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). In Q2, QB TTD was 682 days, which is below the average seen in the last two years.
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 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: