TORONTO - Court backlogs in Ontario are at their highest level in 15 years, even though the province has increased spending by $100 million to reduce the waits.

Auditor General Jim McCarter also found that correctional services officers in Ontario took an average of 32.5 sick days last year.

That's a "serious" problem, McCarter says in his annual report, and it cost the province $20 million.

McCarter's audit found that the number of inmates in Ontario jails awaiting court appearances has almost doubled in the past decade.

They account for almost 70 per cent of the province's jail population.

McCarter says the backlogs also stem from the fact that more criminal charges are being laid and that it takes more court appearances to dismiss a case.

And he found that Ontario would have to hire "a significant number" of new judges and justices of the peace and provide more support staff to be on par with other provinces.