Legislation and Policy

The following pieces of legislation and policy govern the Correctional Service of Canada's International Transfers Program.

The International Transfer of Offenders Act (ITOA) is an Act to implement treaties and administrative arrangements on the international transfer of persons found guilty of criminal offences. The ITOA was enacted in 2004 and replaced the Transfer of Offenders Act (TOA), which had been in force since 1978.

The Minister of Public Safety is responsible for the administration of the Act and is the sole authority for decisions. The Director Institutional Reintegration Operations has the delegated authority from the Minister to administer the Act.

The purpose of the International Transfer of Offenders Act:

  • Is to contribute to the administration of justice and the rehabilitation of offenders and their reintegration into the community by enabling offenders to serve their sentences in the country of which they are citizens or nationals.
  • Is to enable Canadian offenders convicted abroad, or foreigners convicted in Canada, to serve their sentence in their country of citizenship, where the country and/or jurisdiction has a signed and ratified treaty.
  • It is also intended to alleviate hardships associated with serving sentences in a foreign country, and to facilitate eventual reintegration into the community.

The Commissioner's Directive 704 – International Transfers, is a departmental policy developed under the authority of the International Transfer of Offenders Act to facilitate, through an international transfer, the repatriation of offenders found guilty of criminal offences abroad.

The guiding principles of the directive are to entitle foreign national offenders within Correctional Service Canada's jurisdiction to all the rights, privileges and amenities afforded to all offenders. It is also to ensure their right to contact consular representatives, pursuant to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (PDF), and access the international transfer program.

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