Commissioner's Directive

Release Process


  • To provide direction on the release process


Applies to staff involved in the release of offenders


  1. The Institutional Head/District Director will ensure:
    1. procedures are in place to facilitate releases
    2. procedures are in place to assist the offender:
      1. in obtaining relevant documentation, including health care coverage, social insurance number, birth certificate and citizenship card/permanent resident card, as well as a two-week supply of any necessary medication
      2. in applying for Old Age Security benefits, if applicable
    3. policies and procedures for High Profile Offenders are followed pursuant to CD 701 ’ Information Sharing
    4. processes outlined in CD 784 ’ Information Sharing Between Victims and the Correctional Service of Canada are respected
    5. processes are in place to distribute warrant expiry packages.
  2. The Chief, Sentence Management, will:
    1. confirm known court-ordered obligations and conditions of release
    2. confirm release dates, the existence of any outstanding charges and any other matters which may require continued custody of the offender
    3. coordinate the timely issuance of pertinent release/discharge documents
    4. liaise with authorities for offender movement to another custody, when required.
  3. The Chief, Health Services, will ensure the requirements for discharge planning are coordinated with the Case Management Team.
  4. The Admission and Discharge Officer will confirm the identity of the offender prior to processing the release.
  5. The Parole Officer will:
    1. liaise with their community counterparts to ensure offenders are provided with continuity of service
    2. liaise with the Aboriginal Liaison Officer and/or the Aboriginal Community Development Officer and/or the Aboriginal Community Liaison Officer to ensure a smooth transition to an Aboriginal community if the release plans include community involvement pursuant to section 84 of the CCRA
    3. explain to offenders their release conditions, including special instructions, the rationale for them, and the consequences of non-compliance, as well as their responsibility to meet court-ordered obligations
    4. for those offenders with a victim notification flag, notify the Victim Services Unit pursuant to CD 784 ’ Information Sharing Between Victims and the Correctional Service of Canada.


Effective Dates of Release

  1. The Parole Officer will arrange for release to occur on the following dates:
    1. regular day/full parole ’ the date specified by Parole Board of Canada (PBC), on or after eligibility date
    2. statutory release/warrant expiry ’ the first working day prior to the date or on an approved early discretionary release
    3. following cancellation of suspension or revocation where the release date has passed ’ as soon as practicable.

Pre-Release Process

  1. The Parole Officer will obtain the most recent sentence calculation from Sentence Management to confirm the release date.
  2. The Chief, Sentence Management, or the Associate will check for outstanding arrest warrants prior to release and advise the Parole Officer if any exist.
  3. If an offender cannot be released on the date specified, or if outstanding arrest warrants have been identified, the Parole Officer will notify PBC by completing an Assessment for Decision or an addendum to the Assessment for Decision, as required.
  4. When the Day or Full Parole eligibility date falls on a weekend or statutory holiday, the Parole Officer may submit a request for an unescorted temporary absence prior to the release date:
    1. if a release on the specified date would create undue hardship
    2. to accommodate community-based residential facility admission requirements
    3. to facilitate transportation.
  5. When the release involves an offender with mental health or medical concerns and ongoing health care needs, the Chief, Health Services, and/or Psychologist will participate in the release process as outlined in the Discharge Planning Guidelines: A Client-Centred Approach and/or Mental Health Discharge Planner.
  6. When there is significant change, the institutional Parole Officer will initiate a pre-release consultation with the community Parole Officer. This consultation will be documented in a Casework Record by the institutional Parole Officer.
  7. When the release involves an offender following a healing path, the pre-release consultation will also include the Aboriginal Liaison Officer and/or the Aboriginal Community Liaison Officer as appropriate.
  8. When possible and appropriate, the pre-release consultation will include the offender to discuss immediate needs and supervision expectations. In this instance, the community Parole Officer will document the results of this discussion in a Casework Record.
  9. If the offender was not present during the pre-release consultation, release expectations will be shared with the offender by the institutional Parole Officer.
  10. The Parole Officer will ensure necessary referrals are completed to address special needs and to facilitate the offender's transition.
  11. The Parole Officer will review the need for accompaniment pursuant to CD 712-1 ’ Pre-Release Decision Making.
  12. If an offender refuses to be accompanied, CSC cannot force the accompaniment, as the refusal does not necessarily mean that the offender will not arrive at his/her destination.
  13. If the Institutional Head believes that the offender will likely have difficulty reaching his/her release destination, he/she may grant an escorted temporary absence leading up to the statutory release date in lieu of an early discretionary release, and assign either a security or non-security escort.
  14. Prior to the release, the following will be completed:
    1. distribution of the release certificate
    2. identification of health care needs and coverage
    3. update of Standard Profile information
    4. update of inmate's photograph, if necessary.
  15. Normally, prior to the release of an offender and where documents require translation, the sending institution will ensure translation of the Criminal Profile Report, the Correctional Plan, the most recent Correctional Plan Update and Assessment for Decision, a current psychological/ psychiatric report and any information impacting potential interventions.

