Frequently Asked Questions
The following is a list of some frequently asked questions:
What is the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board?
Who can apply?
How do I apply for compensation?
Can I file an application on behalf of another person?
Is there a time-limit for filing my application with the Board?
Do I need a lawyer or legal representative to apply to the Board?
What happens after I send in my application?
Will the person who committed the crime find out about my application?
Do I have to attend a hearing?
Where are the hearings held?
What will the Board consider when it makes a decision on my claim?
What happens after my hearing is held?
What happens if I move or change my phone number after I file my application?
Am I giving up my right to sue the person who committed the crime?
Can I receive compensation before my hearing is held?
What is the maximum award the Board can pay?
What types of things can the Board pay for?
What types of things will the Board not pay for?
What happens if I am also receiving benefits from Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) or Ontario Works (OW)
Does the Board need to know if I received (or will receive) other monies for this injury or death?
What if my circumstances change after my hearing and I need more treatment?
Who can I call if I have more questions?
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Board is an administrative tribunal that is governed by the Compensation for Victims of Crime Act.
The role of the Board is to assess financial compensation to those who qualify under the Act; that is:
- victims; or
- the family members of deceased victims
of violent crimes committed in the Province of Ontario.
We are committed to the principles of the Victims' Bill of Rights, 1995, in that all victims who come before the Board are treated with courtesy, compassion and respect for their personal dignity and privacy.
While we recognize that no amount of money can ever make up for the harm suffered by victims, we believe that compensation can play a vital role in their recovery as it is may assist them in meeting their financial, physical and emotional needs. Our goal is to ease the financial burden experienced by victims of violent crime in a sensitive and respectful way.
It depends on whether there was an injury or a death.
- For an Injury:
Anyone injured as a result of violent crime in Ontario can apply. This includes those hurt or affected while making an arrest or assisting a peace officer with law enforcement duties, or while trying to prevent a crime.
Violent crimes may include firearm offences, poisoning, arson and other offences such as assault, sexual assault, domestic assault (e.g. abuse by a spouse/partner), child physical assault, child sexual abuse, etc.
The injuries may either be physical or psychological. However, the injuries must be more than merely transient or trifling in nature in order to be awarded compensation.
If a victim is under the age of 18, or unable to manage his/her personal affairs, a legal guardian must make the application.
- For a Death:
If a person died as a result of violent crime in Ontario, or while making an arrest or assisting a peace officer with law enforcement duties, or while trying to prevent a crime, any family members that were dependent on the deceased person or who paid expenses as a result of the death (including expenses to care for one or more children of the deceased person or expenses for bereavement counselling) can apply for compensation.
A person can also apply for compensation if he/she witnessed or came upon the scene of the crime that resulted in the death and meets the criteria for a finding of "mental or nervous shock."
If a claimant is under the age of 18, or unable to manage his/her personal affairs, a legal guardian must make the application.
For more information, click on Who's Eligible.
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 from our website, or you can call, fax or mail the Board and an application form will be mailed out to you.
Once completed, send the original application form (typed or printed in ink) to the address shown on the form, along with any supporting documents. Faxed or photocopied application forms are not accepted. It is important to keep a copy of any document you send us, as the documents will not be returned.
For more information, click on How To Apply.
Yes. However, you can only do so if:
- you are a parent or legal guardian of a victim/claimant who is a minor (under the age of 18); or
- you have the legal authority to make decisions for a victim/claimant because he/she cannot make decisions for himself/herself (e.g. due to mental/physical incapacity).
Yes. An application for compensation must be made within two years of the date of the incident. However, we can extend the two-year limitation when it is warranted, but you will have to request such an extension and explain your reason(s) for the delay in the application form.
Click on When Do I File My Application for more information.
While it is not necessary for you to have a lawyer, agent or paralegal, you may choose to have one.
Once you hire a legal representative, we will communicate only with your lawyer, agent or paralegal.
When we receive your application form, we assign it a file number. We will inform you of that number, and you should write it on any further documents you send to us. We may contact you to ensure that the application form is complete. We require information and documents to support the claim. These documents may include receipts, medical or counselling reports, police reports, court files and so on. In some instances, we can assist in obtaining documents.
When we determine that the file is substantially complete, we will schedule either an electronic, oral or documentary hearing. We will tell you the time, location and type of hearing we will hold. You are responsible for ensuring that we have your current contact information (e.g. telephone numbers and mailing address).
Click on What's Next? for more information.
In cases where there has been a criminal conviction, we will refer to the person who committed the crime as an "offender." In all other circumstances, we will refer to him/her as the "alleged offender."
We will advise you whether the (alleged) offender will participate in the hearing process. It is important to understand that, by law, the (alleged) offender is entitled to be notified of a Board hearing and may choose to participate.
If you have concerns about our notification of an (alleged) offender or any disclosure of personal information to the (alleged) offender, you must tell us during the application process.
If your claim can be assessed based on written evidence alone, you won't need to attend a hearing. One of our adjudicators will make a decision based on the information in the file. This is called a documentary hearing.
If an oral hearing is needed, you must be present. During an oral hearing, the adjudicators will ask questions about the incident, injuries and associated costs.
Oral hearings are generally open to the public, but may be closed if:
- there are public safety concerns,
- there are ongoing criminal proceedings, or
- 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.
Victims/claimants who are minors (under the age of 18) are not required to attend the hearing.
