Coming into Force of the Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act

Federal government actions leading to better protection of Canadians and their communities
July 11, 2014 – Ottawa – Justice Canada

Bill C-14, the Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act, came into force across Canada today. This new legislation strengthens the Criminal Code’s decision-making process relating to accused persons found Not Criminally Responsible (NCR) on account of mental disorder to make public safety the primary consideration, enhance victim safety, and provide victims with a stronger voice in the process. Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Peter MacKay highlighted its significance today.

Quick Facts

  • Bill C-14 ensures that public safety comes first when courts make decisions with respect to any accused person found NCR or unfit to stand trial on account of mental disorder.
  • In addition, for even greater public safety, those NCR accused persons who are found by a court to pose a higher risk of committing future acts of violence, the legislation creates a new high-risk designation process. Upon being designated by a court as high-risk, an NCR accused would be held in custody in a hospital and could not be released by a review board until the high-risk designation was revoked by a court.
  • Other effects of being designated as a high-risk NCR accused include a possible extension by the review board of the period between reviews (up to three years), the denial of unescorted passes into the community, and the condition that escorted passes could only be granted for medical reasons and subject to sufficient safeguards to protect public safety.
  • The legislation also enhances the safety of victims by ensuring that they are specifically considered when decisions are being made about mentally disordered accused persons; ensuring that they are notified when such an accused is discharged and where they intend to reside, if the victims so desire; and allowing for non-communication orders between the accused and the victim.
  • The reforms do not affect access to treatment for any mentally disordered accused person.
  • The Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act also amends the National Defence Act to ensure consistency in the mental disorder regime in the military justice system. Those amendments will come into force at a future date to be fixed by Order in Council.

Quotes

“Our Government is committed to protecting all Canadians and keeping our communities and families safe. I am very pleased to see the coming into force of another piece of legislation, introduced by this Government, to help ensure greater safety in Canada. Since the Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act was reintroduced late last year, our Government has worked quickly to put public safety first; protect Canadians from NCR accused designated as high-risk; and enhance the rights of victims by passing this legislation. Through the creation of a new high-risk designation process, this legislation ensures that NCR accused persons who meet the higher-risk threshold are no longer a threat to their victims or communities across our country.”

Peter MacKay
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

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Backgrounder: Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act

10 thoughts on “Coming into Force of the Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act”

  1. NCR is not a joke. It’s a system to rehabilitate mentally ill people who have committed a crime. I am NCR, found in August 2000 and I am still on the warrant. I was charged with assault with a weapon. I was seventeen, first time offender. I would have most likely gotten probation at most. I was the first individual in Alberta to be found NCR as a youth. 15 1/2 years later, I am still under the warrant. I have had relapses, but I was never a danger to the public, more so a danger to myself. The support dedicated to NCR patients moving into the community is immense. As a murderer or other offender is released from prison, they are punted out with an address of a half way house and no social skills or help. They have no money, some don’t have job skills, and the return rate to prison is high. With NCR patients, we are monitored by a day program and those living in the community are given medications, injections and see the mental health team (consisting of psychiatrists, nurses, and social workers among many). They have access to 24/7 help whether it be to talk about a problem or to identify regressive behaviour so that it can be addressed and fixed. NCR is a very thorough system, letting individuals off the warrant as they have more years of uninterrupted time in the community. After that, there are still social supports. At the outpatient clinic, there’s an ex NCR doctor, there’s medications to be taken home, and there is support with readmission, if necessary, to a local hospital.
    I think that those who oppose the NCR standing don’t realize it’s effectiveness. I hope that this enlightens some. Thank you.

  2. I find it very interesting that NCR/ mental illness cases have sky rocketed in the latter half of the past decade. Mental illness awareness has been a very popular craze lately, and our tax money has been pooled toward this cause which people lack understanding about. There has yet to be credible, substantial medical evidence proving whether or not most of these so called ‘mental illnesses’ are even real or exist in the medical world. Many psychiatric disorders are not medical diseases. There are no lab tests, brain scans, X-rays or chemical imbalance tests that can verify any mental disorder is a physical condition or the fact that there is a correlation in the brain. There are no biological tests availble and our only valid source are mental health, psychiatric evaluations which is a fraudulent and deceptive industry that lacks proper medical backing.

