Offender Employment and Employability
The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) is helping federal offenders gain marketable jobs skills to assist them in their safe reintegration to the community.
CORCAN is a Special Operating Agency within CSC that provides employment, vocational training and employability skills to offenders in federal correctional institutions, in order to encourage rehabilitation and help lower rates of re-offending.
CORCAN operates 39 sites at CSC institutions across Canada, in four business lines: textiles, manufacturing, construction and maintenance and services (such as printing and laundry). Products created by offenders in CORCAN are used both internally within CSC, and marketed to Canada’s public sector. Included in the 39 CORCAN sites across Canada are three community based sites in the Atlantic, Quebec and Ontario regions. These CORCAN community worksites provide offenders on conditional release training and work experience that supports their transition back into society.
CSC has learned that the more realistic the work environment, the more effective the rehabilitation is likely to be. Offenders produce goods to private sector norms and standards. These products are marketed primarily to CSC and other federal government departments.
Offenders also deliver services thereby contributing to institutional operations and maintenance and helping to reduce the costs of their incarceration and rehabilitation.
In addition to allowing offenders to gain work experience that may help them find employment when they are released, CORCAN allows offenders to put into practice new skills learned in correctional programs such as anger management in a realistic work environment.
In 2008, CSC launched an ambitious strategy to strengthen its contribution to public safety. As part of its ongoing Transformation Agenda, CSC is expanding and enhancing the employment and vocational training CORCAN offers to offenders in institutions and communities. Particular focus is placed on increasing opportunities for women, Aboriginal offenders and offenders with mental health issues.
These improvements have produced results. Between 2004 and 2011, the number of vocational certificates earned by offenders increased by 165 per cent on topics such as: basic food safety, workplace hazardous materials, forklift operator, safety orientation, first aid, construction skills, forest fire fighting, and construction safety.
CORCAN would not be able to achieve its mandate without the strong involvement of private and public sector partnerships. Here are additional examples of the employment skills offenders are learning with the contribution of the community:
- In partnership with community colleges, offenders take construction framing courses and help construct modular buildings used by other government departments. Programs like this give offenders a chance to apply classroom learning to practical on-the-job work.
- CSC partnerships with several First Nations communities have allowed offenders to use the carpentry skills they have learned to build residential homes. These homes are then delivered to the communities. CORCAN is also continuing to expand its involvement with Habitat for Humanity.
For more information please visit www.corcan.ca.