In Canada when someone refers to a "restraining order" typically they are, in fact, referring to a section 810 peace bond. A peace bond is Canada’s version of a “restraining order.” In section 810 of the Criminal Code of Canada, the statutory procedure to obtain an Order that requires a person to keep the peace and be of good behaviour is set out.
A peace bond as a restraining order can be used in the absence of formal criminal prosecution to prevent contact, either directly or indirectly, between the informant and the defendant, who is alleged to have made the informant reasonably fear for their safety. The test that is employed to determine whether or not a peace bond hearing is warranted is whether the alleged behaviour of the named person constitutes behaviour that would reasonably make the informant fear for their safety.
In this context, fearing for one's safety is defined as a fear that another person will cause personal injury to themselves or their spouse or child, or will damage their property.
How Do I Get A Restraining Order Against Someone?
This process of having a peace bond laid starts with the informant attending the Justice of the Peace's Office and swearing that the allegations they are making are true. If the Justice of the Peace is satisfied that the informant fears for their safety, Information can be laid seeking a peace bond against that person.
Once the information has been laid against the other party, a hearing must be held at which a Judge or Justice of the Peace will decide whether to order the defendant to enter into a peace bond. The informant will be required to give evidence under oath about the allegations at the hearing and may be cross-examined on their evidence by the defendant or the defendant’s lawyer.
This hearing provides an opportunity for the defendant to respond and disprove the allegation that they have made the informant reasonably fear for their safety. If the court is satisfied on reasonable grounds that the informant fears for their safety or damage to their property, the court can issue a peace bond requiring the defendant to “keep the peace and be of good behaviour”.
In addition to requiring that the defendant “keep the peace and be of good behaviour”, a peace bond may also set out specific conditions intended to protect a person or a specific type of property.
The most common conditions contained in peace bonds require that the recipient not be within a specific distance of the informant or the informant’s family, refrain from going near the informant’s property, not communicate with the informant or the informant’s family, and/or that the defendant not be in possession of any weapons or firearms.
Should a peace bond be issued, it does not result in a criminal record for the defendant. That being said, there are potentially negative consequences associated with having a peace bond issued against you.
For instance, certain criminal record checks would reveal the peace bond and could potentially be a barrier to future employment for the defendant. Should an Information seeking a peace bond be laid against you, it is in your best interest to seek out representation from a skilled criminal defence lawyer to defend you at your hearing.
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