National Aboriginal Advisory Committee

Record of the Meeting of December 15 & 16, 2016 Ottawa, Ontario CSC-NHQ

The National Aboriginal Advisory Committee (NAAC) provides advice and recommendations to the Commissioner on the provision of correctional services to Aboriginal offenders.
- Role Statement

In attendance on December 15th:
Roy Louis, NAAC member
Lloyd Haarala, Elder, NAAC member
Lillian George, NAAC member
Ted Norris, NAAC member
Muriel Stanley Venne, NAAC member
Rhoda Innuksuk, NAAC member

CSC Staff:
Don Head, Commissioner, NHQ, CSC (opening only)
Anne Kelly, Senior Deputy Commissioner, NHQ, CSC
Lisa Allgaier, Director General, Aboriginal Initiatives Directorate
Marty Maltby, Director Operations, Aboriginal Initiatives Directorate
Sarah Strickland, A/Senior Analyst, Aboriginal Initiatives Directorate

In attendance on December 16th:
Roy Louis, NAAC member
Lloyd Haarala, Elder, NAAC member
Lillian George, NAAC member
Ted Norris, NAAC member
Muriel Stanley Venne, NAAC member
Rhoda Innuksuk, NAAC member medicines

CSC Staff:
Anne Kelly, Senior Deputy Commissioner, NHQ, CSC
Lisa Allgaier, Director General, Aboriginal Initiatives Directorate
Marty Maltby, Director Operations, Aboriginal Initiatives Directorate
Sarah Strickland, A/Senior Analyst, Aboriginal Initiatives Directorate

Kelly Lendsay, President and CEO, Aboriginal Human Resource Council

Don Head, Commissioner, NHQ, CSC
Alex Paul, NAAC member
Fred Campiou, NAAC member
Jusipi Keleutak, NAAC member
Pallaya Ezekiel, Interpreter

DAY 1: Thursday December 15, 2017
Opening Ceremony, Welcome and Introductions
Opening Ceremony:  The day commenced with an opening prayer.

Welcome and Introductions: Don Head, Commissioner, and Anne Kelly, Senior Deputy Commissioner (SDC) welcomed the National Aboriginal Advisory Committee (NAAC) members, the Director General of the Aboriginal Initiatives Directorate (AID) Lisa Allgaier, and Director Operations AID Marty Maltby to the meeting and introductions were completed.
Opening Remarks
The Commissioner highlighted the importance of NAAC’s role, stressing the need for their continued contributions while responding to the recommendations of the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) and Office of the Correctional Investigator (OCI) Reports.

Documenting and capturing progress, such as security classifications to prepare inmates for conditional release and movement to Section 81 facilities and Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) Healing Lodges were identified as a priority. It was noted that security reclassifications will be completed once inmates complete the Pathways Initiative, unless the Parole Officer can prove otherwise.

Employment was noted as a focus moving forward, to help enhance conditional release opportunities and offender success beyond warrant expiry dates. This will include working with the regions to improve work release opportunities for inmates. It was noted that increased employability skills should also positively impact offender access to housing.

Section 84 releases were also highlighted as a focus with the question of how we go about engaging our communities more. It was noted that NAAC may be well positioned to assist with communications.

The group discussed that there is a tendency to focus on negative aspects regarding incarcerated Indigenous individuals and agreed it was important to find a way to communicate the good news stories. The NAAC members agreed and shared that they would like to be more involved in this process.

Recommendation: Focus going forward on addressing the recommendations in the OAG and OCI reports and on enhancing: case management practices for Indigenous offenders, community relations with Indigenous communities, employability options for Indigenous offenders, sharing positive stories and enhancing overall NAAC involvement.

Action: Ongoing.

During the opening remarks, NAAC members proposed and agreed that media relations could be utilized to get more positive messages out to the public. They also emphasized communication and the enhancement of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act Section 84 relations with Indigenous communities, specifically on involving the communities earlier in the release process as an essential measure to improve reintegration results. NAAC members noted they may be able to assist by reaching out to communities, to identify what services and programs already exist and could be leveraged for release planning.

The members also highlighted the enhancement of cultural competency and staff development, and improving employability of offenders through training and literacy programs/initiatives as priorities to increase offender’s reintegration results.

Action: To focus on building staff knowledge on Indigenous offenders and initiatives through training, and work towards improving offender literacy and employability. Additionally engaging NAAC members to reach out to Indigenous communities to facilitate communication and work towards leveraging existing resources and ultimately building stronger and more timely Section 84 plans for conditional release planning.

