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Advocacy Practice Areas Criminal

FOLA Submission on Bill C-75, An Act Amending the Criminal Code and Other Acts

Sep 19, 2019 Modified: January 6, 2024

On September 19, 2019, Bill C-75, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other Acts and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, came into force. The resulting amendments to the Criminal Code have altered the landscape for legal advocates in the area of criminal law. Among other changes, the default maximum penalty for summary conviction offences has been raised from six months’ imprisonment to two years less a day. An overview of Bill C-75 can be found here.

FOLA’s Concerns with C-75

Nonwithstanding some improvements, FOLA shared the concerns of the Criminal Bar Association and focused our submission on three key areas:

1.  Restricting Preliminary Inquiries;

2.  Eliminating jury peremptory challenges; and

3.  Allowing routine evidence to be admitted by affidavit 

FOLA believes that access to justice in the criminal sphere includes access to both procedural fairness and a strong presumption of innocence. While work needs to be done to modernize the system and allow for alternative methods of discovering witnesses and minimizing the adversarial process in certain types of cases, engagement of the practicing bar will be key in ensuring the greatest gains are made in reforming the system.