Attorney General Niki Sharma has issued the following statement in response to the federal government introducing amendments to strengthen Canada’s bail system:
“We welcome the federal government's introduction of amendments to the Criminal Code to help address repeat violent offending in provinces across Canada. B.C. has taken a leadership role in advocating for these changes.
“The amendments reflect B.C.’s advocacy for a broad definition of violence, better protections when intimate partner violence is involved and an increased ability for community impact to be considered in bail hearings.
“We’ve been clear all along that federal action is needed to fix the core of this national issue. Given the challenges we’ve seen, I am glad the federal government has taken B.C.’s concerns seriously. While we’ll be looking closely at the details of the federal legislation, the amendments broadly cover the types of violence we are seeing in our communities.
“The proposed amendments would make it more difficult for people to get bail if they have been accused of specific firearms offences, repeated serious violent offending involving weapons, and repeat intimate partner violence. The amendments will also require justices to keep public safety at the forefront of their decision-making and state on the record how protecting community safety has been considered when making a bail order. I urge the federal parliament to pass these amendments quickly – communities can’t wait.
“At the same time, we’re doing our part in B.C. to make our communities safer by strengthening enforcement and intervention services. Earlier this month, we launched the Repeat Violent Offending Intervention Initiative, which is now operational throughout the province where police, dedicated prosecutors and probation officers are focused on tackling repeat violent offending.
“We are determined to keep working with all partners to build safer, healthier communities for all British Columbians.”
To read the federal government news release on Bill C-48, visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/department-justice/news/2023/05/strengthening-canadas-bail-system-to-help-keep-communities-safe.html