CP / Adrian Wyld

Statement from the Minister of Justice, Peter MacKay

“In my consultations with Canadians across our country, our Government has been urged to push for stronger laws  that make public safety a paramount consideration in the administration of justice – particularly when these cases involve accused persons found to be not criminally responsible.

Through the Not Criminally Responsible Reform Act, our Government has proposed to create a new high-risk designation for NCR accused. This designation would only apply in a limited number of cases where the accused person has been found NCR of a serious personal injury offence and where there is a high likelihood of further violence that would endanger the public.

Creating a new designation for those few high risk individuals has the potential to reduce stigmatization for those who suffer from mental health issues.  I am aware that the majority of individuals who are found NCR are non-violent and the provisions of this Bill would ensure they are not treated the same as those who pose a high risk to public safety.

To be clear, this Bill does not deal with the correctional system. Persons found NCR or unfit to stand trial on account of mental disorder are not imprisoned but may be detained in a hospital or psychiatric facility, where they have access to treatment.

NCR accused cases will continue to be overseen by independent courts and review boards. While we cannot speculate how often prosecutors will bring forward NCR applications or whether evidence will meet the designation threshold, our Government is confident that they will use the designation when appropriate. 

We are confident that the proposed reforms are reasonable and necessary to protect public safety and ensure public confidence in our justice system.” – Hon. Peter MacKay, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada."