There are various ways to seek compensation or restitution for injury or damage suffered as the victim of a criminal act. This document provides a brief overview of the possibilities, depending on individual situations. Assistance in seeking compensation or restitution is available from your local crime victim assistance centre (CAVAC).
A person who is injured - physically or mentally - as the victim of a crime against the person is eligible for compensation under the Crime Victims Compensation Act.
If the victim dies as the result of the crime, the victim’s spouse, dependents or parents, if the victim was a minor, may receive the compensation provided for in the Act (funeral expenses, benefits, etc.).
In addition, since March 22, 2007, psychotherapeutic rehabilitation services have been available for the close relations of a crime victim, as defined by the Crime Victims Compensation Act, if the crime was committed after May 9, 2006.
The application for benefits must be made within two years of the date of the material damage, or of the victim's injury or death, for crimes committed on or after May 23, 2013.
For crimes committed before May 23, 2013, the time limit is one year.
The Crime Victims Compensation Act does not apply in the case of crimes against property such as housebreaking, robbery without violence, vandalism or fraud, or in the case of a hit-and-run accident.
Application forms to obtain compensation are available from the Direction de l'indemnisation des victimes d'actes criminels at:
1199, rue de Bleury, 5e étage
Case postale 6056, succursale Centre-ville
Montréal (Québec) H3C 4E1
Telephone, Montréal area: 514 906-3019
Toll-free: 1 800 561-4822
The forms, and assistance from a resource person, are also available at all CAVACs.
If you are injured during a crime committed at your place of work, you are eligible for compensation under the Act respecting industrial accidents and occupational diseases administered by the Commission de la santé et de la sécurité du travail du Québec (CNESST).
Your employer must be notified immediately of the injury, and must in turn notify the CNESST.
If an employee dies as the result of a crime committed in the workplace, the employee’s spouse and dependents may receive death benefits. The employer must notify the CNESST immediately after learning of the death. An application for compensation must be made to the CNESST by a beneficiary or representative of the employee within six months of the date of death.
After more than 14 days off work, the worker, or the worker’s beneficiary or representative, must complete the CNESST form used to make a claim within six months from the date of the injury or death.
For more information, contact your regional CNESST office at the address listed in the blue pages of the telephone directory in the Québec government section under the Workplace Health and Safety heading. You can also get information from the CNESST website.
A victim of crime who sustains bodily injury in an accident involving an automobile, may be eligible for compensation under the Automobile Insurance Act, administered by the SAAQ. If the victim dies, the victim’s spouse, dependents and, in some cases, parents may receive compensation under the Act.
You must contact the SAAQ within three years from the date of the accident, death, or appearance of a bodily injury caused by the accident.
Damage to property
Damage to property is covered by your liability insurance, if any. However, following a hit-and-run accident, the SAAQ may pay compensation if the victim’s liability insurance does not cover the type of damage caused.
If you are involved in a hit-and-run accident, you must report it to the police within 48 hours and cannot have your vehicle repaired before the SAAQ has assessed the damage. You must file an application for compensation with the SAAQ within 60 days of the accident.
The SAAQ can be contacted at:
Phone: 418 643-7620 (Québec)
514 873-7620 (Montréal)
1 800 361-7620 (other areas, toll-free)
If you wish to terminate your lease because the violent behaviour of a spouse or former spouse, or because a sexual aggression, even by a third party, threatens your safety or the safety of a child living with you, you must send your landlord a written notice accompanied by an attestation from a public officer stating that the termination of the lease is a measure that will ensure your safety or the safety of a child living with you. To obtain the attestation, you must fill out the form Request for an attestation for the purpose of resiliating a lease on grounds of violence or sexual assault.
After taking the oath or solemn affirmation (see Schedule 1 of the form), you must send the duly completed form to the office of the criminal and penal prosecuting attorneys (Bureau des procureurs aux poursuites criminelles et pénales) at the courthouse serving your municipality. If you made a complaint to the Montréal police service concerning the facts stated in your request, you must send your request to the Montréal Municipal Court. Your request will be processed by one of the public officers designated by the Minister of Justice.