    1. Mental illness is a disease however whether ill or not, just because someone has a mental illness does not automatically mean that they did not know the consequences of their actions. With a previous violent schizophrenia patient I don’t believe they should ever be completely free to roam on their own. They need their medication daily and many stop taking it. The only way to ensure that the meds are taken is to have a responsible professional administer it. I can see day passes when stable and longer passes when staying with a reliable friend or relative but nothing more. The NCR here in Canada was used to free a doctor after he murdered his two children because he wanted to hurt his wife. The guy had control issues and anger issues but other doctors advocated for him. Our system is a joke.

  3. Any crime so grossly revolting ‘GRC’ as to cause public fear and/or apprehension of harm in the public mind should automatically render the NCR offender NON-Rehabilitation-Suited ‘NRS’ due to non-human tendencies whilst unmedicated. Attempts to rehabilitate an NCRNRS offender violates the premise of ‘public good’ which has no place in Canadian sovereign community standards noting a special regard to perceived right to life in community without fear of GRCNRS non fully functioning humans. Therefore severe penalties may also be levied for violating the public good by attempting to rehab an NCRNRS.

  4. This is pointless and horrible. People who are found NCR are not “murderers”, they are ill!

    Just because the disease occurs in the head and not (say) a leg, does not justify this “lock them up and throw away the key” nonsense. By definition, someone who is not criminally responsible would NOT normally have killed or wanted to kill. So punishing them – or forcing them to remain locked up at the taxpayer’s expense even after they’re well – is pointless, silly and stupid.

    It is a tragedy that Tim died. But it is nobody’s fault. Would you lock someone up who had a seizure and crashed their car into a person, killing them? Or who had an involuntary muscle spasm that accidently killed someone somehow? No? Then WHY is it appropriate just because the cause is something you call “mental illness” – which is every bit as real and physical as any other disease?

    You are attacking the wrong thing here in trying to get “justice” – shutting the gate after the horse has bolted. You want to stop this from happening again? Then STOP trying to lock people away after the fact! If you want to help stop these kinds of tragedies, you need to support science, medical research, and call out the Government on the pathetic state of the under-funded healthcare system where people with mental illnesses in Canada cannot be diagnosed, treated or followed properly. All this is time, effort and money MUCH better spent than this “lock them up” crap.

    1. People should be able to get help for their mental illness but the line should be drawn at murder. A dog can’t help it if it has rabies but you can’t allow them to bite people just so you don’t have to put them down. A nut case murderer whose medications are the only thing keeping them from murdering again should be hung to ensure the danger from proven murdering nut cases is gone. Bottom line should be : proven murders nut case or just plain evil should be put down or at least kept locked up. Your case above won’t hold water once they stop taking their meds and they kill again .And the horse may have already bolted but it will bolt again once the meds quit working or they decide to not take them ,like it is proven to be the case for most these people. If they kill again you have to keep letting them go as you have already set the not criminally responsible endless cycle in place. Mental illness needs support and access to facilities for people who suffer from this terrible disease. Proven murderers support should be zero compared to the families of the victims like it is now.

    2. Are you able to provide sources detailing the appropriate evidence to support your claim that “People who are found NCR are not “murderers”, they are ill!”….. “Just because the disease occurs in the head…”. Is there biological proof in the form of chemical/bioligical testing (brain, chemical imbalance, genetics) to substantiate the mainstream claims in regard to psychiatric disorders and mental illnesses including schizophrenia which lead to NCR cases? I am very interested in your views on the matter of this NCR craze which I find utterly ridiculous and a step in the wrong direction.

  5. This was a tragic act, and my deepest sympathies are always to the victims families, and it has now been many years since this young man has left us and I still think often of him even though I do not know his family or even live in the same province. I really just wanted to say that as a person who has been first hand living with a person effected with mental instabilities and just how long of wait lists and people there are out there to help those in need who suffer a mental illness. Perhaps this just goes back farther then Tim’s tragic death and the real victims are those suffering a mental illness and not getting help they need so tragic events don’t happen. Where are the laws to help those people who have nothing or don’t know where to turn when something isn’t right? Vince Li was wrong and should never be allowed out of any ward or home and its tragic Tim is gone but whats more tragic is Li could have been helped before this and Tim would still be here to this day…..That’s a law worth fighting for. Make essential services for mental health more easily and readily available for anyone of all ages…

    1. Schizophrenia is a horrible disease. The treatment has terrible side effects and far too many stop their meds. I believe violent sufferers should live in home like institutions with privileges when stable.

  6. I feel that vincent li should be locked up for the rest of his life. I know i would not want him moving into my neighorhood.

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