Ontario Making Criminal Justice System Faster and Fairer in Barrie
Province Expanding Bail Programs and Hiring More Prosecutors and Court Staff
Ontario is moving forward with its plan to make the criminal justice system faster and fairer by implementing programs to help reduce time-to-trial and improve the bail system in Simcoe County.
The plan will enhance public safety by making it possible to resolve criminal cases faster and by making more supports and supervision available to vulnerable, low-risk individuals who come in contact with the law.
In Simcoe County, the province is:
- Hiring one new dedicated bail vettor Crown attorney to the Barrie courthouse to facilitate faster bail decisions and early resolutions.
- Assigning one new duty counsel bail coordinator to the Barrie courthouse to help expedite the bail process and ensure meaningful decisions are made.
- Providing safe, supportive and supervised housing for vulnerable accused people who require enhanced supervision in the community, by adding up to 10 bail beds in Barrie by April 2017.
- Expanding the Bail Verification and Supervision Program to Bracebridge to increase supervision and support available to low-risk individuals before their trial.
- Enhancing the existing Bail Verification and Supervision Program in Barrie to include increased eligibility for services and mental health services.
In addition, the ministry is working with the Barrie Native Friendship Centre to develop an Indigenous support service enhancement position to provide culturally appropriate bail services to Indigenous people living in Simcoe County.
Improving Ontario's criminal justice system is part of our plan to keep communities safe and help people in their everyday lives.
- The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms requires that criminal trials take place within a reasonable amount of time. In cases where this time has been exceeded, the judge may choose to “stay” the charges and the case would not proceed to trial.
- The decision to grant or deny bail is complex and based on the specifics of each individual case. When considering whether to recommend bail, the key factors considered by the Crown are public safety (especially for victims), attendance in court, the rights of the accused, and public confidence in the administration of justice.
- Barrie is one of up to five locations across the province that will pilot the Bail Beds program. In 2017, an additional 50 beds will be made available provincewide.
- In some cases where vulnerable individuals are charged with minor offences, community-based solutions can be an effective alternative to the criminal justice system. When individuals are connected with appropriate resources and supports, they are more likely to achieve stability in the community, and less likely to commit further criminal offences.
“Ontario’s criminal justice system must work to protect the interests of all people — victims, the public and the accused — while keeping our communities safe. We are working on all fronts to ensure that cases get to court faster so that we have a fairer criminal justice system. Our investments in community-based agencies here in Barrie and the surrounding area will help make it possible for vulnerable, low-risk Ontarians to be safely released in the community with the supervision and support they need.”
“These new investments are critical to improving Barrie’s local justice system. Expanding the Bail Verification and Supervision Program in Barrie and to Bracebridge will provide more supports for low-risk people who come in contact with the law. Additionally, I’m thrilled that Barrie will be part of the Bail Beds program. I believe these investments will go a long way towards making the justice system faster and fairer while also keeping our communities safe.”
“The Salvation Army is pleased that Ontario is expanding the Simcoe Bail Program into Muskoka. Our Bail Verification and Supervision Program is helping to support a faster, fairer and safe justice system for Ontarians, while enabling us to further impact our communities in positive ways.”