December 1, 2016 11:20 am

Attorney General to hire more judges, lawyers to shorten trial wait times in Ontario

Attorney General Yasir Naqvi is also announcing that a bail verification and supervision program will be extended so that fewer low-risk accused are held in custody pending trial.

Nathan Denette / The Canadian Press
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TORONTO – Ontario is announcing plans to hire more judges, Crown attorneys, duty counsel and court staff to try to shorten the time it takes for criminal cases to get to trial.

Attorney General Yasir Naqvi is also announcing that a bail verification and supervision program will be extended so that fewer low-risk accused are held in custody pending trial.

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And as part of bail reforms, the government is launching a program to provide “bail beds” – supervised housing for accused people who may not have otherwise been granted bail because they have no fixed address – starting with a location in Thunder Bay.

The hiring announcement comes in the wake of a Supreme Court of Canada ruling last July that a reasonable delay to trial is 18 months for provincial cases and 30 months for cases before the superior court.

The Ontario Crown Attorneys Association recently estimated about 6,000 criminal cases could be stayed or withdrawn in the wake of the ruling.

Naqvi is announcing today that 13 more provincial judges will be appointed, and Ontario will hire 32 more assistant Crown attorneys, 16 duty counsel and 26 court staff.

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