Peace Bonds and Violence Against Women: A Three-Site Study of the Effect of Bill C-42 on Process, Application and Enforcement

4. Background

In 1995, the federal government introduced a bill that made amendments to Criminal Code sections 810 and 811.  The objectives of Bill C-42 were threefold:

  1. to make it easier to obtain a peace bond and increase accessibility to peace bonds, by making it possible for someone such as a neighbour, friend or police officer to apply for a peace bond on behalf of a person at risk of harm;
  2. to provide concrete examples to judges of the types of conditions that may be applied to peace bonds; and
  3. to increase the maximum penalty for the violation of a peace bond from six months on summary conviction to two years on indictment.

The amendments were as follows:

Subsection 810 (3) of the Act was replaced by the following (as indicated by underlining):

(3) The justice or the summary conviction court before which the parties appear may, if satisfied by the evidence adduced that the person on whose behalf the information was laid has reasonable grounds for his or her fears,

  • (a) order that the defendant enter into a recognizance, with or without sureties, to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for any period that does not exceed twelve months, and comply with such other reasonable conditions prescribed in the recognizance, including the conditions set out in subsections (3.1) and (3.2), as the court considers desirable for securing the good conduct of the defendant; or
  • (b) commit the defendant to prison for a term not exceeding twelve months if he or she fails or refuses to enter into the recognizance.

Section 810 of the Act was amended by adding the following after subsection (3.1):

(3.2) before making an order under subsection (3), the justice or summary conviction court shall consider whether it is desirable, in the interests of the safety of the informant, of the person on whose behalf the information was laid or of that person’s spouse or child, as the case may be, to add either or both of the following conditions to the recognizance, namely, a condition

  • (a) prohibiting the defendant from being at, or within a distance specified in the recognizance from, a place specified in the recognizance where the person on whose behalf the information was laid or that person’s spouse or child, as the case may be, is regularly found; and
  • (b) prohibiting the defendant from communicating, in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, with the person on whose behalf the information was laid or that person’s spouse or child, as the case may be.

Finally, section 811 of the Act was replaced by the following:

811. A person bound by a recognizance under section 810 or 810.1 who commits a breach of the recognizance is guilty of

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