New Pardon Reform Bill – Bill-C36

The Liberal government has introduced a bill – Bill C-36 – which seeks to introduce significant reforms in the area of pardon law. The bill, as it stands, is nowhere near becoming law and is only at the first reading. Moreover, using history as a benchmark, one may wonder if the bill will make it anywhere close to becoming law in Canada.If it ever does, there are some key changes to the law surrounding pardons that would [...]

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How to Find Your Court Date Online

For individuals who don’t have criminal lawyers, all court dates must be attended, otherwise there is a risk that a bench warrant could be issued for your arrest.A useful website operated by the government offers a list of all Ontario Court of Justice court dates in every court jurisdiction across Ontario for easy access..You can access two days in advance, but not further out. If your court date is more than two days away, you would have to [...]

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Judicial Referral Hearings – What Are They?

The enactment of Bill C-75 introduced a new type of criminal court hearing that could lead to a significant reduction in the number of certain types of criminal charges entering in the court system.Through the amendment to the Criminal Code of Canada, and in particular the addition of s. 523.1, the police or the Crown can decide to not proceed with formal criminal charges in certain circumstances, in exchange for having an accused’s release conditions reviewed by a Judge.The [...]

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Criminal Background Checks in Ontario

There are three types of criminal background checks in Ontario, based on a law that took effect in 2015 called the Police Record Check Reform Act. These include a Criminal Record Check, a Criminal Record and Judicial Matters Check and a Vulnerable Sector Check.Before a criminal lawyer completes a criminal case, they often will be asked by their client whether the case, or the case outcome, could appear on a criminal background check. It is [...]

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Undertaking to Peace Officers – What Are They and What Legal Implications Arise?

Criminal Lawyers are well aware of what an Undertaking to a Peace Officer is, and what legal implications they have, but not all individuals who sign them have the same appreciation of the document.  These documents carry significant legal importance and are usually one of the few things a Criminal Lawyer will review. In short, an Undertaking to a Peace Officer is a type of release that the Police place an accused.  By signing an Undertaking, the accused agrees to [...]

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What is Self Defence in Canadian Criminal Law?

Self Defence is a legal defence (known as a justification) to criminal wrongdoing.  The law surrounding this defence was amended in 2012, and is now found under section 34 of the Criminal Code of Canada.    The current law simplied the old regime, which contained 4 separate sections of the Criminal Code dedicated to the defence (and now it is one). Under new section 34, persons will not be guilty of an offence if:they believe on reasonable grounds that force, [...]

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‘Stripping away’ Charter rights: Ontario’s problem with strip searches

Published article on The Lawyer’s Daily (written in collaboration with Sanja Mavrak, Criminal and Civil Lawyer) – August 22, 2019 “Almost two decades after the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) released its landmark ruling in R. v. Golden [2001] 3 S.C.R. 679 in which the court set out the legal parameters surrounding justifiable strip searches, police forces across Ontario are continuing to have difficulty with adhering to these legal precepts. In fact, the lack of conformity to the rules set out [...]

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What Is The PAR (Partner Assault Response) Program?

What Is the PAR Program? The PAR program is a counselling program, operated through a variety of different service providers, that targets domestic violence at an early stage.  The following are some of the topics covered in the program:Anger awareness (internal cues: psychological and physiological changes) Power and control issues in relationships Gender roles, men and abuse Anger interventions and applications e.g. non-retaliation in confrontations, defusing anger in interpersonal interactions, mindfulness in everyday life, letting go, keeping an anger journal Effective communication in the [...]

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The Cannabis Act (Bill C-45) – Legalization of Marijuana

POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA – NEW LEGAL PROVISIONS Starting on October 17, 2018, the legalization of recreational use of Marijuana will take effect, by way of the new provisions in the Cannabis Act (Bill C-45). This new law will permit individuals to possess small amounts of marijuana. For example, an adult (someone who is 18 years or older) will be permitted to possess up to 30 grams of the substance. Young persons (individuals between 12 and 18) are permitted to possess [...]

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Summary Conviction vs Indictable Criminal Offences

If you’ve been charged with a Criminal Offence, you’ve probably come across the terms “Summary Conviction” and “Indictment“.  Often, this legal terminology will appear on a page, usually referred to as a Charge Screening Form, located at the front of your disclosure package. The Charge Screening Form will indicate how the Crown Attorney intends to proceed on your charges – either by Summary Conviction or by Indictment.   But what do these terms mean? There are 3 types of criminal offences: [...]

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