There are many ways that victims of crime can seek financial assistance in British Columbia. The province has specific financial programs for victims of crime, such as the Crime Victim Assistance Program and the BC Victim Travel Fund, as well as other programs available to the general population that victims may access if they are in financial need. 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.

British Columbia Crime Victim Assistance Program (CVAP)

Eligibility Criteria

In BC, the provincial financial support and benefit program for victims is available to victims, family members of victims, and witnesses. In order to be eligible, the following additional criteria must be met:

  • The crime itself must have occurred within British Columbia after July 1, 1972, regardless of where you live now
  • Applications must be received within one year of the date the crime occurred (exceptions are made in the case of sexual assault (no time limit), for victims who are minors (no time limit for sexual offenses, must apply before turning 20 otherwise), and in exceptional circumstances)
  • A charge or conviction is not needed to receive assistance; however the crime must have been reported to the police either directly by the victim or by another person (doctor, social worker, counsellor, etc.) and the victim must cooperate with police during the investigation

This program DOES NOT cover:

  • Injuries or loss sustained by motor vehicles accidents
  • Injuries or loss sustained during the course of employment where benefits are payable through WorkSafeBC
  • Claims for pain and suffering; and/or
  • Loss of personal property (other than damaged/destroyed eyeglasses, clothing or disability aids)
  • Transportation costs where a victim has already received a vehicular modification benefit
  • Expenses incurred if the victim or witness was party to the offense committed or contributed to their own injuries

CVAP looks at all other sources of income before deciding to compensate a victim of crime (including restitution and civil judgement amounts). This means that if you are already, or could be, receiving benefits from the Canada Pension Plan for example, the CVAP will not provide you with the same benefits that are covered by that program (benefits from CPP are often more then what CVAP could provide you). If you are already receiving employment insurance benefits, social development income support benefits, or lost wage benefits from WorkSafeBC, CVAP can only “top up” that money so that your income would be equal to minimum wage.

Eligible Expenses

There are various expenses that victims, family members, and witnesses may receive financial assistance or benefits for through the CVAP. Below is a list of all eligible expenses and the maximum amount of financial assistance available for each (in brackets).

Victims may receive financial assistance for:

  • Counselling expenses (coverage for up to 48 one hour sessions)
  • Medical services or expenses (all expenses covered as long as they are deemed necessary and reasonable)
  • Dental expenses (all expenses covered as long as they are deemed necessary and reasonable)
  • Prescription drug expenses (all expenses covered as long as they are deemed necessary and reasonable)
  • Protective measures, services, or expenses (up to $3,000 for security devices or personal protection courses; up to $7,000 if victim needs to relocate)
  • Income support or lost earning capacity (varies depending on circumstance; see Crime Victim Assistance Regulation: Income Support and Vocational Services or Expenses Benefits.
  • Vocational services or expenses (varies depending on circumstance; see Crime Victim Assistance Regulation: Income Support and Vocational Services or Expenses Benefits.
  • Transportation related expenses (up to $200/month)
  • Repair or replacement of damaged personal property such as eyeglasses, disability aids, or clothing (up to $150)
  • Disability aids (all expenses covered as long as they are deemed necessary and reasonable)
  • Child care services (up to $800/month)
  • Homemaker services or expenses (up to $400/month)
  • Personal care expenses (up to $1,600/month)
  • Home modification expenses for victims who acquired a disability as a result of the crime (all necessary and reasonable expenses covered)
  • Home maintenance expenses for victims who acquired a disability (up to $100/month)
  • Moving expenses ($2,000)
  • Vehicle modification expenses for victims who acquired a disability (provided as long as deemed economically reasonable)
  • Maintenance for child born as a result of a sexual assault ($300/month until child is 19 or until child is 23 if they are in school)
  • Crime scene cleaning ($2,500)

Immediate family members of victims may be eligible for financial assistance with:

Witnesses of crime may be eligible for financial assistance with:

  • Counselling services (coverage for up to 12 one hour sessions)
  • Prescription drug benefits (covered as long as deemed necessary and reasonable)
  • Transportation related expenses (up to $300)
  • Crime scene cleaning (up to $2,500)

Application and Contact Information

You should be aware that receiving compensation can take as long as 8-9 months from the date the CVAP receives your application until it is fully processed. If a victims or witness is unable to apply themselves because of age, physical or mental limitation, another person may apply on their behalf.

Applications for Financial Assistance and Benefits can be found at the following links:

You can also receive an application by calling The Crime Victim Assistance Program at 604-660-3888 or toll free in BC at 1-866-660-3888.

