Oct 29, 2021
By Jeremy Logan
Ontario plans to spend $72 million over two years to tackle a courts backlog the province says has reached tens of thousands of cases over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Attorney General Doug Downey says part of the funding will go towards hiring more than 340 new court employees, including Crown prosecutors, victim support staff and bail vettors – experienced Crown attorneys who facilitate faster bail decisions and resolutions when appropriate.
He says the additional staff will help boost trial capacity and reduce the number of cases coming into the justice system, as well as speed up cases already in the system.
Downey says the province will also convene a team of experienced prosecutors to review files involving homicides and other targeted offences to help streamline those cases.
He says the province is also renting space in some areas to boost physical capacity, and plans to continue using technology for remote hearings and build on other processes to help handle cases virtually, such as a digital evidence management program.
The attorney general says he wants to ensure charges related to crimes such as murder and sexual assault aren’t being stayed due to delays in the judicial system.