Contact a lawyer now

How does Bail Work in Canada

how does bail work in canada

One of the most common terms we hear in pop culture when someone gets arrested is bail. Most of the countries have their own law regarding bail. Similarly, in Canada, bail refers to the process of releasing an accused for a short period of time. On the other hand, during the bail period, the accuser will try to work the charges they made into a resolution and prepare a strong case against the accused. In short, this is how bail works in Canada.

What is Bail?

Bail is the legal word for the procedure that decides whether a person accused with a crime will be held or released pending trial.

When someone is charged with a crime, they are taken into custody and held in jail until their appearance in a court of law is required. Their bail hearing must take place within 24 hours after their arrest, or as soon as practicable if no judge is available.

How does Bail Work in Canada?

The legal term for bail in Canada is a judicial interim release.

Once an accused is arrested for a crime, the police can release the accused under these situations,

  • If the accused made an appearance on notice.
  • If the police decide to apply for a summons or issue a promise to appear.

However, if the police do not release the accused, then the bail hearing will take place a justice of the peace or a Provincial Court judge. The justice or the judge will then make the decision regarding the fate of the accused and whether they will be permitted with a release or bail.

Some factors that are considered by the justice or the judge while making such a decision are:

  • Timing
  • Grounds for Detention
  • Burden of Proof
  • Evidence

After the decision is made, the justice or the judge will then proceed to make what form or type of bail the accused should be guaranteed and whether extra conditions should be imposed or not.

Types of Bail in Canada

There are different types of bail or release a court can order to be implemented on the accused. Once the court has made sure that they have well enough case and reason to release an accused, they can go ahead and do so.

However, the court also practices the right to give extra conditions on these bails, and if the accused failed to follow the conditions correctly, they could be immediately arrested.

The types of bail or release in Canada are as follow:

  • Release without conditions
  • Undertaking with conditions
  • Recognizance with sureties and without deposit
  • Recognizance with deposit and without sureties
  • Recognizance without sureties and without deposit
  • Recognizance with sureties and with deposit
  • Recognizance if not ordinary resident
  • No bail bondsmen or insurance
  • Detention

Grounds of Detention

According to section 515(10) of the Criminal Code of Canada, detention can only be justified under the following grounds:

  • Primary Ground – the accused need to attend the court as required and not attempt to skip the bail.
  • Secondary Ground – if the accused is likely to harm the victim or witnesses or a minor and put them at risk, it is to protect them from the accused.
  • Tertiary Ground – “if the detention is necessary to maintain confidence in the administration of justice.”

What are the Conditions?

As mentioned above, when an accused is released on bail, they will have to fulfill some conditions.  These conditions are imposed by the court and must be implemented; otherwise, the accused will have to face the consequences.

The conditions are as listed below.

  • Cannot leave the territorial jurisdiction.
  • Must report to the police on the appointed time.
  • Cannot go to certain locations.
  • Cannot communicate or get in touch with certain people – directly or indirectly.
  • If address, occupation, or employment is changed during the bail period, they must notify the police immediately.
  • Must follow any extra condition the court imposes for the safety of the victim or witnesses.
  • Must follow any other extra conditions the court imposes as they see fit, and
  • Must deposit their passport.

Read Also: Different Types of Marriage Contracts

When Can Bail be Denied?

According to its Criminal Code, bail cannot be denied without a proper and justified reason in Canada. The Canadian Bill of Rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms correctly implemented and followed this law.

However, despite the right and protection mentioned above, bail can be denied in certain situations. Some of these situations include:

  • If the accused have a history of flight.
  • If the accused have a criminal record for breaching court orders.
  • If firearms were involved in the crime.
  • If the accused have mental health issues.
  • If the accused have addiction issues.
  • The level of deliberate planning the accused did to commit the crime.
  • If the accused have a long and serious criminal record.
  • If the accused is likely to harm the victim or the witnesses.

Besides the situations mentioned above, there are several more where the accused could be denied bail. These situations are generally divided into three sections or grounds: Primary Grounds, Secondary Grounds, and Tertiary Grounds.

The Cost of Bail in Canada

One crucial aspect of Canadian bail is that the accused do not have to pay money. The bail actually costs nothing if all the conditions that are imposed with the bail order are followed.

If the accused fails to follow the conditions, the Crown can demand the accused to pay some or all bail money.

The bail ranges typically from $2000 – $5000, and as mentioned above, the accused will only have to pay the money if they breach the bail order or, in other cases, fails to show up in the court at the required time.

Read Also: Categories of Family Law Documents

Do You get the Bail Money Back in Canada?

If the accused find themselves in a situation where they have to pay their bail money to the court, then it means some bail conditions have been breached. If that’s the case, then the accused will not get any money back; instead, the accused will have to make sure they pay the required bail amount.

However, keep in mind, in Canada, while the accused isn’t liable to pay bail money unless bail has been breached, the accused might be asked to make a cash deposit to the court. If so, before the accused leaves for bail, they will have to deposit the amount of cash the court wants. They will need a third party, i.e., a lawyer, friends, or family, to make the deposit. After the case is resolved, the accused is bound to get the deposit they made back only if they managed not to breach the bail order or breach any of the conditions while they were out on bail.

Keep in mind, the accused will only have to deposit if they are not a resident of the city they are arrested in or live more than 200 km away from the area of custody.

Canadian Bail Law for Severe Criminal Offences

Canadian law of bail is different for criminal offenses that are considered to be the most serious.

These criminal offenses are listed in section 469 of the Criminal Code of Canada. Some of these offenses are listed below.

  • Piracy
  • Murder
  • Alarming her Majesty
  • Treason
  • Inciting to mutiny

If the accused have committed any of these crimes, then the above-discussed bailing rules do not apply. The rulings and justice systems of these crimes are entirely different.


To conclude, if you get accused of a crime, whether you committed it or not, make sure you hire a criminal defense lawyer. The legal world is complex, and it is not easy to tread through it without making mistakes if you are not a trained lawyer. Thus, it is always a safe bet to hire a criminal defense lawyer and take their help to understand the depth of your situation. Not every accused will get bail; hence, if one does get a release on bail, the accused must follow all the imposed conditions correctly.

Otherwise, the court and the police can arrest the accused on the spot if the accused has breached the bail order. If you find yourself in such a situation, make sure you educate and learn everything you need to relate to your case and know your legal rights. Keep in mind understanding the law of bail related to your situation and how it can be implemented. These kinds of information and knowledge will aid you in absolute dire situations.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does bail money work in Canada?

When criminal charges are settled, bail money is returned to the individual who paid it if the bail was not violated. If your bail application is refused, you may be held in jail until the criminal allegations against you are resolved.

Does Canada charge bail?

Bail is the release of a person accused with a crime before to trial or sentencing. The right to reasonable bail is guaranteed under the Canadian Bill of Rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Can you bail someone out of jail in Canada?

When a person is charged with a crime in Canada, they may be released with or without a bail hearing. Without a bail hearing, an accused is released on a promise to appear or a police recognizance.

What is the average bail amount in Canada?

Bails range from $500 to $2000 or $3000 for most common offenses. Bail can be set at very high amounts if the offence is serious or the person and surety can afford it.

What are the conditions for bail?

Bail conditions might include: 1. Living at a certain address. 2. On the doorstep. 3. Curfew (having to be at the place they are living between certain times) 4. E-mail surveillance