New Bail Directive Released
On October 30, 2017 the province announced a new Bail Directive, which is an attempt to respond to court delays (post-R. v. Jordan) and reduce the number of individuals awaiting trial in custody. Major elements of the policy include:
emphasizing that bail recommendations should start with the least restrictive form of release
(the "ladder principle", recently highlighted in R. v. Antic), and that sureties should only be required as a last resort
- reinforcing that recommendations for conditions of release should be connected to both the circumstances of the accused and the facts of the case, while at the same time, meeting public safety concerns
- highlighting the requirement to take into account the unique circumstances of Indigenous peoples when an accused person self-identifies as Métis, Inuit or First Nation
- emphasizing the use of community based programs as alternatives to detention for mentally ill accused persons who come in contact with the law
The new Directive aims to reduce barriers faced by Indigenous and racialized communities at the bail stage, ensure low-risk and vulnerable individuals have access to the appropriate supports for safe releases, and speed up the bail process generally.
The new Directive is part of Ontario's plan to speed up the resolution of criminal cases and will be released in the coming weeks, forming part of the Crown Prosecution Manual.