Ford eyeing provincial moves on bail reform while calling for Criminal Code changes

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says he has met with the province’s attorney general and solicitor general on ways to “support” the bail system.

Ford and the other premiers have been calling on the federal government to initiate bail reform, including creating a reverse onus on bail for people accused of certain firearm offences under the Criminal Code.

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A letter sent last month by the premiers followed the late December killing of Ontario Provincial Police Const. Greg Pierzchala, whose alleged killer was on bail for assault and weapons charges.

It was unclear what provincial remedies Ford is considering, but a legislative committee in Ontario is also studying the issue.

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The committee was in its second and final day of hearings Wednesday, with testimony from police groups, lawyers’ associations, civil liberties groups and others.

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Police groups at committee are calling for stricter rules for violent, repeat offenders, while the Canadian Civil Liberties Association says increased reliance on pre-trial detention would disproportionately affect people who are Black, Indigenous, or experiencing poverty or mental illness.

&© 2023 The Canadian Press

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