- The government shifted almost half of the victims’ budget to pay for ALERT, drug treatment courts.
- Justice Minister Tyler Shandro revealed changes to the victim’s services account in Sylvan Lake on Tuesday.
The Alberta government is revising changes to the victim services budget, including criticism from advocacy bodies, victims, and their households.
Two years back, the region shifted some contributions to the fund to spend on crime drop programs like drug treatment courts and the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT).
According to Alberta Justice’s 2021-22 yearly report, 59 percent of the $64.7 million spent from the budget went toward public security initiatives. Nearly one-third, or $21 million, was given to victim services organizations.
Just 8.5 percent or $5.5 million went straight to victims.
Under changes declared Tuesday by Justice Minister Tyler Shandro, the fund will also be used simply for supporting victims healing from their physical and psychological wounds and helping them through the court procedure.
The region is also developing support and delivering emergency assistance when needed.
“We know the last financial help program was not fast enough and just did not provide enough direct support to those managing with trauma,” Shandro told a press conference. “And that was not good.”
The differences come after UCP MLAs Angela Pitt and Nate Neudorf made 19 offers following stakeholder consultations.
Beginning Sept. 1, victims will now have two years, rather than the last limit of 45 days, to apply for help from the fund. Funding for counseling, limited to $1,000 under the old schedule, will now have a max of $12,000.
Victims who suffer extreme brain or neurological damages will be eligible for up to $100,000 in lump-sum allowance and monthly fees of $1,000. Victims with other incapacitating injuries can apply for a $60,000 lump sum fund.
Source – CBC News