- 1 CRIMINAL INJURIES COUNSELING PROGRAM
- 2 NOVA SCOTIA INCOME ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
- 3 SERVICES OFFERED BY THE MINISTRY OF COMMUNITY SERVICES
- 4 WORKERS COMPENSATION BOARD OF NOVA SCOTIA
- 5 FACILITY ASSOCIATION
There are a few ways that victims of crime can seek financial assistance in Nova Scotia. The province has a specific program for victims of crime called the Criminal Injuries Counselling Program, as well as other programs available to the general population that victims may access if they are in financial need. All of these programs are listed and discussed below. If you have specific questions about any of these programs, you can find contact information for each below as well.
CRIMINAL INJURIES COUNSELING PROGRAM
The province of Nova Scotia administers the Criminal Injuries Counselling Program. The program provides counselling to eligible persons who were victims of crimes that occurred in the province of Nova Scotia.
Those eligible to apply to the Criminal Injuries Counselling Program are:
- Those who were direct victims of offences such physical assault, sexual assault, or robbery; the immediate family members of a person who was murdered; and individuals injured while trying to stop someone from committing a crime
- Those who have submitted their application to the Program within one year from the date of the crime (exceptions do exist, victims of sexual offences by someone in a place of power or authority have no time limit, and children have until they turn 20 years old). The time limit may be extended however if there were circumstances that had prevented the victim from applying
- Those who have cooperated fully after reporting the crime to police but a charge or conviction is not required to apply
- Those who have cooperated fully after reporting the crime to police. It is important to understand that a charge or conviction is not required to apply, however secondary victims, those who are injured indirectly as a result of a crime, may also be eligible to apply for counselling.
Secondary victims must demonstrate that they suffered nervous shock in the form of post traumatic stress disorder as a result of either hearing or witnessing the commission of a crime against another person or learning of the commission of a crime against another person. The nervous shock must be found to be a direct result of the crime and must be confirmed by medical documentation. Immediate family members of deceased victims and children exposed to domestic/intimate partner violence are not required to provide medical documentation and are effectively treated as direct victims would be.
*This program only covers counselling costs.
ELIGIBLE COSTS AND EXPENSES
Victims who meet the above qualifications are eligible for counselling from an approved counsellor in their area, to a maximum amount of $2,000, in the two year period from the date the award was made. Immediate family members of homicide victims are eligible for counselling awards up to $4,000 from the date of the award until one year after the prosecution is complete. The counselling may be in the form of individual counselling, group counselling, or other approved therapeutic approaches in accordance with a treatment plan.
The maximum amount the program will pay is $85/hour. This translates into approximately 23 sessions with a counselling award of $2,000, and 47 with an award of $4,000. Victims may choose an approved counsellor that charges more than the $85/hour maximum, but it would then be up to them to cover the extra cost. The majority of victims choose counsellors who charge the $85 rate or less.
Application Forms are available online, at the regional offices of the Provincial Victim Services Program and at the Criminal Injuries Counselling Program office in Halifax. The application is fairly straight forward and should not take too long to complete. Completed applications should be mailed to the program office in Halifax when complete:
5151 Terminal Road, PO Box 7
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Anyone 18 years of age or less may have someone else complete the application for them on their behalf if they are unable to. There is also a section on the application for family members of a deceased victim of a crime to complete.
Decisions on applications to the program are generally made within 40 to 60 days from the time the application was received. In situations of homicide, due to the very serious nature of the case, applications can be approved the same day the applications are received so that counselling may be accessed immediately.
For anyone needing assistance in completing the application please contact the Halifax office at 902-424-4651 or toll free at 1-888-470-0773. More information can also be found on the Criminal Injuries Counselling Program Website.
APPEALING A DECISION
Decisions on Criminal Injuries Counselling Program applications may be appealed within 30 days of receiving a decision or award to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board. Appeals will only be heard on matters of law or the jurisdiction of the Director in making her/his decision. Those interested in appealing a decision may contact the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board at 1-855-442-4448 to obtain the appeal form. The board shall conduct an appeal hearing which is generally open to the public and then make its decision. Decisions of the appeal board may also be appealed to the Appeal Division of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia on any question of law.
