Testimonial Support Provisions for Children and Vulnerable Adults (Bill C-2):
Case Law Review and Perceptions of the Judiciary

Appendix B

Survey:  Judges' Perceptions of and Experiences with Bill C-2 Provisions

Thank you for taking the time to complete this survey about your perceptions of and experiences with the provisions contained in Bill C-2.  Please note that the information you provide in this questionnaire will only be presented in aggregate form, and individual respondents will not be identified.  Please note that for purposes of this survey, unless otherwise specified, "child" means under 18 years of age. age. 

Background Information

  • 1. Where do you live?
    • Alberta
    • British Columbia
    • Nova Scotia
    • OntarioYukon
  • 2. In which court do you sit?
    • Provincial Court
    • Superior Court
  • 3. How often do you hear criminal cases? 
  • 4. Among criminal cases going to trial/preliminary inquiry, how often do they involve:
    • One or more witnesses who are children? 
    • Domestic violence? 
    • Sexual assault with an adult complainant? 

Your Perceptions of Bill C-2

Bill C-2 introduced procedural and substantive amendments to provisions in the Criminal Code and Canada Evidence Act to facilitate the giving of testimony by children and other vulnerable witnesses.  The following section asks about your opinions of the provisions of Bill C-2.

  • 5. Are you familiar with the amendments contained in Bill C-2?
    • Yes
    • No.
      If no, please go to Question 32.
  • 6. Have you had the opportunity to use any of the amendments contained in Bill C-2?
    • Yes
    • No
  • 7. Please indicate the extent to which you agree or disagree that the following provisions amended in Bill C-2 are useful (even if you have not had the opportunity to use them):
    • Strongly agree 
    • Agree
    • Disagree
    • Strongly disagree
    • Competency inquiry (s. 16.1, Canada Evidence Act
    • Support persons (s. 486.1, Criminal Code)  
    • Screens and closed circuit television (s. 486.2)
    • Counsel appointed for self-represented accused (s. 486.3) 
    • Video-recorded evidence (ss. 715.1 and 715.2) 

Your Experiences with the Provisions Contained in Bill C-2

The following section asks about your experiences with the provisions of Bill C-2.  Please answer the following questions based on your experiences since Bill C-2 came into force January 2, 2006.

Competency Inquiries (s. 16.1)

  • 8. Have you held competency inquiries (s. 16.1) since January 2006?
    • Yes
    • No. 
      If no, please go to Question 11.
  • 9. For hearings involving child witnesses, please answer the following questions based on the three age categories provided.  Please use the following scale:  Never (0%); Occasionally (1-25%); Sometimes (26-50%); Often (51-75%); Almost Always (76-99%); Always (100%).
    • How often is their competence accepted without inquiry?
      • 3-5 yrs.
      • 6-9 yrs.
      • 10-13 yrs
    • How often is an inquiry held into their ability to "understand and respond to questions"?
      • 3-5 yrs.
      • 6-9 yrs.
      • 10-13 yrs
    • Of inquiries held, how often is the child found incompetent to testify?
      • 3-5 yrs.
      • 6-9 yrs.
      • 10-13 yrs
    • What is the average length of time spent on inquiries (in minutes)?
      • 3-5 yrs.
      • 6-9 yrs.
      • 10-13 yrs
  • 10. Have you had any difficulties with the implementation of these provisions of the Canada Evidence Act, or do you have any suggestions for further reform of these provisions?

Support Persons (s. 486.1)

