Information Sharing with Partners from the Criminal Justice System
The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) has always shared offender-related information with partners from the criminal justice system and police services. Since the early 2000s, the information-sharing portfolio has expanded further to other agencies and ministries.
CSC works with many partners who assist in the supervision, education and surveillance of offenders in the community. Collaborative relationships between communities, non-governmental organizations and the government are essential. They provide the tools and assistance required to support offenders in making a successful transition back to the community.
CSC continuously improves the way it exchanges information with its partners. The technology being used today for sharing information electronically has improved CSC's ability to provide partners with information on offenders that is both accurate and up-to-date.
Criminal justice partners have access to:
- Offender Management System (OMS): a CSC database containing sentence information on every offender under federal jurisdiction.
- InfoPol: a CSC application designed to provide a sub-set of data extracted from OMS to police services across Canada.
Access to CSC offenders' information is based on governing legislation. This ensures that partner organizations receive only the information they need to perform their duties, and to which they are entitled by law. This allows us to safeguard the security of personal information.
CSC also has access to some of our partners' information systems.
Police Services (InfoPol)
The Corrections and Conditional Release Act states that CSC must share with police services information on offenders who are released under conditions in their communities, or on those who have escaped from custody.
Since InfoPol was launched in March 2003, it has been used for this electronic exchange of information. InfoPol is an essential information source for police services and is used by the major police services across Canada. It is available day and night to all police officers when they need it.
CSC also provides a secure email solution to police services across Canada to share protected information with CSC employees.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police (National Sex Offender Registry)
In April 2011, amendments to the Sex Offender Information Registration Act stipulated that recently released sex offenders who are out in the community for seven days or more must register with the National Sex Offender Registry managed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
As a result of the legislative changes, CSC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the RCMP to formalize the exchange of information.
The MoU enables CSC to securely transfer offender-related information to the RCMP, so that the National Sex Offender Registry can be updated daily.
Contracted External Partners
Community Residential Facilities and Supervision Agencies
Community Residential Facilities and other supervision agencies are criminal justice partners that provide services under contract. These facilities provide supervision and residential services for conditionally released offenders. They assist CSC with facilitating the safe reintegration of offenders into the community.
Community Residential Facilities supervise offenders under the terms of a signed agreement. This outlines the type of direct access CSC grants them to offender information via OMS. Access is only granted for information on the offenders in their care. The information is used to prepare reports for CSC on the offenders' progress within the community.
As CSC expands its network of community residential facilities, additional facilities and supervision agencies are contracted and given access to OMS.
CSC has various contracts with external agencies that work with paroled offenders in the community. These external agencies help offenders to integrate into society. They provide job skills and résumé writing training, teach proper interview behaviour, and help offenders with job searches.
This contractual arrangement allows CSC to grant these agencies access to the OMS so that they always have up-to-date information on the offenders in their care.
Government Departments and Agencies
The exchange of information between CSC, which is the federal correctional system, and the correctional systems of each province and territory is crucial for the efficient management of an offender's sentence. The various correctional systems in Canada often deal with the same offenders but at different points in time.
For example, all federal offenders must go through the provincial or territorial correctional system while they await their federal sentence (usually, two years or more). Moreover, it is possible that offenders serving a sentence in a provincial or territorial system (less than two years) have previously served a federal sentence, and vice-versa.
Provincial and Territorial Corrections
The exchange of information between the CSC's OMS and the offender management systems of each province and territory provides each authority with a complete and accurate picture of an offender's behaviour and progress during their sentence. This access to additional information is an essential element in the decision-making process during parole assessments.
An MoU to grant access to OMS has been signed with the provinces of British Columbia, Yukon, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador correctional services.
CSC also provides secure email services for exchanging information with parole offices in Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia.
Provincial Parole Boards
The Parole Board of Canada is the federal agency that oversees paroled offenders across Canada. However, there are two provincial parole boards that operate in conjunction with the federal parole board, and monitor paroled offenders in their respective provinces.Â These are the Québec Parole Board and the Ontario Parole Board. CSC shares offender information with these provincial parole boards as required.
Québec Revenue Ministry
In 2004, CSC and the Québec Revenue Ministry signed an MoU to exchange information about offenders incarcerated in federal institutions. Under the terms of the agreement, CSC forwards information to the provincial revenue ministry for the purpose of administering and enforcing the Taxation Act and other fiscal laws of Quebec.
More recently, CSC updated the MoU with the Québec Revenue Ministry to formalize the sharing of information on all offenders incarcerated in federal institutions in Quebec.
Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (Ontario Sex Offender Registry)
Christopher's Law was passed in 2001 in the province of Ontario to create the provincial Ontario Sex Offender Registry. The law stipulates that sex offenders residing in Ontario have to register with a local police service within 15 days of their release from custody in the province.