NOVA SCOTIA INCOME ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
The Income Assistance Program provides people in financial need with assistance with basic needs such as rent, clothing, food and utilities. The program may also help with other needs such as child care, dental care and eye glasses. Victims of crime who are unable to work or who become disabled as a result of a crime and cannot meet financial obligations to pay for their personal needs might consider the Income Assistance Program as a source for assistance.
To qualify for income assistance you must be:
- At least 19 years of age (although in some circumstances, you may also be eligible if you are between 16 and 18 years of age)
- Live in Nova Scotia
- Be in financial need (essentially you cannot pay for your basic needs)
Income assistance is also available in emergencies to provide assistance right away. Some examples of emergencies eligible for immediate emergency income assistance are: no food, in danger of losing one’s residence, or assistance is required to protect your or your dependents health and safety.
Those who are ineligible for income assistance in Nova Scotia are Aboriginals living on reserves (if you live on a reserve you must contact your band office for support), those under the age of 19, and those with income higher than expenses are to meet basic needs.
If you are between 16 to 18 years of age, you may be eligible if:
- Your home is not safe for you to live in
- You and your parents or guardians have conflicts that mean you cannot come back to live in your home
- You have no parent or guardian
- You must go to school or take training for work and live in a supervised home or apartment while you are on Income Assistance.
You will be assigned a caseworker who is responsible to look at your situation regularly to determine your ongoing eligibility.
To apply for income assistance, contact the nearest office of Community Services to set up an appointment. To find your local office please contact 1-877-424-1177 or in Halifax 902-424-4150. You can also go to Community Services Nova Scotia Website and click on your region to get the local number for Community Services in your area.
Tell the person who answers the phone at the local office that you want to apply for income assistance. The worker will request you to provide them with the following information: bank statements, SIN, health card number, and any other additional information that would help the worker understand your financial situation.
After this call, the next step is meeting with a case worker. The case worker will request you bring several documents including things such as health cards, a copy of your lease, income tax assessment forms, and bills. At the first meeting the case worker will complete an intake form using the information you provide.
Once the caseworker has collected all the information a decision usually takes between three and seven days. You will receive a letter in the mail with the decision and the reasons for the decision.
APPEALING A DECISION
There are two steps to the appeal process, first is the administrative review where a person new to your file will review it and make sure that the previous case worker did all the right things to arrive at that decision.
The second step is an appeal hearing where, if the applicant is still unsatisfied with the decision after the administrative review, they may write to Assistance Appeal Board to appeal the decision. The board listens to your side of the story and then decides if the decision should be altered.
More information about how to appeal a decision can be found online, along with all of the necessary contact information and forms that you will need to fill out.
SERVICES OFFERED BY THE MINISTRY OF COMMUNITY SERVICES
There are a number of additional support services offered through the Ministry of Community Services, such as independent living support for those with disabilities, employment assistance programs, affordable housing and repairs, and the Nova Scotia child benefit for low income families.
Further, additional services are available on a national level including Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) Survivor Benefits, CPP Disability Benefits, and various tax credits.
Please contact the District Office of Community Services nearest you at 1-877-424- 1177 or in Halifax 902-424-4150. You can also go to Community Services Nova Scotia Website and click on your region to get the local number for Community Services in your area.
For more information on these programs, visit the Community Services Nova Scotia Website.
WORKERS COMPENSATION BOARD OF NOVA SCOTIA
Workers, who suffer a personal injury that arises out of and in the course of employment, are eligible for compensation from the Worker’s Compensation Board of Nova Scotia. In most cases, victims of criminal acts that occurred while on the job would be eligible for compensation.
In cases where the a personal injury is attributable wholly or primarily to the serious and willful misconduct of the worker, the Board will not pay compensation to the worker unless the injury results in death or serious and permanent impairment, or is likely, in the opinion of the Board, to result in serious and permanent impairment.
It should be noted that benefits are payable only for the proportion of a worker’s permanent impairment or loss of earnings which can reasonably be attributed to the work-related injury. If some proportion of the worker’s permanent impairment or long-term loss of earnings has resulted from a cause other than the work-related injury, the level of Permanent Impairment Benefits and Extended Earnings Replacement Benefits may be reduced.
