pursuant to this Act to recover damages by civil proceedings in respect of the injury or death and may maintain an action in the name of such person against any person against whom such action lies, and any amount recovered by the Director shall be applied to
(a) firstly, payment of the cost actually incurred in the action and in levying execution; and
(b) secondly, a reimbursement to the Director of the value of the compensation awarded,
and the balance, if any, shall be paid to the person whose rights were subrogated.
(3) Any settlement or release does not bar the rights of the Director pursuant to subsection (2) unless the Director has concurred therein.
(4) An applicant for or a person awarded compensation shall forthwith notify the Director of any action that that person has brought against the offender who caused the injury or death of the person. 1992, c. 36, s. 4.
11O (1) Compensation shall be paid out of the Consolidated Fund of the Province.
(2) Any money to which the Director is entitled pursuant to Section 11N shall be paid into the Consolidated Fund of the Province. 1992, c. 36, s. 4.
11P (1) Subject to the approval of the Governor in Council, the Attorney General, acting on behalf of Her Majesty in right of the Province, may enter into agreements with any minister of the Crown, acting on behalf of Her Majesty in right of Canada, respecting, subject to such terms and conditions as are agreed upon, the payment by the Government of Canada to the Province of such part of the expenditures required for the purpose of this Act as is agreed upon.
(2) Power to enter into any agreement pursuant to subsection (1) includes power, subject to approval of the Governor in Council, to amend any such agreement from time to time.
(3) An agreement entered into pursuant to Section 35 of Chapter 83 of the Revised Statutes, 1989, the Compensation for Victims of Crime Act, is continued and is deemed to be an agreement pursuant to this Section. 1992, c. 36, s. 4.
11Q repealed 2000, c. 4, s. 91.
11R The Director is subrogated in place of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board to all rights of any person to whom payment was or is made pursuant to the Compensation for Victims of Crime Act, and that Act applies thereto mutatis mutandis. 1992, c. 36, s. 4.
Where right infringed or denied
12 (1) No proceeding in respect of an offence shall be delayed or held to be invalid on the grounds that a right granted by this Act has been infringed or denied or a provision of this Act has not been complied with, nor shall the court, on those grounds, make an order respecting the conduct of that proceeding or the validity or the propriety of an order, conviction, sentence or any other thing done in that proceeding.
(2) No order, conviction or sentence may be appealed on the grounds that a right granted by this Act has been infringed or denied. 1989, c. 14, s. 12.
Liability for activities pursuant to Act
13 There is no cause of action for anything arising, directly or indirectly, out of anything done or omitted to be done pursuant to this Act. 1989, c. 14, s. 13.
14 (1) The Governor in Council may make regulations
(a) prescribing a percentage for the purpose of determining the amount of the victim-fine surcharge;
(b) prescribing the victim-fine surcharge for the purpose of subsection (2) of Section 7;
(c) prescribing the enactments to which the victim-fine surcharge does not apply;
(ca) respecting the manner of making and the form of an application for compensation pursuant to this Act;
(cb) requiring the production of records and reports, including medical and police records and reports, by any person to the Director;
(cc) prescribing the fees payable for the preparation of reports, including medical reports, for the Director;
(cd) prescribing the maximum compensation that may be awarded in respect of any item of or class of expense, loss, damages or maintenance;
(ce) lowering the minimum amount of a claim for compensation or of an appeal in respect thereof;
(cf) designating certain payments or amounts, or certain classes of payments or amounts, received or to be received by a person injured or the dependants of a person killed that shall not be considered by the Director in awarding compensation pursuant to this Act;
(cg) prescribing pecuniary loss or damages in respect of which compensation may be awarded;
(ch) designating a tribunal or a member of a tribunal for the purpose of hearing appeals pursuant to this Act;
(ci) respecting appeals including, but not limited to, authority, jurisdiction, quorum, powers and immunities of the person or tribunal hearing an appeal, forms, notices, parties, witnesses, subpoenas, evidence, counsel, restricting openness of hearings and prohibiting publication of evidence in appropriate cases, and procedure;
(cj) adding to the Schedule to this Act a description of any criminal offence;
(ck) deleting from the Schedule to this Act a description of any criminal offence set out therein;
(cl) prescribing any item or class of expense, loss, damages or maintenance for which compensation may be awarded by the Director;
(cm) respecting interim payments;
(d) defining any word or expression used but not defined in this Act;
(e) respecting any matter necessary or advisable to carry out the intent and purpose of this Act.
(2) The exercise by the Governor in Council of the authority contained in subsection (1) shall be regulations within the meaning of the Regulations Act. 1989, c. 14, s. 14; 1992, c. 36, s. 5; 2000, c. 4, s. 92.
15 This Act comes into force on and not before such day as the Governor in Council orders and declares by proclamation. 1989, c. 14, s. 15.
Proclaimed - November 28, 1989
In force - January 1, 1990
Section of Description of Offence
65 taking part in a riot
76 hijacking an aircraft
77 endangering safety of aircraft
78 taking on board civilian aircraft offensive weapons or
80 failure to take reasonable care in respect of explosives
where death or bodily harm results
81 causing injury with intent by explosive substance
86 dangerous use of firearms
151 sexual interference
152 invitation to sexual touching
153 sexual exploitation
170 parent or guardian procuring sexual activity
180 common nuisance causing harm
215 failure to provide necessaries for preservation of life
218 abandoning child
220 causing death by criminal negligence
221 causing bodily harm by criminal negligence
239 attempted murder
244 causing bodily harm with intent
245 administering noxious substances (poison)
246 overcoming resistance to commission of an offence
247 setting traps likely to cause death or harm
248 interfering with transportation facilities
249(1)(b) dangerous operation of vessels
262 impeding attempt to save life
267 assault with weapon or causing bodily harm
268 aggravated assault
269 unlawfully causing bodily harm
270 assaulting a police officer
271 sexual assault
272 sexual assault with a weapon, threats to a third party
or causing bodily harm
273 aggravated sexual assault
279.1 hostage taking
280 abduction of a person under 16
281 abduction of a person under 14
423 intimidation by violence
430(2) mischief causing actual danger to life
436 causing fire resulting in loss of life
437 false fire alarm
1992, c. 36, s. 6.