You may call either of those numbers, email CVAP at: SGCrimeVictimAssistanceProgram@gov.bc.ca, or visit the Crime Victim Assistance Program Website for information or assistance in filling out the application. You must mail the completed original copy of your application to:

The Crime Victim Assistance Program
PO Box 5550, Stn Terminal
Vancouver, BC
V6B 1H1

Appealing a Decision

If you are not satisfied with the decision made by CVAP, you can request that the decision be reconsidered by the Director of the program. To do this, you must submit in writing within 60 days of the date of the decision, the exact decision to be reconsidered and the error you believe was made (for example, if you would like the amount awarded for transportation costs to be reconsidered because it will not cover even half of what you incurred, but you would not like the decision regarding your prescription drug benefits reconsidered, you must indicate this in your letter). Requests for reconsideration can be sent to the address above. If you would like the decision reviewed on a question of law, you need to go to your local provincial courthouse and file an appeal there to do so.

BC Victim Travel Fund

The BC Victim Travel Fund provides funding up to a maximum of $3,000 per family/victim to help them attend and participate in justice-related proceedings.

Eligibility Criteria

The following people are eligible for assistance through this fund:

  • Victims and non-subpoenaed witnesses who have suffered significant physical or emotional trauma as a result of a serious criminal offense
  • Victims and non-subpoenaed witnesses who require a support person in order to attend and participate in the justice proceeding (the support person may also be eligible for assistance under this program)
  • Immediate family members of deceased victims – parents, spouse, children, and siblings.
  • Applicants must ensure that:
    • They make their application prior to the justice proceeding
    • They have to travel more than 100km to the justice proceeding
    • The justice proceeding will take place in BC and the proceeding is expected to impact the outcome disposition or results of the proceeding or hearing. (This excludes provincial parole and federal hearings, see the section on Federal Financial Assistance Programs for Victims)
    • Victims should know that if they already have a file opened with the Crime Victim Assistance Program and have received compensation for transportation/vehicle expenses; this may affect the amount of money they would receive from this program.

The Victim Travel Fund is not available to help subpoenaed witnesses attend court. In some cases, witnesses may be able to claim expenses for travel and/or childcare though the Crown counsel Office. For more information about this, please see the BC’s Prosecution Service Website.

Eligible expenses:
  • Meals
  • Accommodation
  • The most economical form of travel
  • A support person attending with the victim or witness would be eligible for the same expenses as the victim/witness

Application and Contact Information

To apply for assistance through this fund or if you need more information, you must call the Victim Safety Unit at 604-660-0316, call them toll free at 1-877-315-8822, or you can email them at vsusg@gov.bc.ca. The Victim Safety Unit will also provide you with an application form that you must fill out in order to receive travel assistance. This application must be filled out by the victim or support person (both complete the same form) and returned either by mail, fax, or email. The appropriate mailing address and fax number is:

Victim Safety Unit
302 – 815 Hornby Street
Vancouver, BC V6Z 2E6
Fax: 604-660-0335

Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation- BC Employment and Income Assistance Programs

Eligibility

Eligibility for the BC Employment and Assistance programs is based on your income and assets. The ministry has a responsibility to ensure that resources go to those people who need them most. This program is intended to assist people temporarily while they find work, and to assist those who are unable to fully participate in the workforce.

You may be eligible for income assistance if you are

  • Out of work or earning very little
  • Awaiting other income
  • Unable to work; or
  • Are in immediate need of food, shelter or require urgent medical attention

Also, in order to continue to receive income assistance, employable applicants are expected to look for work before, during, and after they receive assistance. They are also expected to complete an Employment Plan and participate in job placement and job training programs so they can become self-reliant.

Type of Income Assistance Available

  • Monthly assistance, which depends on income and asset levels, and the number of people in the family unit.
  • If it is determined that an applicant has an immediate need, his or her eligibility will be determined on an urgent basis (emergency assistance).
  • Hardship assistance may be issued in some situations when an individual is not eligible for income assistance.

Application and Contact Information

Applicants can either Submit an Online Application (you must be able to provide your Social Insurance Number if applying online), or they can call Income Assistance Services at 1-866-866-0800 and have a worker assist them through the steps and answer any questions about the program. Once you have submitted your application, a worker will get in touch with you within a couple of business days.

Applicants must conduct a three-week work search while awaiting an eligibility interview. To assist with your work search, the ministry of Social Development has provided a Self Serve Assessment Tool that includes all of the forms and information you will need, or the toolkit may also be obtained through your nearest Employment and Income Assistance Office. Some of the forms in this toolkit are mandatory and so you must make sure that you complete them fully and accurately in order to have an eligibility interview.

Appealing a Decision

If you do not agree with a decision made by Income Assistance Services, you have the opportunity to appeal that decision. All of the Information you need to know to have your decision reconsidered can be found online.

If you still require further assistance, you should contact your assistance worker or call Income Assistance Services at 1-866-866-0800.

WorkSafeBC

WorkSafeBC is the operating name of the Workers’ Compensation Board of British Columbia, which is responsible for administering claims for work-related injury, illness and disease, including victimization and prevention.

Eligibility Requirements

In order to receive this type of assistance, a claim must be made by the injured worker, the employer, or the treating physician. Furthermore, to be eligible for compensation from WorkSafeBC, you must have sustained a personal injury or occupational disease that arose out of and in the course of your employment. People who are victims of crimes committed during the course of their work would normally be covered by WorkSafeBC.

