What is a peace bond?

A peace bond is a court order that is a signed promise, in writing, to keep the peace and be of good behaviour. It can include conditions. For example, the other party may promise not to contact you.

Anyone can apply for a peace bond under section 810 of the Criminal Code.

These peace bonds are sometimes called “section 810 peace bonds” or “810 recognizances”.

To apply for a peace bond, you must go to criminal court and explain why you need a peace bond. For example, you should tell the court why you are afraid that your partner might hurt you, your children, your property, or your pets.

A section 810 peace bond can last for up to one year. If you need to be protected after your peace bond ends, you have to apply for another one.

Applying for a peace bond

To get a peace bond, you need to go to criminal court. Usually, you need to ask a justice of the peace (JP) for a peace bond. To find a JP, call your local courthouse or go to www.ontariocourts.ca/ocj/how-do-i/find-a-justice-of-the-peace.

You need to tell the JP why you think you need a peace bond. If the JP thinks there is enough evidence for your application to go to court, they will issue a summons to your partner to appear in court on a specific date.

Summons: a document that orders the other party to go to court on a specific date.

If the other party does not agree to a peace bond, there might be many delays before the court decides whether to give you a peace bond at a hearing.

The court looks at the evidence and decides whether or not they should order a peace bond and what conditions it should include.

You can have a lawyer represent you in court. Usually, you have to come to court to tell your side of the story. But you do not have to come if the other party agrees before the court date to sign a peace bond.

Important: Sometimes a JP or criminal court judge will suggest that both people sign a peace bond. This is called a “mutual” peace bond. Never agree to sign a mutual peace bond without getting legal advice first. It would mean that you must follow the same conditions as the other party. An cagey other party might try to get you to break a condition and then call the police to report you.

Conditions in a peace bond

Even though it is a court order, the peace bond will not give the other party a criminal record. But if the other party breaks any of the bond’s conditions, call the police. The other party might be charged with breaching a peace bond, which is a criminal offence. If he or she is found guilty, he or she can be sentenced to time in jail.

Peace bonds are entered on the police information computer system. The police can arrest anyone who breaks any of the conditions.

After you get a peace bond

Keep a certified copy of the peace bond with you at all times. The police need to see it before they can do anything if the other party does not follow the peace bond.

You might also want to give a copy to others.

Note, however, that if the other party opposes your request for a peace bond, there could be a hearing, which may mean time and expense for everyone involved.

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