B.C. welcomes introduction of amendments by federal government to strengthen bail system

ATTORNEY General Niki Sharma on Tuesday welcomed the federal government’s introduction of amendments to the Criminal Code to help address repeat violent offending in provinces across Canada.

She added: “B.C. has taken a leadership role in advocating for these changes.”

Sharma said in a statement: “The amendments reflect B.C.’s advocacy for a broad definition of violence, better protections when intimate partner violence is involved and an increased ability for community impact to be considered in bail hearings.

“We’ve been clear all along that federal action is needed to fix the core of this national issue. Given the challenges we’ve seen, I am glad the federal government has taken B.C.’s concerns seriously. While we’ll be looking closely at the details of the federal legislation, the amendments broadly cover the types of violence we are seeing in our communities.

“The proposed amendments would make it more difficult for people to get bail if they have been accused of specific firearms offences, repeated serious violent offending involving weapons, and repeat intimate partner violence. The amendments will also require justices to keep public safety at the forefront of their decision-making and state on the record how protecting community safety has been considered when making a bail order. I urge the federal parliament to pass these amendments quickly – communities can’t wait.”

Sharma added: “At the same time, we’re doing our part in B.C. to make our communities safer by strengthening enforcement and intervention services. Earlier this month, we launched the Repeat Violent Offending Intervention Initiative, which is now operational throughout the province where police, dedicated prosecutors and probation officers are focused on tackling repeat violent offending.

“We are determined to keep working with all partners to build safer, healthier communities for all British Columbians.”


Learn More:

To read the federal government news release on Bill C-48, visit:



BILL C-48 proposes to make targeted changes to the Criminal Code’s bail regime to ensure our communities stay safe. The changes would address repeat violent offending with weapons including knives and bear spray, gun violence, and intimate partner violence (IPV). The proposed reforms would make it more difficult for accused persons to get bail if it is alleged that they engaged in serious violent offending involving weapons, specific firearms offences and IPV. The Bill focuses on reverse onus provisions, which refer to circumstances where an individual would be detained while awaiting their trial unless they can prove to the court that their detention is not required. The proposed changes seek to improve the safety of people and communities across Canada.

Specifically, the Bill proposes to:

  • create a new reverse onus targeting repeat violent offending involving weapons
  • expand the list of firearms offences that trigger a reverse onus
  • broaden the existing reverse onus regime for victims of intimate partner violence (IPV)
  • clarify the meaning of the term “prohibition order” in an existing reverse onus for offences involving weapons
  • require courts to consider an accused person’s history of convictions for violence and the safety of the community when making a bail decision
  • hold a parliamentary review of these measures after five years of the bill receiving royal assent