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 in the criminal court system for some time with its Criminal Justice System Modernization Strategy.
Compared to Time to Disposition (TTD) in Provincial Court, TTD for criminal matters that proceed to Queen’s Bench (typically the most serious of cases) fluctuates considerably from quarter to quarter, due to the very small number of cases handled each year (about 400 compared to 40,000 in Provincial Court).
The ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic has required all divisions of Manitoba Justice to undertake major adaptations and adjustments to support the safe continuation of Justice Business. Periods of temporary closures for Manitoba Courts, suspension of circuit court hearings, community closures, and other pandemic-related delays have resulted in an increase in time to disposition. However, the department continues to make improvements to infrastructure to allow courts business to be conducted remotely. Presently, a variety of technological enhancements are underway to improve video conferencing capacity in court centres and correctional centres to allow for court operations to be conducted virtually.
TTD for Queen’s Bench criminal matters is measured by the number of days between the accused’s first
appearance date and the date their charges are disposed of, usually either by the accused pleading guilty, the
outcome of a trial, or by the Crown staying the charge.
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. Individuals who are sentenced to two years or longer in jail 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 approaches 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:
The second wave of the COVID‐19 pandemic has required the department, and the whole of government, to shift
their priorities to support Manitobans during the pandemic and preserve the health and wellbeing of the
provincial population. With the exception of those judge‐alone criminal trials involving accused persons who
are in custody, all currently scheduled trials set to proceed between Monday, November 16, 2020 and
Friday, December 11, 2020, will be adjourned to administrative lists for rescheduling. However, all trials
presently underway will continue remotely until completion. This development may impact Q3 Court of
Queen’s Bench TTD figures.
Learn more about how your government is tracking against its priorities.