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Quebec Reimbursement Program for Family and Close Friends
of Deceased Victims of a Criminal Act

Reimbursement Program

Every year in Quebec, many people lose loved ones as the result of a criminal act (homicide, criminal negligence, impaired driving, death caused by dangerous driving, etc.). Attending the subsequent legal proceedings[1] can become a heavy financial burden for the family and close friends of the victim, especially since it is not unusual for such proceedings to be held in another city and to extend over several weeks (between 19 and 26 days on average).

It is important to recognize, however, that attending legal proceedings can provide loved ones with a valuable opportunity to obtain answers to certain questions and to honour the memory of the deceased. It can also contribute to their recovery process after the loss of a loved one.

In spite of these benefits, the costs related to attending legal proceedings can constitute a serious obstacle to the presence of close family and friends. It should not be necessary for them to go into debt in order to be able to attend or to be forced to decide if they can afford to do so at all.

The objective of the Quebec reimbursement Program is to reduce the social and financial difficulties resulting from expenses incurred by the victim’s loved ones by offering them better support for attending legal proceedings. The Program proposes to reimburse travel, accommodation, meals and parking expenses incurred while attending legal proceedings up to a maximum of $2,000 per person, subject to certain conditions.

[1] The Program also reimburses expenses incurred to attend hearings at the Review Board for Mental Disorder.

Eligibility criteria

The objective of the Program is to reimburse family members and close friends of deceased victims of criminal acts for certain expenses incurred while attending legal proceedings.

  1. Expenses will be eligible for reimbursement as of January 28, 2019 in the following cases* :
    • at each step in the legal proceedings
    • during legal proceedings held at the Court of Québec (Criminal and Penal Division and Youth Division), the Superior Court of Québec and the Court of Appeal of Québec
    • during proceedings at the Review Board for Mental Disorder.
  2. The criminal act must have been committed in Quebec.
  3. Program eligibility is not limited to homicides, but includes all criminal acts causing death, such as criminal negligence, impaired driving and death caused by dangerous driving.

Who can apply for reimbursement?

Any family member or close friend of a person who died as the result of a criminal act may submit a request. “Family and close friends” include any person related to the deceased person by birth, by marriage or by some other very close relationship with the deceased person (such as a close friend or other significant person).

Priority will be given to immediate family members:

  • spouse of the deceased victim
  • child of the deceased victim
  • father and mother of the deceased victim
  • brother and sister of the deceased victim
  • grandfather and grandmother of the deceased victim.

A maximum of two family members or significant persons may apply for reimbursement. Each applicant may subsequently allow a companion of their choosing to have their expenses reimbursed by including them in their maximum amount of $2,000.

When should applications be submitted?

We recommend that you submit your application as soon as possible after legal proceedings have begun and that you keep all your bills and receipts.

  • Family and close friends who wish to benefit from the advantages offered by this program must send the appropriate form to the address indicated on the form within six months of the accused’s first court appearance (the date the accused was told to appear before the Court).
  • In cases when an important step—such as a preliminary inquiry, assigned trial or guilty plea—is scheduled for an earlier date, applicants must send in the appropriate form two weeks before the date of the step in question at the latest.

The earliest date takes precedence.

  • If the accused is found unfit to stand trial or not responsible on account of mental disorder, applicants must send in their form two weeks before the first hearing at the Review Board for Mental Disorder.

For more information on the different steps in the judicial process.

These deadlines are necessary in order to allow sufficient time to identify the two applicants in the event that more than two people submit an application. After the deadline, an application may still be accepted if two applicants have not already been accepted by the Program.

What expenses are reimbursed?

Travel, meals, accommodation and parking expenses are all eligible for reimbursement. The Program does not provide compensation for loss of income or childcare expenses, however.

There is a maximum reimbursement of $2,000 per applicant. This amount includes the expenses of the applicant’s companion(s).

If a family member or close friend receives a summons to appear as a witness in court, his or her expenses will be paid by the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions.

N.B.: It is not possible to be reimbursed twice for the same expense, even if you are eligible for reimbursement under more than one Program.

How to submit an application

Applications may be submitted in any of the following ways: