Victims’ Participation in PBC Hearings

Date: August 11, 2020
Classification: Unclassified
Branch / Agency: Parole Board of Canada

Proposed Response:


The Parole Board of Canada (PBC) is committed to the health and safety of the public, offenders, its Board members and staff as it continues to adapt its policies, processes and operations in response to the unprecedented situation created by the COVID-19 pandemic. The PBC continues to review offenders’ cases for conditional release; however, hearings are being conducted remotely via videoconference or teleconference, as applicable.

These actions are consistent with the decision of the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) to suspend or limit visitors from its institutions, and align with current advice from public health officials around social distancing and prevention in relation to COVID-19. Limited access to institutions for offender visits has been reinstated. CSC and the PBC are working on developing measures for in person hearings to resume on a gradual basis.

For approximately a month, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the PBC did not have the capacity to facilitate victim attendance at hearings remotely. Victims were contacted in advance of the hearings and offered the opportunity to submit audio, video and/or written statements for Board Members to consider in their decision-making. This situation has now been addressed and the option to attend PBC hearings via telephone is being offered to all registered victims as technology upgrades have been made.

Victims registered with the PBC can request to listen to the audio recording of certain hearings, as applicable. They can do so by completing and signing the Victim Request to Listen to Audio Recording of Hearing form, and sending it to their nearest PBC regional office.

Registered victims can also access information from both PBC and CSC at any time through the Victims Portal, a secure online service that provides victims with a simple, quick and secure way to send and receive information from the PBC and the Correctional Service of Canada.

Once registered on the Victims Portal, victims may, among other things:

Public safety remains the paramount consideration in all PBC decisions.

Prepared by: Mark Montreuil, A/Director, Public Affairs and Partnerships – 343-542-5996
Approved by: Daryl Churney, Executive Director General, 613-404-4344

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