Enhancing Cost Effective Public Safety Through the Targeted Use of Electronic Montoring

Ensuring effective and targeted monitoring of persons that are on bail or have been convicted and released from custody into the community is a proactive crime prevention and public safety strategy that is authorized by law in Canada.

The alternative to this public safety tool is all too often an increased burden on police services whose resources are already stretched thin by inadequate funding to support increased responsibilities. Accordingly, it makes sense to use the specialized tool of Electronic Monitoring in appropriate cases and to ensure that the Crown is specifically aware of its availability and the legal authorizations for its use.

Electronic monitoring is expressly authorized in the variety of preventive recognizances or peace bonds found in s.810; 810.01 (organized crime); 810.001 (terrorism); 810.02 (forced marriage); 810.1 (sexual offense) and 810.2 (serious personal injury offense). Breaching the conditions of such an order is itself a criminal offense pursuant to s. 811 with imprisonment of up to four years.

Electronic monitoring has also been accepted by the Supreme Court and used as a reasonable condition’ for release on bail (s.515), pending appeal (s.816); or as a condition of probation (s.732.1) or a conditional sentence (s. 742.3). Although relatively rarely used, EM is also available for release from custody on either federal or provincial conditional release orders of all kinds. Experience has also shown that using EM as part of release order in domestic violence cases is particularly effective and provides great support for victims of these crimes.

A common feature of these various applications is that in almost all circumstances the request to include EM as a condition of release or part of a sentence must come from the Crown. As such, this Note is provided to help police gain greater awareness of this proactive public safety tool so that they can communicate the desire for its use to the Crown.

Funding for EM is also an important issue and Provinces should create specialized funding for it rather than expect the costs to be assumed by the policy agency involved. This specialized Provincial funding model has been used in B.C., Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Nova Scotia to date. Police organizations are also encouraged to seek the support of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police to convince the federal government to allocate part ($5M annually) of its existing Crime Prevention Action Fund ($44M annually) to create a special EM fund that police agencies or Provinces can access for EM deployment in defined circumstances.

SafeTracks GPS Canada is proud to work with police agencies throughout Canada in this public safety effort guided by the principle that it’s better to be proactive today than reactive tomorrow.