Transparent Reporting on Government's Progress
Target: To maintain time to disposition at current levels while Bill C-75 is implemented
Manitoba Justice has been tackling time to disposition (TTD) in the criminal court system for some time with its Criminal Justice System Modernization Strategy.
For the 99 per cent of criminal matters that proceed in Provincial Court, TTD reached a record low of 156 days in Q2 of 18/19, and has remained around 160 days since then, compared to historic levels of 180-190 days.
Manitoba Justice expects the implementation of Bill C-75 to impact time to disposition in ways that cannot be estimated at present. Our goal therefore is to maintain TTD at its current level.
TTD in Provincial Court is measured by the number of days between the offender’s first appearance date for a charge and the date it is disposed of, usually by the accused pleading guilty, the outcome of a trial, or by the Crown staying the charge. In some cases, accused individuals fail to attend court as required and a warrant is issued for their arrest. The time that charges are in warrant status (until the accused is arrested and brought back to court) is excluded from the calculation.
Timely justice is important for victims to have resolution of their matter, and for the accused to receive the appropriate sentence and begin receiving rehabilitative programming. Excessive delays can result in charges being stayed either due to the Supreme Court of Canada’s Jordan decision, or to witnesses becoming unavailable or disinterested. They can also result in accused individuals remaining in provincial custody who would belong in federal custody upon sentencing. Offenders with custodial sentences of two years or longer are housed in federal institutions, but pre-sentence delays and credit for time served during this period can reduce sentences below the two-year threshold, resulting in more serious offenders serving their time in provincial institutions.
Our Criminal Justice System Modernization Strategy aims to improve and maintain time to disposition in a number of ways.
First, crime prevention initiatives should free up capacity in the justice system to deal with matters more quickly, as will making more effective use of restorative justice and other diversion options. Beyond this, changes to Crown policies and procedures have been introduced and continue to be refined. These changes: