Prediction, Prevention and Proof

Artificial Intelligence and Peace Bonds in Canada


  • Michael Purcell Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General
  • Mathew Zaia University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law


The current trajectory of predictive artificial intelligence and algorithms suggests that their introduction into Canadian criminal courts is inevitable. This paper considers how predictive technologies can feature in Canadian criminal law. It suggests that peace bonds, as tools of preventative justice, are likely to attract the use of predictive technologies. Drawing on Canadian jurisprudence and increasingly used police technologies, the paper discusses the challenges and opportunities of adopting such technologies and addresses how the use of these machines would likely play out in the practice of criminal law. It cautions that a coherent legal framework is essential to optimize artificial intelligence’s potential in and out of the courtroom while maintaining Charter-protected liberty interests. The paper concludes by proposing that ongoing dialogue about predictive technology’s proper use and scope in criminal law should commence at the earliest opportunity. Particularly, it intends to contribute to the emerging discourse surrounding AI and criminal law in Canada.


Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Police Powers, Evidence, Admissibility, Peace Bonds, Artificial Intelligence, Predictive Technology, AI, Preventative Justice, Pre-Crime Policing, Civil Liberties


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