Ontario Introducing Legislation to Support Victims of Crime and Enhance Community Safety

Province proposing changes to Victims’ Bill of Rights, Cannabis Control Act and Coroners Act

November 30, 2023

TORONTO — Today, the Ontario government will introduce proposed legislation, that, if passed, would make it easier for more victims of crime to sue an offender for emotional distress. The proposed Enhancing Access to Justice Act, 2023 would also protect children and youth from cannabis, enhance community safety and make court and government operations more efficient.

“We’re putting victims of crime first, protecting children and keeping our communities safe,” said Attorney General Doug Downey. “Through proposed changes to the Victims’ Bill of Rights and the Cannabis Control Act, our government is increasing access to justice for victims of crime, holding offenders accountable, and protecting children and youth.”

The proposed legislation, if passed, together with supporting regulatory changes, will:

  • Update the Victims’ Bill of Rights, 1995 to make it easier for victims of crime (such as victims of terrorism, vehicle theft, human trafficking related crime and hate related crimes targeting places of worship) to sue an offender for emotional distress and related bodily harm.
  • Protect children and youth by banning the growth of recreational cannabis in homes that offer childcare services.
  • Amend the Coroners Act to allow for faster and more meaningful and relevant recommendations for construction-related death investigations.

“We’re taking steps to bring justice and closure to family members of construction workers who have lost their lives on the job,” said Solicitor General Michael Kerzner. “We’re also updating the Fire Protection and Prevention Act to give fire departments the tools they need to protect communities by strengthening compliance with Ontario’s rigorous fire regulations.”

If passed, the Enhancing Access to Justice Act, 2023, would also update the Courts of Justice Act and other statutes, including by limiting delays in a child protection trial when a judge is appointed to another court, to ensure that court operations are more readily accessible to Ontarians.