Stop the Insane and Broken Revolving Door of Repeat Offenders

The bail system needs to be fixed to stop the disorder and keep Torontonians safe."
— Mark Saunders

Toronto – Major crime in Toronto is already on the rise in 2023 compared to 2022, with a high of almost 38 percent earlier this year. Toronto continues to see a deplorable number of incidents of gun and gang violence, and far too often, they involve individuals who are out on bail at the time.

Crime and disorder are out of control and Toronto residents don’t feel safe, whether taking the subway or even walking down the street in the middle of the day, and the statistics show why:

  • In 2022, there were 44 shooting-related homicides in Toronto.
    • Of these, seven were on a firearm-related bail at the time and 17 were on any type of bail.
  • In 2021, 772 people were released on bail for firearms related charges.
    • Of these, 165 were re-arrested while on bail for more firearms-related charges, and of those, 98 were re-arrested a third time for a firearms-related charge.
    • 50 percent of these people were granted bail a third time.

“As a police officer for 38 years, I’ve seen firsthand how lives have been destroyed with pain, loss and grief at the hand of serious and repeat violent offenders, including those with firearms offences, when they are released back onto the streets,” said Saunders. “Canada’s dysfunctional bail system has been bogged down in politics, and enough is enough.”

As Mayor, Saunders would:

  • Immediately meet with the Prime Minister to call for urgent reform to the bail system and Criminal Code to prevent ‘catch-and-release’ release policies.
  • Push for the creation of a reverse onus at bail hearings for violent and repeat offenders, including those with firearm charges. People who fall into these groups should have an onus of being held unless they present a good reason to be released.
  • Ensure that bail hearings for the most serious firearm offences are heard by a judge of the Superior Court, rather than at the lower provincial court level.

“Repeat offenders pose a threat to public safety and the justice system needs to step up and make it harder for them to get bail. Although bail is a constitutional right, it can’t be at the detriment of public safety,” said Saunders.

In the coming weeks through the campaign, Saunders will announce more details of his plan to protect Toronto’s future, including a mental health plan, that will complement other parts of his platform.

As a former police chief, Mark Saunders knows what needs to be done to make Toronto safe again. You can read his full plan at

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