Ontario Making Criminal Justice System Faster and Fairer in Brantford and Six Nations of the Grand River
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 Brantford and Six Nations of the Grand River.
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.
The province is:
- Expanding the Bail Verification and Supervision Program provided by St. Leonard's Community Services, to Haldimand and Norfolk, to increase supervision and support available to low-risk individuals before their trial.
- Enhancing the existing Bail Verification and Supervision Program in Brantford to include mental health services.
- Working with the Six Nations elected chief and council to develop and deliver an Indigenous Bail Verification and Supervision Program to provide bail services to its members and other Indigenous people in Six Nations of the Grand River, Cayuga, and the Brantford area.
To support jurors, 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 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.
- 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.
- 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. During counselling sessions, jurors will also receive disability accommodation, if requested.
“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 Brantford 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.”
“I am encouraged that the government is investing in a faster and fairer justice system for everyone, and providing supports to those who need them the most. Reducing the delay before trial and making bail resources available to more people in need, are important steps forward for our justice system. I am pleased that the government will be working with Six Nations elected chief and council to develop and deliver an Indigenous Bail Verification and Supervision Program to provide bail services to its members and other Indigenous people in Six Nations of the Grand River and in Brant. The plan to provide jurors with free access to experienced and qualified counsellors after a difficult trial will help ensure an improved justice system.”
“St. Leonard’s Community Services is pleased with the additional investment into the enhanced Bail Verification and Supervision Programs in Brantford and Brant County to assist those clients who struggle with mental health and addiction concerns be safely released into the community. We are also proud to provide the Bail Verification and Supervision Program to the communities of Haldimand and Norfolk who have previously gone without these supports. We would like to thank our existing community partners for their contribution and our new community partners for their support with introducing these programs.”