Certificates of Release

  1. The Institutional Head will ensure a process is in place to notify the destination police agency prior to the commencement of release. Normally the notification will be completed electronically through the Offender Management System (OMS).
  2. In exceptional circumstances, prior to an offender's release, the institutional Parole Officer may notify the destination police agency by telephone and/or electronically.
  3. The offender will sign the certificate indicating the terms, conditions and instructions of release have been explained. In cases where the offender refuses to sign the certificate, the terms, conditions and instructions still apply.
  4. For offenders who upon release require continued custody (immigration hold, remand), specific information regarding reporting requirement is required on the release certificate.

Day of Release

  1. The offender will be provided with:
    1. a copy of the release certificate
    2. an updated CSC Identification card
    3. trust account money
    4. two weeks supply of medication
    5. personal effects.
  2. The release protocol, confirming the identity of the offender, will be followed, pursuant to CD 566 3 ’ Inmate Movement.
  3. When the offender has outstanding charges or a removal order and no bail was granted, he/she will be delivered into the custody of the appropriate agency.
  4. The releasing institution will advise the supervising parole office if the planned travel and arrival arrangements have changed.
  5. In cases where the offender is being accompanied, the Assistant Warden, Operations, will ensure the person accompanying the offender is fully aware of the conditions of release, the destination of the offender, the time they are expected to arrive at the destination and what to do in the event that any difficulties are encountered.

Warrant Expiry Releases

  1. More than four months prior to release at warrant expiry the Parole Officer will assess whether an offender poses a threat using the factors relevant for detention reviews (see CD 712-2 ’ Detention). This assessment will also address benefits of an early discretionary release prior to the warrant expiry date (see CD 712 ­1 ’ Pre-Release Decision Making).
  2. If the Parole Officer has assessed that the offender [including offenders subject to a long-term supervision order (LTSO)] does pose a threat, a warrant expiry package will be prepared.
  3. The warrant expiry package will contain a summary of past offences, information relevant to the perceived threat, as well as documents identified in the Notification of Provision of Information to Police Prior to Warrant Expiry Date (CSC/SCC 1225). The information will be documented in OMS via a Memo to File.
  4. The Parole Officer will ensure the offender has reviewed the proposed package of information and has been given the opportunity to provide comment within two working days, using the Notification of Provision of Information to Police Prior to Warrant Expiry Date (CSC/SCC 1225).
  5. The Parole Officer will submit the information package, offender comments and any recommendation regarding early discretionary release to the Institutional Head for final approval/decision.
  6. The approved information package will be forwarded to the relevant area parole office normally four months prior to warrant expiry date. In cases where the release destination is unknown, a copy of the package will be forwarded to the office where the most recent conviction took place and any other location where the offender may be likely to relocate.
  7. The Area Director will share the information package with police no later than 90 days prior to warrant expiry date and provide advice regarding risk management strategies.
  8. The releasing institution will issue an electronic notification at both the releasing and receiving jurisdictions, using the National Flagging System Coordinator in that province/territory. This notification will include the locations where the package was sent.
  9. The Parole Officer will discuss with the offender the possible impacts of negative public reaction, assist in developing strategies and provide information regarding community resources such as Circles of Support, as appropriate.

Destination upon Release/Discharge

  1. The offender will be provided with transportation to the release destination, an issue of civilian clothing and other necessities (see Annex B).
  2. Release destination is defined as:
    1. the place of conviction, if in Canada
    2. any other destination no further in distance than the place in “a.”, if the offender chooses, or
    3. any place in Canada, with the approval of the Institutional Head.

High Profile Offenders

  1. If it is determined that the proposed release is likely to generate significant public interest, the procedures regarding High Profile Offenders will be followed pursuant to CD 701 ’ Information Sharing.


  1. Strategic Policy Division
    National Headquarters


Original Signed by:
Don Head

Annex A



Case Management Team: the individuals involved in managing an offender's case, which include at a minimum the Parole Officer and the offender, and in institutions, the Correctional Officer II/Primary Worker.

Long-term supervision order: an order imposed by the court as a sentencing option to an offender designated as a Dangerous Offender pursuant to section 753 of the Criminal Code or as a Long-Term Offender pursuant to section 753.1 of the Criminal Code. The offender who has received such an order is supervised in accordance with the CCRA. The long-term supervision order commences when the offender has finished serving all sentences for offences for which he/she had been convicted. The period of supervision to which the offender is subject at any time must not total more than 10 years.

Annex B



  1. Transportation for released offenders, including their authorized personal effects, from the institution to the final destination should be prearranged (to the degree possible) with the principal carrier (plane, bus or train). Whenever possible, arrangements should be made to avoid the need for overnight accommodation.
  2. The use of private transportation will normally be considered, except when the Institutional Head has reservations about the person providing the transportation, the mode of transportation and/or the proposed plan.
  3. Reimbursement for private transportation may be provided at the request of the offender. The maximum amount will not normally exceed the cost of the most economical means of available public transportation.


  1. When overnight accommodation is required, payment should either be prearranged or the offender should be given funds equivalent to the lowest listed government rate for the city where the stop-over is to occur.


  1. Meal allowances will be provided in accordance with Treasury Board policies.


  1. No allowances related to the release, other than those listed above, will normally be provided.

For more information

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