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Bail reform bill becomes law

Senate changes to Bill C-48 were endorsed by the House of Commons.

Legislation to strengthen Canada’s bail regime has received Royal Assent with changes initiated in the Senate.

Bill C-48 responds to public safety concerns about the bail system by introducing targeted measures to address repeat violent offending, with a focus on violence with weapons, said Senator Marc Gold, the Government Representative in the Senate.

“Bill C-48 is part of a national effort to strengthen Canada’s bail system, protect our communities and reinforce public confidence in the administration of justice,” he said.

“Legislating in this space is about finding the right balance. Accordingly, Bill C-48 proposes targeted adjustments to the Criminal Code. These proposals respond to widespread concerns about repeat violent offending by people on bail while at the same time respecting the right not to be denied reasonable bail without just cause.”

The Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs heard from 26 witnesses over the course of four meetings, and proposed amendments to the legislation.

The Senate as a whole agreed with proposed changes that would:

  • Require that bail judges give more explicit consideration to the circumstances of accused people from communities overrepresented in the criminal justice system; and;
  • Include the Senate in the five-year Parliamentary review of the legislation.

The House of Commons concurred with the Senate. Bill C-48 received Royal Assent on December 5, 2023.

Bail reform bill becomes law