News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

March 10, 2023

Manitoba Government Achieves Commitment on Bail Reform for Repeat Violent Offenders

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Quick Action, Further Measures Urged after Important First Step: Goertzen

Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen is returning from Ottawa following meetings with provincial counterparts and the federal government that have resulted in a commitment to make bail harder to obtain for repeat violent offenders.

“Manitobans and all Canadians are concerned about the increase of violent, often random crime,” said Goertzen. “For months the Manitoba government has been a leading voice in the need for bail reform to stop accused repeat violent offenders from too easily getting bail and often victimizing other Manitobans. Today, the federal government made an important commitment to change, but we will continue to press for other reforms for the safety of all Manitobans.”

Following calls for bail reform from provincial and territorial justice ministers last fall and Canada’s premiers earlier this year, federal Justice Minister David Lametti committed today to introduce legislative changes as early as this session of Parliament, Goertzen said.

The changes would implement a reverse onus for repeat violent offenders who are seeking bail, as well as changes as it relates to serious offences committed with firearms. The reverse onus would apply to repeat offenders committing crimes using knives and bear spray—issues that were of particular concern to the Manitoba government, Goertzen added.

Additionally, the changes would require judges to consider the safety of the community as a whole and include that statement in a decision on bail, Goertzen noted.

“Keeping our streets safe is a key priority for our government. Today’s commitment is the result of significant work and advocacy by the Manitoba government, but that work has to continue to ensure we are doing all we can to make Manitobans safe and hold those who commit crimes accountable,” said Goertzen.

While looking forward to these commitments being fulfilled by the federal government, the Manitoba government continues to implement changes that are within provincial jurisdiction as it relates to monitoring those on bail, Goertzen noted.

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