Getting a peace bond
Learn how to apply for a peace bond.
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If you are afraid someone will harm you, your intimate partner or your child, or will damage your property, or will share an intimate image or video of you without your consent, you can apply for a peace bond against them.
A peace bond is a criminal court order made by a judicial official (a justice of the peace or a provincial court judge) that requires a person to keep the peace and maintain good behaviour. A peace bond may limit:
- what someone can do
- where someone can go
- who someone can contact
For example, conditions of a peace bond may require that the person not:
- contact or visit you, and/or a member of your family
- come near your property
- be within a certain distance of you and/or a member of your family
- possess weapons
Conditions of a peace bond can be tailored to your specific situation and can be in place for up to one year.
If you obtain a peace bond against someone, they must follow its conditions. If they breach any conditions of the peace bond, they may be charged with committing a criminal offence.
A peace bond is an order made under section 810 of the Criminal Code. It is not a restraining order. Learn more about restraining orders.
Who can get a peace bond
You, or someone on your behalf, can apply for a peace bond against anyone if you have reasonable grounds to fear that they will cause harm or injury to you, your intimate partner or your child, or damage your property, or share an intimate image or video of you without your consent. It does not have to be someone you were in a relationship with. For example, you could apply for a peace bond against a neighbour or co-worker. This is different from a restraining order.
To get a peace bond, you must prove that you have reasonable fear that another person will:
- hurt you, your intimate partner or your child
- damage your property, or
- share an intimate image or video of you without your consent (see section 162.1 of the Criminal Code)
Getting legal advice to apply for a peace bond
You do not need a legal representative (lawyer or paralegal) to apply for a peace bond, but they can help you navigate the process. Judges, justices of the peace and court staff cannot give you legal advice. Only a legal representative can give you legal advice. The Law Society maintains a directory of all licensed lawyers and paralegals in the province.
Apply for a peace bond at a courthouse
Step 1: Find a courthouse near you
You, or someone on your behalf, can apply for a peace bond at the criminal service counter of your local provincial courthouse.
The court’s criminal service counter will provide you with the necessary form (DOCX) to begin the application process.
Step 2: Complete the application and meet with a provincial court judge or justice of the peace
You must complete the application form to provide details of why you are requesting a peace bond. The person against whom you are seeking a peace bond is called the defendant. In the application form, you will also need to provide the address of the defendant.
Once you have completed the application form, you may return it to staff at the criminal service counter. A judicial official will then review your application and determine whether there are sufficient grounds to proceed further. If not, the application will be denied and the matter will not proceed.
If the judicial official determines there are sufficient grounds to proceed then court staff will prepare a formal document called an “information” for you to sign under oath, which starts the peace bond hearing process.
The judicial official will either issue a summons requiring the defendant to attend court on a specific date and time, or will issue a warrant to have the defendant arrested and brought to court by the police if they pose a danger or if there is a risk that they will not show up for court.
The court will also notify you of the date, time and location of the first court appearance and you will be required to attend court at this time. If you or your legal representative do not attend the first court appearance, the proceedings will be discontinued and you will have to reapply if you still wish to get a peace bond.
Step 3: Go to the first court appearance
At this first appearance, the defendant will learn why you are asking for a peace bond against them and they will decide whether or not to consent to the peace bond.
If the defendant consents to the peace bond, an order will be made requiring them to sign the peace bond confirming agreement with its conditions. If the defendant consents to the peace bond, then the matter is complete.
If the defendant does not consent to signing the peace bond, then the judicial official will set a date for a peace bond hearing.
Mutual peace bonds
Sometimes the judicial official will suggest a mutual peace bond, or the defendant may ask you to sign a peace bond too.
A mutual peace bond places conditions on both parties. For example, a mutual peace bond might say that neither of you can contact the other person.
Step 4: Go to your peace bond hearing (if applicable)
A peace bond hearing is required when the defendant does not consent to the peace bond. At a peace bond hearing, the judicial official will hear evidence from you and any witnesses you may have, and from the defendant and any witnesses the defendant wishes to call. Then, the judicial official will determine whether there are reasonable grounds to order a peace bond.
What happens at a peace bond hearing
At a peace bond hearing, you will have the opportunity to further explain to the court under oath why you need a peace bond against the defendant and you may present additional evidence for the court’s consideration. You may also arrange to bring witnesses to testify at this hearing under oath.
The defendant will also have an opportunity to provide their own evidence and to call their own witnesses. They will be able to ask you questions about your evidence if you testify and can also ask your witnesses questions about their evidence.
At the end of the hearing, after considering all the testimony and any other evidence, the judicial official will decide to either order the defendant to sign a peace bond or dismiss the application. If a peace bond is ordered, the judicial official will also decide what conditions should be included.
A defendant who refuses to sign a peace bond ordered by the judicial official can be sent to jail for up to one year.
Do I need a lawyer at my peace bond hearing?
You may represent yourself at your peace bond hearing or hire a legal representative to represent you. You or your legal representative will be responsible for presenting your evidence and where possible may be required to provide copies of the evidence.
Keeping copies of the peace bond
If the judicial official orders a peace bond, ask the court for a certified copy of thepeace bond and keep it with you at all times.
If the defendant does not follow the conditions in the peace bond, the police may need to review a copy of the peace bond before taking any action.
The police can warn or caution the defendant for not following the conditions of the peace bond. The police can also arrest, charge or take the defendant into custody for a bail hearing.
You may also want to give a copy of the peace bond to someone you trust. For example, if the peace bond says the defendant cannot contact your child, you should give a copy to your child’s teacher or principal so they are aware of this condition.
After a peace bond is ordered
Peace bonds are enforceable by police across Canada. The defendant who enters into a peace bond does not receive a criminal record of conviction, but they may be charged with a criminal offence if they breach any of the conditions listed in the peace bond.
A peace bond can be in place for up to 12 months. If you continue to have reasonable grounds to fear the defendant, you must apply for another peace bond, but you do not have to wait for the existing one to expire before applying again.