Ontario Targets Criminal Justice Court Delays In Kitchener-Waterloo
McGuinty Government Expanding Kitchener-Waterloo Initiative For "Justice on Target"
Under the province's new Justice on Target strategy, Ontario is setting targets to reduce court delays and appearances by 30 per cent over the next four years.
This is the first time the province has set targets to reduce the provincial average of days and court appearances needed to complete a criminal case.
To ensure transparency and accountability, the province is also making available criminal court statistics to the public for the first time. The public will be able to follow the progress of the strategy and see the impact on courthouses in their local communities.
The multidisciplinary Justice on Target implementation team will be led by Regional Senior Justice Bruce Durno and Senior Crown Attorney Kenneth Anthony. The team will work with justice sector partners in local courthouses to develop and implement new initiatives that improve coordination, focus justice resources and move cases through the justice system faster.
As part of Justice on Target, Ontario is expanding Kitchener-Waterloo's successful Dedicated Prosecution system to other Ontario courthouses. This initiative changes the way cases are managed by Crown prosecutors. It allows them to better monitor the progress of their cases and focus on substantive decisions earlier in the court process, helping to complete cases faster.
Dedicated Prosecution has been in place in Kitchener-Waterloo since 2002, and has helped to achieve a 17 per cent reduction in the average time to complete a criminal charge. Ontario is building on the success of the Kitchener-Waterloo system by expanding it through Justice on Target, with the aim of having Dedicated Prosecution operating in all 17 high volume court locations in the province by the end of the year.
- It now takes approximately twice as many court appearances and days, on average, to complete a criminal case as it did in 1992.
- In 2007, it took an average of 139 days and 8.2 court appearances to complete a criminal case in Kitchener-Waterloo, compared to the provincial average of 205 days and 9.2 court appearances.
- With 600,000 charges entering the system every year, saving one minute per charge could save seven years of court time.
“Results in Kitchener-Waterloo have clearly shown that Dedicated Prosecution is effective in reducing criminal court delay. We will be looking at these local achievements as we work to meet our provincial target.”
“I am pleased to see the government expanding a Kitchener-Waterloo success story across the province.”