Civil liberties and justice reform groups are expressing concerns about the fast-tracking of Canada’s bail-reform bill by the House of Commons. The bill, known as Bill C-48, will be sent to the Senate without undergoing committee study, which means potential effects and concerns may not be thoroughly examined. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the John Howard Society of Canada have met with Justice Minister Arif Virani to express their worries about the bill’s proposed measures, including the expansion of reverse-onus provisions. These groups argue that this could lead to increased pre-trial detention for Black and Indigenous individuals.
Civil liberties, justice reform groups troubled by House’s fast-tracking of bail bill
Leading civil society groups and criminal lawyers are expressing concerns about the House of Commons’ decision to fast-track Canada’s bail-reform bill without committee study. The bill, known as Bill C-48, has raised worries about its potential effects on accused individuals who are Black, Indigenous, or mentally ill. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the John Howard Society of Canada have met with Justice Minister Arif Virani to discuss their concerns, particularly regarding the expansion of reverse-onus provisions. Critics argue that the bill should be thoroughly examined in committee to address opposing views.
Concerns Raised by Civil Society Organizations
One of the main concerns raised by civil society organizations is the potential for the expansion of reverse-onus provisions to disproportionately impact Black and Indigenous individuals. These provisions would require accused individuals to demonstrate why they should be released on bail, rather than the prosecution having to prove why they should be detained. Critics argue that this could lead to an increase in pre-trial detention for marginalized communities.
Opposing Views Need to Be Heard
Critics of the fast-tracking decision argue that the bail-reform bill should undergo committee study to allow for opposing views to be aired. They believe that the bill has significant problems and lacks a strong evidentiary base. Without a thorough examination in committee, it is unclear whether the bill will achieve its intended goals of improving public safety. By allowing for opposing views to be heard and debated, a more comprehensive and effective bill can be developed.