Ontario to change how criminal charges are filed and managed

SAULT STE. MARIE – The Ontario government is launching a new digital platform that will accelerate and simplify the way criminal charges are filed and managed. Under the initiative, police officers will be allowed to digitally file criminal charges to the court as an alternative to the current requirement of appearing before a Justice of the Peace. The eIntake platform will also allow Justices of the Peace to enter their decisions and sign documents digitally and request additional information from police online.

“We are providing frontline police officers with the tools and support they need to better protect the communities they serve,” said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. “The eIntake platform will enable police to spend more time preventing and investigating criminal activity by cutting down on the hours they must spend filling out paperwork and travelling back and forth to courthouses. This new platform is an important step toward building a more connected criminal justice system that will strengthen public safety across Ontario and hold criminals accountable.”

“Our government’s record of accelerating the modernization of the justice system during Ontario’s COVID-19 emergency and recovery also extends to the criminal justice sector, where we are focused on digitizing and connecting systems to support the work of prosecutors, police and the court,” said Attorney General Doug Downey. “We are committed to establishing new and innovative ways of delivering justice remotely and online, and we will continue to work with partners to build a more connected and resilient criminal justice system that responds to how the world has changed.”

The eIntake system was successfully piloted in Barrie and Orillia between November 2019 and September 2020 with support from the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP). “The OACP has worked closely with our government and justice partners during the development and implementation of this important step in the modernization of Ontario’s justice system,” said OACP Executive Director Jeff McGuire. “We are pleased with the success of the platform in Barrie and Orillia and strongly support the implementation of the new eIntake digital platform across the province.”

The province and the Ontario Court of Justice have begun rolling out the new application to courthouses in Sault Ste. Marie, Haileybury and Cochrane. In an email, Greg Flood from the Solicitor General office wrote, “All police services in Northeastern Ontario, including the OPP, municipal police and First Nations police will use the new service and we are working to train officers and staff at those police services on how to use it. The government’s ongoing work to modernize Ontario’s outdated justice system was accelerated during the COVID-19 emergency and recovery as justice partners worked together to reduce courthouse attendance and in-person interactions among police, judiciary, court staff and court users. The Ministry of the Solicitor General is working with the Ontario Court of Justice, the Ministry of the Attorney General and police services to look for opportunities to continue accelerating the rollout of Criminal eIntake across the province.”

More than 225,000 charging documents are filed in person by police officers across the province each year.