In 2005, CSC signed an MoU with the province of Ontario to exchange the required information on sex offenders.
CSC supplies this information to the Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, enabling provincial officials to identify offenders who should be listed on the registry.
Attorney General Offices (National Flagging Coordinators)
The National Flagging System was established in 1995 to track high-risk, violent offenders. This helps Crown Attorneys deal more effectively with high-risk, persistent offenders at the time of prosecution.
The System was developed to ensure that prosecutors are aware of potential information held elsewhere regarding an offender's likelihood of future violent conduct.
Such background information is intended to inform prosecutors of the need to review a particular case for a possible Dangerous Offender and/or Long Term Offender designation.
As the Department of Public Safety administers the program, CSC has been mandated to provide pertinent information on offenders to the National Flagging System to assist in the identification of high-risk offenders.
The National Flagging Coordinators have been granted, on a "need-to-know" basis, electronic access to OMS.
Provincial Crown Attorney Offices
The Crown Prosecutors of the provinces and territories require access to OMS to review information on current or past offenders in CSC's care. The information helps the Crown Attorneys prepare for various court proceedings related to an offender's sentencing or supervision conditions in the community.
An MoU to grant access to OMS has been signed with the provinces of Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia.
In order to issue passports only to eligible Canadian citizens, Passport Canada needs regular input from CSC with regards to current offenders. Passport Canada officials use the information daily to make decisions related to the:
- revocation of a passport
- refusal to issue a passport
- issue or continuation of a passport
Once a decision is made by Passport Canada on an offender's passport status, it is transmitted electronically to CSC for inclusion in the offender's file.
The exchange of information takes place in accordance with the terms and conditions of an MoU signed between the two departments in 2005.
Canada Border Services Agency
- Border Security -
The Canada Border Services Agency is responsible for providing integrated border services that support national security and public safety. As part of its legislative mandate, it needs offender information to investigate cases where there is evidence of an offence being committed.
CSC and the Canada Border Services Agency are in the process of signing an MoU to grant border officers access to the InfoPol application, enabling them to consult relevant information and ensure that offenders who are not allowed to enter the country are intercepted at the border.
- Immigration -
CSC needs to know the status of immigration proceedings as they relate to federal offenders. Conversely, Citizenship and Immigration Canada needs to be informed of any offender admitted into a federal institution where there is reason to believe that the offender is not a Canadian citizen, to determine their immigration status.
Through an MoU, CSC has granted Citizenship and Immigration Canada access to OMS. Authorized immigration officers can consult relevant offender information and also input data related to an offender's immigration status.
Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics
The Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics is an agency of Statistics Canada mandated to issue annual correctional statistics on federal and provincial offenders.
In 2005, CSC and Statistics Canada signed an MoU for the exchange of criminal justice information related to offenders under federal custody and control.
Canada Revenue Agency
The Canada Revenue Agency needs information related to federally incarcerated offenders to enforce federal and provincial/territorial income tax legislation, as well as to carry out investigations where there is evidence of fraudulent behaviour.
In 2001, CSC and the Canada Revenue Agency signed an MoU outlining the conditions and procedures of the information exchange on offenders incarcerated in federal institutions.
The MoU enables CSC to forward to the Canada Revenue Agency relevant information on each federal offender in custody.
Department of Justice (Criminal Conviction Review Group)
The Criminal Conviction Review Group is a sector of the Department of Justice. It is responsible for reviewing applications to the Minister of Justice to review a conviction to determine whether there may have been a miscarriage of justice. The provisions of the Criminal Code of Canada provide the Review Group with the legal authority to access federal offender information, as part of a judicial review, to determine whether there may be a case of wrongful conviction.
In 2009, an MoU was signed and came into effect, allowing the Criminal Conviction Review Group to request access to OMS as needed. They submit a request to CSC for a specific offender case, and CSC releases the relevant information.
Parole Board of Canada
As a result of an amendment in 2010 of the Criminal Records Act, which restricted the granting of pardons for serious crimes, the Parole Board of Canada was empowered with access to CSC's offender information.
According to the stipulations of the legislative change, parole board personnel can access OMS and extract relevant offender information for the purpose of inquiries and pardon decisions.
Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
- Social Insurance Number Card -
In 2010, an MoU was signed between CSC and the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada to provide services to offenders to help them access government benefits and services, such as a new or replacement Social Insurance Card.
- Old Age Security -
In 2010, an amendment to the Old Age Security Act was passed by Parliament. Payments of the old age security supplement and the guaranteed income supplement are no longer paid to persons who are subject to a sentence of imprisonment to be served in a penitentiary. This amendment requires an information exchange from CSC to Human Resources and Skills Development Canada on all incarcerated offenders who have attained 60 years of age.
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