Ontario Targets Criminal Justice Court Delays
McGuinty Government Launches "Justice On Target" Strategy
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.
The first two initiatives being implemented as part of the Justice on Target strategy are expansions of programs that have proven successful in reducing court appearances and delays.
- With 600,000 charges entering the system every year, saving one minute per charge could save seven years of court time.
- In 1992, it took an average of 4.3 court appearances to complete a criminal case. By last year, this figure had more than doubled to 9.2 appearances.
- In 1992, cases were in the system for an average of 115 days. By last year, the number had jumped to 205 days.
- Recent provincial investments in the criminal justice system include:
- Hiring 1,000 additional police officers and more than 220 Crown attorneys
- Appointing 24 additional judges and 45 additional justices of the peace
- Dedicating over $68 million to fight gun crime.
“Lengthy court delays are unacceptable so Ontario is moving to justice faster. We're targeting criminal court delays and focusing attention on the most serious cases to increase public safety and confidence in our justice system.”
“I am honoured to take on this important role, and look forward to working with all justice partners as we work to build a more effective criminal justice system.”
“By reducing the number of non-productive appearances we can better use our resources to advance the public safety and confidence in the criminal justice system.”