TYPES OF FINANCIAL BENEFITS AVAILABLE
- Income Replacement Benefits: these benefits can be either short term or long term, and will depend on the extent of your injury, and whether it resulted in a permanent impairment. If it does result in a permanent impairment, workers may be eligible for additional benefits. More information on short and long term benefits, including the calculation methods used to determine compensation rates, can be found online.
- Health Care Benefits: The Board covers the cost of most health care services to help in the worker’s recovery from the workplace injury. Health care includes physicians’ treatment, prescription medicine, orthotic/prosthetic devices, physical rehabilitation, surgery, repair or replacement of eyeglasses and dentures damaged when the injury occurred, and hospitalization.
- Survivor Benefits: a deceased worker’s spouse may be eligible for a variety of benefits, including a lump sum payment of $15,000 as well as a survivor’s pension. Where a worker is survived by a dependent child or children the dependent child(ren) will receive a Dependent Child Benefit of $196 per month, payable until the child turns 18, or the end of the school year in which the child turns 25 if attending an approved educational facility. If person is standing in the place of a parent and is caring for the child(ren), they may also be eligible for compensation if a financial burden is placed on them to care for the children until they reach the age of 18 or no longer live in the household.
- Burial expenses: the WCB can provide up to $5000. The WCB will also provide up to $500 for the transportation of a body within Nova Scotia, or will cover the total amount if the transportation if the death occurred while the worker was performing employment duties outside of Nova Scotia. More information about the survivor/death benefits offered by the WCB can be found online.
APPLICATION AND CONTACT INFORMATION
If a worker suffers an injury or death at work, the first thing that should be done is for them to seek medical attention if necessary and notify their employer. The next step is to complete a WCB Injury Report Form.
For other frequently requested forms related to claims, visit the WCB Forms for Injured Workers Website.
Once this form is completed, the worker should return it to the WCB at:
Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia
5668 South Street, PO Box 1150
Or to the Injury Reporting Fax at 902-491-8001
More information on the claims process after an injury report form has been submitted can be found online by clicking on the step by step tabs located at the left side of the page. If you need assistance in filing a claim or understanding the compensation process, you should contact the WCB at 1-800-870-3331 in Halifax or 1-800-880-0003 in Sydney.
APPEALING A DECISION
If you do not agree with a decision made by the WCB, you have the option of appealing that decision so that it may be reviewed and potentially changed. You should a Notice of Appeal to Hearing Officer by contacting the WCB through the general information line: 1-800-870-3331 in mainland Nova Scotia, or 1-800-880-0003 in Cape Breton. More information on the appeal process can be found online.
Provides compensation for victims involved in accidents with uninsured or unknown (hit and run) drivers.
In all of the Atlantic provinces, drivers who are injured or killed in accidents with uninsured or unknown drivers (as in the case of hit and run accidents) can turn to the Facility Association for assistance in getting the costs incurred as a result of the accident covered. The type of assistance drivers are eligible for will depend greatly on the area they live in, whether they have their own personal auto insurance, and the type of coverage included in their insurance plan. The money used to cover these costs comes from the Uninsured Automobile Funds for each of the Atlantic Provinces.
If you are in an accident with an uninsured or unknown driver, you should contact the Facility Association at 1-800-268-9572 for more information on how to take advantage of the services they offer.
Nova Scotia Insurance Acts govern payment for claims such as:
- Those who cannot obtain satisfaction for damages under a contract of automobile insurance
- Those who do not have other insurance
- Those who do have other insurance but it is inadequate
The facility monitors the investigation, defense and final settlement of these claims through the assistance of McInnes Copper Law firm in Nova Scotia. If you believe you have a claim eligible under the fund, you can contact Mr. John Kulik by calling 908-444-8571 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The legislation that the Facility Association must following when assisting Nova Scotia drivers who access their services can be found online: Uninsured Automobile and Unidentified Automobile Coverage Regulations.
*See “A Victim’s Guide to Financial Assistance Available to Canadians” for additional information on Federal Programs and restitution.