Ontario Making Criminal Justice System Faster and Fairer in Kingston and Surrounding Area
Province Appointing a New Judge, Expanding Bail Programs and Providing More Support for Jurors
Ontario is moving forward with its plans to make the criminal justice system faster and fairer by implementing key programs to help reduce time-to-trial and improve the bail system in Kingston and the surrounding area.
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.
This includes the expansion of the Bail Verification and Supervision Program to Belleville, Brockville and Napanee to increase supervision and support for low-risk individuals before their trial. In addition, of the 13 new judges announced in December 2016, Chief Justice Lise Maisonneuve of the Ontario Court of Justice has indicated that she will assign a judge to Kingston.
To provide insight into the unique systemic factors and background of Indigenous accused persons, a new Gladue report writer has been hired in Tyendinaga First Nation. This will allow the court to make more informed decisions at bail and sentencing including considering culturally appropriate options and available alternatives to incarceration.
Ontario is providing easier access to experienced and qualified counsellors. The Juror Support Program is available to help Ontarians who have served as jurors at the end of a trial or a coroner's inquest, if and when they need it.There are no out-of-pocket expenses for jurors, and the program is completely confidential.
Improving Ontario's criminal justice system is part of the government's plan to create jobs, 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.
- Jurors who have completed jury service can call 1-844-JUROR-ON (1-844-587-6766) to find out how to access the Juror Support Program.
- Jurors can choose to receive counselling in-person, over the phone, by email or videoconference in English or French. They will also receive disability accommodation.
“Our criminal justice system must work to be more responsive to the needs of everyone involved – victims, jurors, 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 a have fairer criminal justice system. These investments in community-based agencies in the region will make it possible for vulnerable, low-risk Ontarians to be safely released in the community with the supervision and support they need.”
“As a community with a high concentration of correctional facilities, investments that promote an efficient and safe justice system is something that I know the people of Kingston will appreciate and value. Locally, this plan will support the critical work that is being done by front-line organizations like the Elizabeth Fry Society and the John Howard Society. Additionally, I am delighted that Chief Justice Lise Maisonneuve of the Ontario Court of Justice has indicated she will assign a new judge to Kingston. There is no doubt that this will go a long way towards increasing access to justice for victims as well as the accused, in addition to making our community safer.”
“In the past two years we have supported almost 400 people who, without the bail program, would be at risk of losing their housing, employment, and contact with family and community supports. John Howard Society of Kingston and District’s bail expansion to Belleville, Brockville and Napanee will be able to support those individuals who would otherwise be denied for supervision for living just 30 to 60 minutes outside of Kingston. We are proud to contribute to this program that offers a cost savings to the community over the high social and economic costs of incarceration. We would like to thank our community partners for their contribution and support during the last two years.”