Ontario will hold public hearings on what the province can do to toughen up bail reform on Jan. 30 and 31.
The Standing Committee on Justice Policy passed a motion on Wednesday to study "a study on the reform of Canada’s bail system as it relates to the provincial administration of justice and public safety with regard to persons accused of violent offences or offences associated with firearms or other weapons."
The committee will invite six police officers to give presentations:
- Thomas Carrique, commissioner, Ontario Provincial Police
- Mark Baxter, president, Police Association of Ontario
- John Cerasuolo, president, Ontario Provincial Police Association
- Jim MacSween, York Regional Police chief
- Myron Demkiw, chief, Toronto Police Service
- Jon Reid, president, Toronto Police Association
The committee will write a report based on those presentations in February.
As soon as Wednesday's meeting started, the Progressive Conservative members voted to go in-camera despite opposition MPPs asking why that was necessary.
Provincial bail systems are controlled by the federal government under the Criminal Code. But provincial and municipal police enforce bail conditions, including violations.
The members had a "broad" discussion about the province's role in public safety and firearms-related offences, according to one source at the meeting. QP Briefing granted them anonymity to talk about the meeting which was not open to the public.
"We talked a bit about the time frame, the need to do it right away," they said.
Premier Doug Ford has ramped up his calls on the federal government to toughen the bail system after OPP Const. Grzegorz Pierzchala was shot and killed in December. One of the suspects was out on bail for firearm-related offences at the time of the shooting.
Civil liberties experts have cautioned against tightening bail, noting that despite a long-term decrease in violent crime in Canada, the majority of people in provincial jails are on remand and still presumed innocent.
The meeting lasted about an hour.
No reason was given for going in-camera, the source said.