NAAC Priority Discussions
NAAC Priority Discussions on Human rights / mental health with a particular focus on segregation
  • NAAC lead: Lillian George
The NAAC lead spoke to the necessity of addressing trauma and helping offenders establish links to family and mental health supports prior to release. It was voiced that resources from Indigenous communities should be utilized first rather than sending offenders to urban centers as a solution. Discharge Planners were discussed and noted as being utilized only for offenders with the most significant needs, leaving many without links to mental health community resources upon release. It was noted that alternative government options could be explored to assist offenders with mental health issues as part of their reintegration plan.

The NAAC lead noted that Elders and Spiritual Advisors are now involved in the Segregation process and that segregation times have been reduced. It was noted that Indigenous mental health workers are under-represented due to challenges with requirement and retention. Following this the need for culturally competent staff to address cultural and mental health needs of those in segregation was highlighted. It was noted that Elders or Native Counselors will be better able to assist from a cultural approach or someone with specific training to address Indigenous needs.

Following the updates provided by the NAAC lead, the discussion focused on Aboriginal Social History (ASH) training which was being delivered Nationally to various groups and to increase cultural awareness and that participants are presenting as engaged. Segregation was also discussed as one of the key priorities of the Service and that CSC will continue to build on its achievement (reduction in segregation usage) in order to minimize the use of segregation as CSC continues to reform its operations to better ensure safety and security in the institutions.

A NAAC member requested copies of Indigenous specific mental health information and noted that there will be a meeting on mental health, trauma and Indigenous women in March 2017 that could be valuable to attend.

Action: Continue to provide ASH training to staff members.
Send NAAC lead to mental health workshop in March 2017.

NAAC Priority Discussions Inuit Strategy
  • NAAC lead: Rhoda Innuksuk
The NAAC lead shared that the focus was on the Inuit Integrated Correctional Program Model (IICPM) which is still under development with Mamisarvik. It was shared that the Primer IICPM will contain six modules: Setting a Foundation, Coping Skills, Reconnecting, Trauma treatment, Healing Journey and Bringing Everything Together. IICPM will include five (5) modules plus have a separate module available for Inuit sex offenders. The five modules are: Family, Relationships, Grief, Anger, and Trauma. The goal is to run this program so that an offender could start at the beginning of any module (with the exception of Trauma).

Following the updates provided by the NAAC lead, the ensuing discussion focused on IICPM which was being designed to be relevant and applicable for our Inuit offenders. The anticipated date for the delivery of the program was set at Fall of 2017. It was also shared that two videos would be shared with the group tomorrow, one on the Inuit Carving Program and one on the Wisdom of the Elders.

Members also proposed that resources should be made available to assist in the reintegration of Inuit offenders back to their community including the use of escorted temporary absences on compassionate grounds.

NAAC Priority Discussions on Elder Vulnerability
  • NAAC lead: Lloyd Haarala
New approach to Elder Contracting, meeting with regional comptrollers to see how the process will roll out. Making it culturally sensitive is important. Encouraged the Acting Director of Contracting and Material Services at CSC to contact NAAC members to get advice on how to move forward taking how Elders work into consideration. The NAAC lead further shared that addressing and working on Elder Vulnerability remains a work in process.

Following the updates, the ensuing discussion focused on the various methodologies for contracts which were being explored by CSC, indicating that the Advance Contract Award Notice process may require amendments but remains as the preferred option for Elders given that they are not applying for positions. Also it needs to be clear that the community nominates Elders and that CSC staff should be sensitive to the nomination from the community and ensure collaboration with the community in the process of selection in order to balance security requirements with community nominations.

It was further highlighted that all new Elders should spend time in the institutional context before being placed into Pathways Initiatives. 

NAAC Priority Discussions Employment and community engagement
  • NAAC leads: Roy Louis and Muriel Stanley Venne
The NAAC leads shared that CORCAN is eager to broaden their partnership with Indigenous communities presenting an open for business approach, looking for ways to contribute to CSC’s mandate to provide safer communities for all.  The NAAC members shared they were interested in two of CORCAN’s business lines: Construction and Textiles. It was further noted that solar panels may be explored as an option and if CORCAN Construction could assist in addressing the existing housing problems in Indigenous communities. 

Discussion also focused on the benefit of training offenders on how to start your own business type of courses prior to release.

NAAC subcommittee members will continue to work with CSC in the development of strategies to explore training needs for Indigenous inmates and to promote CORCAN programs in Indigenous forums.

NAAC Priority Discussions on Enhancing case management approaches for Aboriginal offenders and impact of offender releases on community
  • NAAC lead: Ted Norris
The NAAC lead shared that he received a very informative overview of case management, highlighting the distinct differences in the roles of institutional and community Parole Officers. It was also noted that the length of the Offender Intake Assessment and programming needs to be taken into consideration when planning reintegration efforts. It was highlighted that there are existing crime prevention programs which CSC could potentially leverage to assist our offenders. Additionally a focus was placed on the need for incorporation of the ASH in case management documentation and the over-representation of Indigenous offenders. It was noted that our current political climate is good to impact change regarding the over-representation and that we need to capitalize on it.

The NAAC member further indicated that he would like more information on Accelerated Parole Reviews and the Structured Assessment Intervention Framework.

Director General, AID update and presentation on proposed National Indigenous Plan
The Director General, AID shared an overview of the Aboriginal Intervention Centre (AIC) model under consideration for improving results for Indigenous offenders as a response to the Office of the Auditor General Report. The AIC model would start at intake, where Indigenous offenders committed to a healing path would be placed at centralized reception sites to have earlier access to programming during the intake process. The goals include having specialized case management teams at the centralized AIC sites, who are trained in ASH and who understand the needs and cultural interventions for Indigenous inmates. The expected results are: quicker access to programming, a more holistic team approach, more access to cultural resources at centralized sites, increased preparedness for conditional release by the first eligibility date, enhanced Section 84 planning, more potential to demonstrate progress in terms of security reductions, transfers to Section 81 facilities, CSC Healing Lodges and enhanced conditional release rates.

The NAAC members were very receptive to the proposed AIC model and stressed the need to have enough resources to meet the models needs. It was noted that a possible realignment of resources may be needed and that specialized case management teams may result in more meaningful documentation of progress.

DAY 2: Friday December 16, 2016
Opening Comments, Updates and Discussions
Anne Kelly, SDC
The SDC welcomed everyone back to the table, highlighting the importance of their contributions and asked the NAAC members if a summary of the minutes from this meeting may be shared in a public forum. The NAAC members approved this request.

The SDC provided a summary of the OCI Report and the OAG Report on Preparing Indigenous Offenders for Release to the NAAC members. The management action plan (MAP) was also discussed to determine the direction to impact change.

The NAAC members agreed that as CSC’s most senior executive reporting to the Commissioner, the SDC is best positioned to continue leading CSC’s Indigenous Corrections portfolio.  The SDC is responsible for key national files, including the delegated authority for the Special Handling Unit, the Commissioner’s referrals for detention, and final grievance from offenders.  In exercising this authority, the SDC is able to influence the decisions of senior executives in the Regions, particularly with regard to the consideration of the Aboriginal Social History of offenders, while at the same time directly assessing compliance and progress.

NAAC members raised the importance of the role of Elders in programming and the need to ensure they were integrated more. It was shared that Elder Orientation training would be forthcoming that would help clarify the role of the Elders into the correctional environment. Discussion returned to the possibility of centralized sites and how Elders would become more involved and specialized teams would help offenders engage in cultural interventions and healing to improve their overall results.

The Pathways Initiative was noted as a significant event that will trigger a security review upon completion, to assist both facilitating and documenting progress for our Indigenous offenders participating in the Pathways Initiative. It was noted that an initial communication was sent to the field and that training and additional information will be forthcoming.

A NAAC member shared that a blanket exercise may prove to be a good educational aide in terms of sharing the history of Indigenous people to those working for corrections, to help facilitate understanding.

The importance of working with provincial and territorial partners was highlighted in terms of getting early access to information concerning our offenders such as Gladue Reports was highlighted.  It was explained that the Gladue Report is completed pre-sentencing and provides essential information for the case management team regarding the offender’s ASH.

The SDC shared that new referral tools are being examined for our Indigenous offenders, such as the Criminal Risk Index (CRI). The CRI was identified as a more appropriate tool for referral to programs at intake.

The NAAC members were positive and highlighted the importance of having interventions at the beginning of an offender’s sentence to have the greatest impact. Overall they agreed with the concept of the centralized sites, giving Indigenous offenders a choice and putting them first as a way to respond to improve Indigenous corrections and respond to the noted concerns and recommendations in the OCI and OAG reports.