  • 11. Have you used the support person provision (s. 486.1) since January 2006?
    • Yes
    • No. 
      If no, please go to Question 16.
  • 12. Among criminal cases going to trial/preliminary hearing with child witnesses under the age of 18 years:
    • How often was an application made under s. 486.1(1) for a support person to sit near the child? 
    • Of these applications, how often were they not successful?  
    • Of the applications that were not successful, what were the most common reasons for denying the application? 
    • Of the applications that were successful, who was the most common support person for child witnesses under 18 years of age? 
  • 13. Among criminal cases going to trial/preliminary hearing with vulnerable adult witnesses:
    • How often was an application made under s. 486.1(1) for a support person to sit near the witness? 
    • Of these applications, how often were they not successful? 
    • Of the applications that were not successful, what were the most common reasons for denying the application? 
    • Of the applications that were successful, who was the most common support person for vulnerable adults? 
  • 14. At what point in the proceedings is a s. 486.1 application most commonly made?
    • Pre-trial hearing conference
    • Start of trial/preliminary inquiry
    • During trial/preliminary inquiry
  • 15. Have you had any difficulties with the implementation of s. 486.1, or do you have any suggestions for further reform of these provisions? 
    • Screens and Closed Circuit Television (s. 486.2)
  • 16. Have you used the screens or closed circuit television provision (s. 486.2) since January 2006?
    • Yes 
    • No. 
      If no, please go to Question 22.
  • 17. Among criminal cases going to trial/preliminary hearing with child witnessesunder the age of 18 years:
    • How often was an application made under s. 486.2(1) for use of a screen or closed circuit television?
    • Of these applications, how often were they not successful? 
    • Of the applications that were not successful, what were the most common reasons for denying the application?
    • Of the applications that were successful, how often did they involve: 
      • Screens?
      • Closed circuit television?
      • Other device?
  • 18. Among criminal cases going to trial/preliminary hearing with vulnerable adult witnesses:
    • How often was an application made under s. 486.2(2) for use of a screen or closed circuit television? 
    • What were the most common situations of vulnerability in s. 486.2(2) applications?
    • Of these applications, how often were they not successful?  
    • Of the applications that were successful, what were the most common reasons for granting the application?  xxx
    • Of the applications that were successful, how often did they involve: 
      • Screens?
      • Closed circuit television?
      • Other device? 
  • 19. Have there been problems in arranging for appropriate equipment for s. 486.2 applications?
    • Yes 
    • No. 
      If yes, what problems have you encountered?
  • 20. At what point in the proceedings is a s. 486.2 application most commonly made?
    • Pre-trial hearing conference
    • Start of trial/preliminary inquiry
    • During trial/preliminary inquiry
  • 21. Have you had any difficulties with the implementation of s. 486.2, or do you have any suggestions for further reform of these provisions?
    • Counsel Appointed for Self-represented Accused (s. 486.3)
  • 22. Have you used the counsel appointed for self-represented accused provision (s. 486.3) since January 2006?
    • Yes
    • No. 
      If no, please go to Question 27.
  • 23. Among criminal cases going to trial/preliminary hearing with a self-represented accused and a child witnessunder the age of 18 years:
    • How often was an application made under s. 486.3(1) for appointment of counsel for purposes of cross-examination? 
    • Of these applications, how often were they not successful?   
    • Of the applications that were not successful, what were the most common reasons for denying the application? 
  • 24. Among criminal cases going to trial/preliminary hearing with a self-represented accused and a vulnerable adult witness:
    • How often was an application made under s. 486.3(2) for appointment of counsel for purposes of cross-examination of a vulnerable adult?   
    • Of these applications, how often were they not successful?    
    • Of the applications that were successful, what were the most common reasons for granting the application?  ;
  • 25. At what point in the proceedings is a s. 486.3 application most commonly made?
    • Pre-trial hearing conference
    • Start of trial/preliminary inquiry
    •  During trial/preliminary inquiry
  • 26. Have you had any difficulties with the implementation of s. 486.3, or do you have any suggestions for further reform related to the appointment of counsel for an accused in proceedings involving children or other vulnerable witnesses? 
    • Video Recorded Evidence (ss. 715.1 and 715.2)
  • 27. Have you used the video recorded evidence provisions (ss. 715.1 and 715.2) since January 2006?
    • Yes
    •  No. 
      If no, please go to Question 32.
  • 28. Among criminal cases going to trial/preliminary hearing with a child witness under the age of 18 years:
    • How often was an application made under s. 715.1 to admit a video recording of an interview with the child? 
    • Of these applications, how often were they not successful? 
    • Of the applications that were not successful, what were the most common reasons for denying the application? 
  • 29. Among criminal cases going to trial/preliminary hearing with an adult witness who has a physical or mental disability:
    • How often was an application made under s. 715.2 to admit a video recording of an interview with a vulnerable adult? 
    • What were the most common types of disability which caused difficulty communicating the evidence in s. 715.2 applications? 
    • Of these applications, how often were they not successful? 
    • Of the applications that were not successful, what were the most common reasons for denying the application?
  • 30. At what point in the proceedings are these applications most commonly made?
    • Pre-trial hearing conference
    • Start of trial/preliminary inquiry
    • During trial/preliminary inquiry
  • 31. Have you had any difficulties with the implementation of ss. 715.1 or 715.2, or do you have any suggestions for further reform of these provisions? 
    • Credibility Assessment and Questioning of Children
    • The following section asks about your experiences with assessing the credibility and questioning child witnesses.
  • 32. Approximately how often, if at all, has it appeared to you that witnesses in the following age groups, when properly questioned, unintentionally make false statements in court about important elements of the events in question due to inaccurate memory?
    • 3-5 years
    • 6-10 years
    • 11-13 years
    • 14-18 years
    • Adults 
  • 33. Approximately how often, if at all, has it appeared to you that witnesses in the following age groups have lied in court (intentionally make false statements)?
    • 3-5 years 
    • 6-10 years 
    • 11-13 years 
    • 14-18 years 
    • Adults 
  • 34.  Approximately how often, if at all, have you observed child witnesses (under 14 years of age) asked questions by different professionals where they appear incapable of answering, or you have concluded they're incapable of answering, due to complexity of the questions (i.e., are asked developmentally inappropriate questions) as revealed in court or on video-recorded interview?
    • By defence counsel 
    • By Crown 
    • By police (on video) 
    • By child protection worker (on video) 
    • By judge 

General Comments

  • 35. Do you think that any of the new provisions may render the trial unfair to the accused? 
    • Yes
    • No.
      If yes, please explain.
  • 36. Do you have any other comments about the Bill C-2 provisions or other matters related to proceedings involving children or other vulnerable witnesses? 

Thank you for taking the time to complete this survey.

Please save the file to your computer, and then attach it to your email to crilf@ucalgary.ca.

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