Federal government bail-reform legislation on way to becoming law

GAVEL

The federal government's bail-reform legislation is on its way to becoming law.
    
Justice Minister Arif Virani urged M-Ps to accept the amendments to Bill C-48 on Thursday and they did so unanimously.
    
The Liberal government introduced the bill earlier this year in the face of sustained calls from all provincial leaders and many police chiefs to make bail more difficult to access for repeat violent offenders.
    
The bill expands the use of reverse-onus provisions for certain offenders.
   
It means, instead of a Crown prosecutor having to prove in court why an accused person should stay behind bars until their trial, the person who has been charged must show why they should be released.
    
The provision is being expanded to include more firearms and weapons offences, and more circumstances in which the alleged crime involves intimate partner violence.
    
Indigenous and Black legal advocacy groups warn making bail harder to obtain risks increasing the overrepresentation of Black and Indigenous people behind bars, along with people who have mental illnesses or who are otherwise disadvantaged.