WorkSafeBC benefits can be suspended if:

  • The worker does not attend or does not co-operate in a medical examination or program arranged by WorkSafeBC
  • The worker participates in any activity that might delay recovery
  • The worker refuses treatment recommended by WorkSafeBC
  • The claim is fraudulent

Type of Coverage Available

Injuries

Compensation is available for medical services and supplies such as:

  • Dental treatment
  • Hospital services including but not limited to: emergency room visits, hospital short-term and long-term stays, day surgeries, dressing changes, casting, and diagnostic imaging such as X-rays, CT scans, and MRI’s
  • Nursing care performed by a registered nurse, or a licensed practical nurse as designated by a registered nurse, through the following services including but not limited to home care, residential care, wound care, and home IV therapy
  • Prescription drugs related to the injury
  • Medical supplies, appliances, or equipment including artificial limbs, canes, dentures, hearing aids, wheelchairs, eyeglasses, crutches, back and leg braces, and some orthotics
  • Other expenses that are a necessary part of your medical care or recovery

Compensation is available for lost wages, which is based on 90% of the worker’s average net earnings. More Information about how your specific amount of compensation would be calculated is available online.

If there is evidence that a work-related injury or disease has permanently disabled you, you will be assessed for permanent disability benefits. The amount will be based on the loss of function of your body. If WorkSafeBC determines that the combination of your occupation and disability is so exceptional that the functional award does not appropriately compensate you, then a loss of earnings award may be paid. The amount you may receive is determined based on your net income, and is also influenced by your eligibility for CPP Disability Benefits. WorkSafeBC may also provide Vocational Rehabilitation to help you overcome the effects of your injury or disease.

Death

If a worker dies while performing employment related duties, WorkSafeBC will pay benefits directly to dependants of the worker, and will also assist with funeral costs. “Dependants” can mean anyone who relied on the workers earnings, including spouses or common-law partners, or children (up to 19 years of age, or 25 years if attending an academic/vocational institution; children with a serious disability can receive benefits at any age). These benefits are provided based on the worker’s net earnings prior to the date of their death, and are influenced by their eligibility for the CPP Death Benefit Program. More information about how the survivor benefits are calculated is available online.

Funeral expenses can be compensated up to a specific amount that is adjusted on a yearly basis. In 2015, families of deceased workers were eligible for up to $8,914.69 to help pay for funeral expenses.

Application and Contact Information

It is best to make a claim by calling the Claim Call Centre at 1-888-967-5377. A representative will take all of your information over the phone and can provide with you any information on the claims process you may need. If you prefer to submit your application yourself in writing, the Application Form for Lost Wages can also be accessed online. You can either fax or mail your application to:

WorkSafeBC
PO Box 4700 Stn Terminal
Vancouver, BC V6B 1J1
Fax: 604-233-9777 in Greater Vancouver, or toll-free within BC at 1-888-922-8807.

Appealing a Decision

If you do not agree with a decision made by WorkSafeBC, you may have that decision reviewed or appealed.

Comprehensive information on the review/appeal process can be found online, along with links to all of the forms you will need to complete. If you need assistance with this process, you should contact your WorkSafeBC representative, or contact the Worker’s Advisor (Contact Information for the office in your area can be found online).

Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC)

ICBC Basic Autoplan Insurance is the mandatory coverage you need for a vehicle in B.C. It helps ensure that you and all British Columbians who own and drive a motor vehicle here are protected with a basic level of coverage. ICBC also provides coverage for Victims of hit and run accidents.

Eligibility

Automatic coverage is provided against hit-and-run and uninsured motorist for all BC residents, even if you do not own or insure a vehicle. If you are in a hit-and-run crash on a BC road, you and your property are covered. If you have a hit-and-run crash elsewhere in Canada or in the United States, you are covered for death or injury only. Other types of medical and lost wage coverage are also available for BC residents who purchase additional insurance through this program.

Types of Coverage and Maximum Amounts

Crashes that occur in BC may entitle you to up to $200,000 for death or injury costs and/or for the repair of your property (subject to a deductible). If you crash elsewhere in Canada or in the United States, you may receive up to $200,000 coverage for death and injury costs. This amount may be increased if you purchased extra insurance coverage.

Application and Information

Costs associated with hit and run accidents must be reported via the ICBC‘s “Dial-a-Claim” option. You can contact them 24 hours a day at 604-520-8222 (lower mainland) or 1-800-910-4222 (for the rest of BC). You will need to tell ICBC all of the information that you know about the accident and will also need to provide them with medical information regarding your injuries. After all information is gathered, ICBC will then either reimburse you for the costs you have incurred, or will have medical professionals directly bill them. Some claims (collision, theft and vandalism) can also be Reported Online.

For more information about the coverage offered to victims of hit and run crimes or to any other person involved in a motor vehicle accident through ICBC, you should call 1-800-663-3051 or visit the ICBC Website.

* See “A Victim’s Guide to Financial Assistance Available to Canadians” for additional information on Federal Programs and restitution.


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Last modified: September 20, 2016