Canada plans to reform its bail system with new, tougher legislation

May 16 2023, 9:00 pm

Canada is making moves to reform the country’s bail system with new, tougher legislation.

Justice Minister David Lametti tabled the new Bill C-48 on Tuesday, which aims to make it more difficult for repeat violent offenders to be granted bail.

The legislation’s text outlines the proposed changes.

If enacted, it’ll amend theĀ Criminal CodeĀ in addition to the following:

  • Create reverse onus bail conditions for people charged with a serious violent offence involving the use of a weapon who were convicted in the last five years
  • Add certain firearms offences to existing reverse-onus provisions
  • Expand the reverse onus provision for offences involving intimate partner violence
  • Require the court to consider if an accused person has any previous convictions involving violence, and to include in the recorded statement that the safety of the community was considered

But what does reverse onus mean?

Usually, the burden of proof (or onus) is on the prosecutors to convince judges why an offender should remain in jail.

A reverse onus means the accused person will be required to prove in court why they should be released on bail.

These proposed changes to theĀ Criminal CodeĀ come after months of calls from provinces and territories for tougher laws in order to reduce the number of repeat violent offenders who are granted bail.

According toĀ The Canadian Press, premiers had unanimously asked the federal government to expand the reverse onus provisions.

Cases like the murder of a woman and her daughter in Edmonton earlier this month have brought attention to Canada’s bail system.

The accused killer had reportedly been released on bail for a different crime weeks earlier, reportedĀ The Canadian Press.Ā 

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