Ontario Spearheads Commitment Among Canadian Attorneys General To Reduce Criminal Court Delay
McGuinty Government Supporting Faster, Focused Justice
Ontario's Justice on Target strategy to reduce criminal court delay has fuelled a joint effort to help strengthen criminal justice systems across Canada.
Attorneys General from across the country have committed to share information and best practices based on their own experiences in administering criminal justice. This will help the provinces achieve their mutual goals and may include:
- Ways to avoid unnecessary court appearances
- Effective use of technology in the courts
- Incentives to foster early decision-making
- Evidence disclosure methods
- System design improvements, such as improving the flow of prosecutions through the Crown's office and courts.
The agreement proposed by Ontario has received support from Canadian Attorneys General at a meeting of federal/provincial/territorial justice ministers in Québec City.
The joint effort is based on Ontario's recently announced Justice on Target strategy, which aims to make courts faster and more effective. The target is a 30 per cent reduction in the provincial average of days and court appearances required to complete a criminal case over the next four years. Justice on Target is gaining national and international attention.
- Across Canada in 2006-2007, it took an average of eight months (240 days) to complete a criminal case in adult court.
- Last year in Ontario, it took an average of 205 days and 9.2 appearances to complete a criminal case.
- With 600,000 charges entering Ontario's justice system every year, saving one minute per charge could save seven years of court time.
“Through Justice on Target, Ontario has demonstrated its commitment to making our criminal justice system as effective as possible. Now we're sharing our experiences with other provinces to help make all of Canada's justice systems the best they can be.”