Ontario’s Big City Mayors (OBCM) supported a resolution, tabled by Brantford Mayor Kevin Davis, calling on the provincial government to take immediate steps to mitigate the increase in criminal activity experienced by municipalities throughout Ontario at their meeting held on February 25, 2022.
The call for bail reform action came in response to concerns raised by businesses, post-secondary institutions, neighbourhood associations, citizens and others. Specifically, Mayor Davis’ resolution called for the government to:
- Provide additional judicial resources to allow for matters to move as expeditiously through the court system as possible;
- Provide such additional space and/or technological resources for the local court systems to ensure there is adequate space and technological resources to address the significant local caseload most efficiently and consequently decrease the time a matter takes to be fully resolved;
- And dedicate the required resources to collect the forfeited surety monies and reinvest that money back into the provincial judicial system.
On April 27, 2023 the Province announced that $112 million will be invested to immediately strengthen the province’s bail system and ensure that high-risk and repeat violent offenders comply with their bail conditions. Specifics of the investment include:
- The creation of a new Bail Compliance and Warrant Apprehension Grant
- $24 million will be made available over three years to help the OPP and municipal and First Nations police services establish dedicated bail compliance teams. Teams will also assist prosecutors with gathering evidence and assessing public safety risk during the bail hearing stage.
- Grant funding may also be used to acquire bail compliance technology or support a network that police services could use to share bail offender information.
- Expansion of the OPP Repeat Offender Parole Enforcement (ROPE) Squad
- $48 million to create a dedicated Bail Compliance Unit within the OPP’s Repeat Offender Parole Enforcement Squad. This new dedicated, provincewide, Bail Compliance Unit will apprehend high-risk provincial offenders who have broken their bail conditions or are unlawfully at large.
- Establishment of Intensive Serious Violent Crime Bail Teams
- $26 million to create Intensive Serious Violent Crime Bail Teams within the courts system to ensure that there are dedicated prosecutors and subject matter experts to prepare for and properly conduct the often lengthy and complex bail hearings.
- Rollout of the Bail Compliance Dashboard
- A new provincewide bail monitoring system to allow police services to monitor high-risk offenders with the most accurate data possible.
“I am very encouraged by the provincial response to our advocacy efforts,” said Kevin Davis, Mayor for the City of Brantford. “This announcement signals that the Province agrees that reforming the broken bail system is an immediate priority. These additional resources are absolutely critical to prevent serious, violent and repeat offenders from escaping justice, and will better enable police to investigate and apprehend accused persons, with the ultimate goal of making our communities safer.”