(Quebec) The Minister of Justice, Simon Jolin-Barrette, says he is “very touched” that his reform of the compensation scheme for victims of crime (IVAC) has been described as “heartless”, a qualifier that he rejects.
On the first day of the clause-by-clause consideration of Bill 84, An Act to help victims of criminal offenses and promote their recovery, Mr. Jolin-Barrette made a plea in favor of his reform, pointing the finger at his liberal and PQ predecessors who never “put in so much money as [ce] that we propose ”.
“Are there any adjustments to be made in the bill? I think so. We will discuss it together to do it. But we should not forget that to date, there are hundreds of victims of future sexual assault or sexual exploitation who are not covered. [par le régime]. With the reform, they will be covered, ”continued the Minister at the Red Room in Parliament.
Last Friday, all the opposition parties and aid and defense groups for victims of crime, sexual assault and domestic violence “begged” the Minister of Justice to postpone the process. detailed study of the bill, which nevertheless begins on Tuesday. These groups deplored having lacked time to analyze the bill of 190 articles, tabled a few days before the holiday break in December.
“In parliamentary committee, I listened to the different groups. […] I can assure you that I begin the detailed study in a collaborative spirit and that I will be open and permeable [aux propositions] oppositions, ”said the Minister of Justice on Tuesday.
The Minister lists the advances
In his preliminary remarks on Tuesday, Simon Jolin-Barrette made the list of “significant advances” that he said is the reform of the IVAC, historically claimed. He notably recalled that Bill 84 abolishes the limitation period in matters of sexual assault, domestic violence and violence suffered during childhood.
” [Cela] ensures that victims of sexual assault, [peu importe la date quand] they [ont] been assaulted, can be compensated, accompanied and supported, ”he said. Nearly 80% of compensation claims at the IVAC are related to sexual assault, said the minister.
The proposed reform of the IVAC system also provides that victims of crimes committed outside Quebec will henceforth be compensated. Bill 84 also abolishes the list of admissible offenses, deemed obsolete, to admit to the IVAC all those who are victims of crimes against the person.
The reform of the IVAC system represents a financial effort “of nearly 200 million additional” from the government of Quebec, said Simon Jolin-Barrette.
Opposition on the front line
In their opening remarks on Tuesday, opposition parties once again lamented the speed at which IVAC reform is advancing through the legislative process. They also returned to the case of people like Lau Ga (fictitious name), a victim of sexual exploitation who would not have access to IVAC if the reform is adopted, while the crime of which she was victim was not was not recognized by the scheme prior to the proposed modernization.
“I cannot remake the past. However, there is one thing that we can do by adopting the bill, and that is to ensure that crimes that were not covered [le soient] now, including that of sexual exploitation, ”Simon Jolin-Barrette had replied in the past.