The importance of the role of Indigenous communities was brought up repeatedly by NAAC members. It was shared that CSC works with approximately 248 Indigenous communities with the help of our Aboriginal Community Development Officers (ACDOs). The NAAC members expressed an interest in having the list of communities and ensuring that we thank our ACDOs for all of their work and requested to go ahead with meetings with the SDC as the delegate if the Commissioner is unavailable.

Action: Share list of 248 communities with NAAC members, thank/recognize ACDOs for their hard work, and work on scheduling next meeting.

Videos: The Inuit Carvers & Wisdom of the Elders
Two (2) videos: The Inuit Carvers and Wisdom of the Elders videos prepared by Communications were shared with the NAAC group. The members responded positively, highlighting that the diversity of the Elders and the work they do are well reflected in the videos.

It was noted that the videos are a great opportunity to present a positive light on the work happening in Indigenous corrections. The short duration of the videos were identified as being appropriate to capture an audience’s attention and excellent for distribution over social media platforms. The NAAC members furthermore highlighted that the videos present as powerful, capturing the uniqueness of the Inuit culture and providing an excellent tool to build awareness in the community.

One of the NAAC members further highlighted that the National Film Board may have additional materials that would be useful for educational purposes.

Action: No action required.

Employment for Indigenous Offenders - Indigenous Works Discussions with NAAC
Kelly Lendsay, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Aboriginal Human Resource Council
Kelly shared that Indigenous Works aims to improve the representation and engagement of Indigenous people in employment and highlighted the need to improve employment for and engage with our Indigenous offenders to help them succeed. The SDC agreed and highlighted this was in line the OAG recommendations.

Kelly shared that CSC and CORCAN should identify and research existing Indigenous companies and how many offenders have gone to work for them. He additionally noted that a need to work with Indigenous communities and identify their need areas, to develop partnerships that would benefit both the offenders and the communities upon release.

The NAAC members highlighted current initiatives CORCAN is exploring in terms of textiles, housing and solar panels. Kelly shared that housing is a need area in many communities and that green energy supports the Indigenous way of life.

NAAC members shared concerns about transferring employment trade skills learned in the institution to the community setting, noting the struggle of getting employers to hire individuals with criminal records. Kelly shared that a marketing strategy approach would be beneficial, highlighting what our offenders have to offer such as: hardworking, suitable option instead of hiring foreign workers, the possibility of long-term career commitments in the trades’ field.

NAAC members further brought up the additional challenges faced by offenders with mental health issues. Kelly suggested presenting this challenge to the communities and Indigenous employers and asking how they might handle this. Kelly further suggested having an Employer forum to educate employers and ask how they may assist, noting this would give businesses the opportunity to support Call to Action 92 of the Truth and Reconciliation Report regarding consultation and employment for our Indigenous people.

Funding barriers such as no access to financial support through social assistance was identified as a barrier for offenders who require work supplies such as work boots, etc. It was again highlighted that businesses and corporations can be consulted with for possible funding support or discounts for offenders re-entering the workforce. Corporations such as Mark’s Work Warehouse and Canadian Tire were mentioned as possible options to approach.

In conclusion, Kelly highlighted the importance of working horizontally to support the Government agenda and priorities for Indigenous Peoples.

Action: No action required.

Closing Discussions
The NAAC members expressed their satisfaction with the format of the meeting and the information presented as well as the opportunity to be central to the discussion. The NAAC members agreed they would like to see a similar format moving forward.

The venue for the next meeting was discussed and it was agreed that a mental health facility or CORCAN location would be a relevant venue.

Action: No action required.

Closing Discussions
The NAAC members expressed their satisfaction with the format of the meeting and the information presented as well as the opportunity to be central to the discussion. The NAAC members agreed they would like to see a similar format moving forward.

The venue for the next meeting was discussed and it was agreed that a mental health facility or CORCAN location would be a relevant venue.

Action: No action required.

Closing Comments & Ceremony
The SDC provided closing comments and shared with NAAC her appreciation for everyone’s participation. She highlighted the importance of this meeting and indicated that she agreed with the NAAC members, noting that despite scheduling difficulties, these meetings must proceed to keep the dialogue ongoing.
A closing ceremony and prayer was performed to close the day in a good way.

Approved by:
Original signed by
Anne Kelly
Senior Deputy Commissioner