Bail in Canada: Recent Developments and Perspectives



You are invited to the 2020 Proulx Roundtable Conference in Criminal Law. This year's Proulx Roundtable is an interdisciplinary event that brings together scholars and jurists to discuss some of the latest research and challenges that relate to bail/pre-trial detention and offers perspectives on ways to understand these issues along with reflections for moving forward. Our eminent guests are:

  • Professor Cheryl Webster, Dept of Criminology, U. of Ottawa
  • Professor Nicole Myers, Dept of Sociology, Queen’s U.
  • Justice Jessica Wolfe, Ontario Court of Justice
  • Professor Jillian Rogin, Faculty of Law, U. of Windsor
  • Professor Danardo Jones, Faculty of Law, U. of Windsor

The presentations and panel will be moderated by Professor Marie Manikis, William Dawson Chair at McGill's Faculty of Law.

Meeting on Zoom:

The Canadian criminal justice system has seen a constant rise of accused persons held in pre-trial detention, particularly among Indigenous and Black communities. Several reasons account for this rise, including systemic discrimination, the multiplication of conditions of release untailored to the social context and the individual, the use of sureties, the injection of retributive rationales within the bail process, and various other aspects highlighted in research. Furthermore, the recent pandemic has given rise to virtual processes, including virtual bail, as well as accentuated some of the pre-existing issues related to bail, notably delays, access to justice issues, and the overcrowded, unsanitary, and dangerous conditions of pre-trial detention.

Professor Cheryl Webster will begin by presenting an empirical picture of Canada’s current ‘bail crisis’ as a foundation to better assess the effectiveness of various strategies being proposed and/or implemented to alleviate it.

Professor Nicole Myers will discuss the recent move towards virtual bail and present findings from observations within this process.

Finally, Justice Jessica Wolfe and Professors Jillian Rogin and Danardo Jones will consider ways to understand and integrate the circumstances of Indigenous, Black, and marginalized populations into the bail process in order to reduce the over-representation of these groups within the criminal justice system.

The Michel Proulx Memorial Lecture Fund

The Hon. Michel Proulx (1939-2007) devoted his life to the improvement of the criminal justice system and to the advancement of human rights in Canada. Called to the Quebec Bar in 1963, he quickly acquired the reputation of being one of the finest criminal lawyers in Canada. A brilliant attorney, he acted as counsel before the Cliche Commission, the Malouf Commission, the Keable Commission, and the MacDonald Commission on the RCMP. In 1989, he was appointed to the Court of Appeal of Quebec. His achievements include a criminal and penal case management service that improved the court system and made it more efficient. In 2006, he was awarded the Prix de la Justice du Québec, in acknowledgement of his devotion to the improvement and promotion of justice in Quebec.

The Hon. Michel Proulx also taught Criminal Procedure and Evidence in Criminal Matters for over 20 years as an adjunct professor at the Faculty of Law of McGill. He supported our international human rights conference programs and provided counsel and encouragement to students, teachers and deans. 

This event is eligible for inclusion as 1.5 hours of continuing legal education as reported by members of the Barreau du Québec.

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