In certain cases you or others may participate in a hearing by telephone while the adjudicators are present at a hearing site. An electronic hearing is generally held when the Board determines there is good reason not to have the parties in the same room. The Board may combine an electronic and oral hearing in one proceeding.
The Board holds hearings in 19 locations across the Province:
Belleville, Cornwall, Hamilton, Kenora, Kingston, Kitchener, London, North Bay, Orillia, Ottawa, Peterborough, Sault Ste Marie, Sioux Lookout, St. Catharines, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, Timmins, Toronto, Windsor.
When deciding whether to make an award for compensation and the amount of the award, we must consider the following:
- whether a violent crime under the Criminal Code or an arrest has occurred, or whether the injured/deceased person was assisting a peace officer with his/her law enforcement duties, or trying to prevent a crime from occurring. The Board considers the provisions of the Criminal Code in effect at the time of the incident,
- whether there is enough reliable information available to support your claim,
- all of the relevant circumstances, including any behaviour of the injured/deceased person that caused or contributed to the injuries or death,
- whether you have refused reasonable cooperation with or failed to report the offence promptly to the police,
- whether you have received any benefits paid by private insurance, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board or any other source, as a result of the crime (not including Ontario Works or Ontario Disability Support Program).
Following the hearing, you will receive written notice from the Board informing you of the adjudicator's decision. If you are awarded compensation, we will attach a cheque to the decision. If your claim for compensation is denied, the reason(s) for the denial will be described in the decision. You will also be provided with options if you wish to ask for a review or appeal of the Board's decision.
For more information, click on What If I Don't Agree With the Decision?
You must inform us if your contact information changes while we are processing your claim to ensure that we can send documents to the correct address and can contact you directly, if necessary. If we are unable to reach you by phone or mail, your application may be dismissed.
Complete the Notice of Change of Address and submit it to the Board as soon as possible.
No. Our process does not interfere with your right to sue the (alleged) offender(s) in a civil action. However, if you are successful in a civil action, you must reimburse the Board for any compensation you receive from us.
If you need immediate financial or other assistance, call the Victim Support Line toll-free at 1-888-579-2888 (if you live in the Greater Toronto Area, call 416-314-2447) and press Option 1 to find out about other services available in your community (e.g. Victim Quick Response Program).
You may seek an interim award from the Board prior to a hearing for such things as support, funeral expenses and/or medical/therapy expenses (s.14 of the Act). We may exercise our discretion to make such an award only in exceptional circumstances when a victim/claimant can demonstrate an urgent need for the funds prior to a hearing. To be considered eligible to receive compensation before a hearing, you must provide sufficient documentary evidence, such as police and/or medical records, to lead us to conclude that an award would likely be made at the time of the hearing. If you wish to apply for an interim award, please contact us toll free at 1-800-372-7463 (if you live in the Greater Toronto Area, call 416-326-2900).
When one person is injured or killed as a result of a violent crime, the maximum award that we may pay as a lump sum is $25,000
When more than one person has been injured or killed as the result of a violent crime, we can award a maximum of $150,000 as a lump sum to all of the claimants.
Ongoing monthly periodic awards can be made in certain cases when there is an ongoing financial loss (e.g. lost income, child care expenses). When a periodic award is made, the amount of the lump sum component cannot exceed $12,500. The maximum amount that we may award as a periodic payment is $1,000 per month. Periodic payments cannot exceed a total of $365,000. Periodic awards are reviewed on an annual basis to determine whether there is still a need for the funds.
The Board may award compensation for any of the following:
- treatment expenses
- travel to treatment expenses
- loss of income
- pain and suffering
- funeral and burial expenses
- bereavement counselling expenses
- loss of financial support for the dependants of a deceased victim
- costs associated with supporting a child born as a result of a sexual assault
We require original receipts and/or supporting documents before we make such an award. For more information, click on What's Covered?
We do not award compensation for:
- crimes committed outside the Province of Ontario,
- damaged, lost or stolen property,
- motor vehicle incidents (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,
- deaths resulting from suicide,
- pain and suffering for grief and sorrow (however, we may award compensation for bereavement counselling expenses),
- 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,
- malicious prosecution of accused persons.
What happens if I am also receiving benefits from Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) or Ontario Works (OW)?
If you receive an award from us while you are also receiving benefits from either the Ontario Disability Support Program or Ontario Works, our award may have an impact on those benefits. We recommend that you contact your ODSP/OW caseworker for more information.
For more information, see ODSP/OW Fact Sheet
Yes. You must inform us of any other compensation you have received or will receive in respect of the injury or death (e.g. life insurance, WSIB, CPP benefits, etc.). We must consider this information when we are deciding whether or not to award compensation and assessing the amount of compensation.
If you are successful in a civil action in a related matter, or if you receive insurance proceeds, or compensation from the WSIB or any other government agency for the injury or death, you must reimburse the Board for any compensation you received from us.
After a hearing, we may vary an order for payment in certain instances where there has been a change in circumstances. A variation can only be granted if an award was made initially at the original hearing.
For more information, see Section 25 Fact Sheet
You may contact us toll free at 1-800-372-7463 (if you live in the Greater Toronto Area, call 416-326-2900) or click on Contact Us.
You may also call the Victim Support Line (VSL), through FindHelp. VSL provides a province-wide, toll-free telephone information line providing access to information for victims, in the language of their choice, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you would like to find out about services in your area, or would like to inquire about organizations that might be willing to assist with the completion of your application, call the Victim Support Line at 1-888-579-2888 (if you live in the Greater Toronto Area, call 416-314-2447) and choose option 1.