Province of Ontario

05/30/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 05/30/2024 10:59

Ontario Increasing Court Capacity

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TORONTO - The Ontario government is allocating over $29 million to appoint at least 25 new judges to the Ontario Court of Justice (OCJ) and hire 190 more Crown prosecutors, victim support and court staff. The investment will help the court to keep pace with a growing number of complex cases and address the existing backlog of criminal cases. It will also improve access to justice for those involved in the criminal justice system, including victims and their families.

"Through this investment, we are taking action to ensure the court has the capacity to hear cases in a timely manner," said Attorney General Doug Downey. "Keeping families and communities safe is a top priority for our government and this investment builds on the progress being made in reducing and resolving cases before the courts."

"The Ontario Court of Justice applauds this commitment to providing additional judges," said Chief Justice Sharon Nicklas. "This infusion will be critical in helping the court achieve its vision for a fair, accessible and innovative system that delivers impartial and timely justice, ensuring that all participants are treated with dignity and can take part meaningfully."

This funding is in addition to the $72 million provided from 2021-2023 through the province's criminal case backlog reduction strategy to address an unprecedented backlog of criminal cases that accumulated in Ontario's justice system due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This investment of new judges, Crown prosecutors and support staff will help reduce the ongoing backlog of criminal cases in Ontario's courts, while keeping communities safe and holding offenders accountable.

Quick Facts

  • In July 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada established an 18 month time limit for criminal proceedings in the OCJ to ensure that cases are heard within a reasonable time.
  • In November 2023, the OCJ issued a direction to court participants that requires criminal cases to be scheduled for trial within 15 months from the date the charge is laid, ensuring that the court offers a trial date within the 18 month time limit.
  • Since April 2023, the province has allocated almost $6 million in annual funding to increase the number of full-time permanent court staff across Ontario.

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