If the perpetrator of the crime of which you were the victim is known, you may sue for damages before the civil courts, whether or not the perpetrator has been prosecuted for a criminal offence or found guilty.
If your claim does not exceed $15,000, you may go through the small claims division of the Court of Québec. The fees are minimal and you must act for yourself, without a lawyer.
It is important to note that in many cases it is necessary, even essential, to send a formal demand before undertaking legal proceedings. In fact, your action may fail if you cannot prove that you have sent a formal notice.
You may ask a lawyer to draw up a formal notice for you.
If the amount of your claim is greater than $15,000, you should consult a lawyer. You can verify whether you are eligible for legal aid by contacting your local Community Legal Centre.
The proceedings must be instituted within three years of the date on which the damage or injury was caused or the date on which it first became apparent.
For more information, contact the clerk of the Civil Division of the Court of Québec at the courthouse where the proceedings will be instituted.
If you sustain property damage or bodily injury as the result of a crime, and if the offender is found guilty of causing the damage or injury, the judge may, when pronouncing sentence, order the offender to make restitution. A restitution order may be made on the judge’s initiative or at the request of the Prosecuting Attorney. In either case, it is up to the judge to decide whether a restitution order is appropriate.
If you do not receive payment from the offender, you may, depending on the amount set in the restitution order, have the order registered at the clerk’s office of the Civil Division of the Court of Québec or the clerk’s office of the Superior Court. Registering the order will ensure that it can be enforced as if it were a judgment by a civil court.
It is important to note that a restitution order in a criminal case may only be made if the accused is found guilty, if a suitable amount of damages can be easily determined without turning the trial into a civil suit, and if the judge considers it appropriate.
To make a request for restitution, the applicant must complete the form Statement on Restitution and include a copy of all the required supporting documents.
The criminal and penal prosecuting attorney will, on request, provide more information about restitution orders.
Victim Impact Statement
The Victim Impact Statement allows the victim of an offence to describe, in his or her own words, the impact of an offence.
The victim may describe, in writing, the physical or emotional harm, property damage, economic loss or other impacts caused by the offence.
The harm, damage, loss or other impacts reported may be:
- Emotional harm: trauma, insomnia, fear, anxiety, etc.;
- Physical harm: bruising, injury, health impacts, etc.;
- Economic loss: lost wages, cost of additional security measures, replacement, repair or cleaning of property, etc.;
- Safety fears: concerns about contact with the offender or between family members and the offender, etc.
The victim must complete the form Victim Impact Statement (SJ-753B).
Important information concerning the impact statement
- The impact statement may be considered by the court when determining the offender’s sentence.
- The prosecutor, and the offender or counsel for the offender, receive a copy of the impact statement after the offender is found guilty.
- The impact statement becomes public once it has been filed in court and may be consulted by any person (citizen, judge, lawyer, offender, journalist, etc.).
- The victim may be cross-examined on the content of the impact statement during the court proceedings.
- The impact statement may be used by correctional services and the Parole Board of Canada to make decisions concerning the offender, if the offender is sentenced to a custodial sentence.
- The impact statement may be used by the Commission d’examen des troubles mentaux when the accused is found not criminally responsible on account of mental disorder.
- The impact statement must be filed with the court after the offender is found guilty.
Presentation of the impact statement by an individual.
A victim may ask to present his or her impact statement in person before the court during the sentencing hearing.
For this purpose, the victim may complete the form Presentation of the victim impact statement to the court for the purpose of sentencing and notice of change of address (SJ-754A).
It is important to note that in some circumstances, the court may determine the sentence in the absence of the victim, even if the victim has asked to be present.
Change of address during the court proceedings
A victim who changes address during the court proceedings must file his or her new contact information.
For this purpose, the victim must complete the form Presentation of the victim impact statement to the court for the purpose of sentencing and notice of change of address (SJ-754A).