Bail and Remand in Ontario – Ministry of the Attorney General – 2016-12

Several noteworthy reports have been released in recent years that are critical of the bail and remand system and which contain recommendations for improvement. Some of these reports have been anecdotal and some have involved scholarly research. Their common theme is that the criminal justice system in Canada is failing in the way it detains individuals accused of criminal offences… all presumed innocent of the charges laid against them. Those failures, the authors point out, are varied and include charges that the police detain too many individuals accused of criminal offences and do not exercise their powers of release appropriately; that prosecution services through their policies and actions inappropriately oppose bail in too many instances; that police, judicial officers, both judges and justices of the peace, do not exercise appropriate discretion in releasing people awaiting trial and do not apply the Criminal Code release provisions appropriately; that there is too much of a delay in hearing applications for release; that too many unnecessary conditions are imposed on accused persons that inevitably, given the delay in time to trial, bring many back into custody on breach charges where the person does not necessarily pose a risk to society; that sureties are overused; that community alternatives to remand custody are underfunded, inadequate and not universally available in all jurisdictions; that individuals housed in correctional or detention centres are kept in conditions that are dehumanizing and overcrowded and that cause administrative headaches; that resources available to both private defence counsel and to legal aid are inappropriate and lacking; that too many vulnerable people or people accused of less serious offences are being detained and denied release which exacerbates the issues they face; that too many Indigenous Persons are detained in jail far outnumbering the percentage of their numbers in society as a whole, among a host of other charges and conclusions.

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Bail and Remand in Ontario – Ministry of the Attorney General – 2016-12
Raymond E. Wyant
December 2016
Ministry of the Attorney General