Commissioner's Directive

National Drug Strategy

Policy Objective

  1. The Correctional Service of Canada, in achieving its Mission, will not tolerate drug or alcohol use or the trafficking of drugs in federal institutions. A safe, drug-free institutional environment is a fundamental condition for the success of the reintegration of inmates into society as law-abiding citizens.


  1. Sections 17-18, 28-67, 76-78 and 96 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act


  1. CD 566 - Prevention of Security Incidents
    CD 566-7 - Searching of Inmates
    CD 566-8 - Searching of Staff and Visitors
    CD 566-8-1 - Use of Non-Intrusive Search Tools
    CD 566-9 - Searching of Cells, Vehicles and Other Areas of the Institution
    CD 566-10 - Urinalysis Testing in Institutions
    CD 566-11 - Urinalysis Testing in the Community
    CD 566-12 - Personal Property of Inmates
    CD 575 - Interception of Communications Related to the Maintenance of Institutional Security
    CD 580 - Discipline of Inmates
    CD 590 - Administrative Segregation
    CD 710-3 - Temporary Absences and Work Releases
    CD 720 - Education of Offenders
    CD 730 - Inmate Program Assignment and Payments
    CD 760 - Leisure Activities
    CD 770 - Visiting
    CD 860 - Inmate's Money
    CD 870 - Maintenance Allowance for Offenders
    CD 890 - Inmate's Canteen


  1. The Institutional Head is responsible for ensuring that the institution applies the Drug Strategy in accordance with the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and related regulations, the Correctional Service of Canada policies, standards and guidelines.
  2. Each institution shall develop and implement drug strategies to balance detection, deterrence and treatment that are reflective of the nature of the institution.

Application and Exemptions

  1. Current policy and legislation should be used systematically and consistently to deal with drug trafficking and usage.
  2. The nature of this issue in the community demands different approaches to achieve the same goals. This policy, therefore, does not apply to community offices.

Correctional Plan

  1. Correctional Plans for inmates with documented drug or alcohol problems shall identify specific needs and outline the expected and realistic progress towards addressing their problems.
  2. For every inmate, regardless of the existence or level of drug or alcohol problems, a clause shall be included in the Correctional Plan specifying that the inmate is expected to remain "drug and alcohol free" for the duration of his or her incarceration. In doing so, progress can be measured on this aspect, and administrative measures can be applied in this context.


  1. All institutions shall participate in the Urinalysis Program in accordance with current policy and legislation.

Search Tools for Drug Detection

  1. The following non-intrusive search tools are used to assist staff in identifying the possible presence of drugs on inmates, staff and visitors:
    1. ion mobility spectrometry devices (IMS); and
    2. drug detector dogs.

Risk Assessment

  1. Depending on the circumstances relating to the particular inmate and on the organization of the institution, every institution shall establish a procedure for assessing risk related to drug use and trafficking, as well as procedures for reviewing the imposition of administrative measures. This responsibility may rest with the Unit Board, the Visitors Screening Board or the Program Board.
  2. Such procedures shall include the right of an inmate to make representations to the decision making body in accordance with the duty to act fairly.
  3. The Parole Officer will always maintain responsibility for preparing the case, and decisions will be based on the risks and needs described in the Correctional Plan, as well as on progress made towards achieving rehabilitation goals.

Administrative Consequences

  1. Administrative consequences shall be based on consideration of a persons' safety, institutional security and/or operational requirements. They are intended to manage the risk presented by the inmate and may be applied when there is a clear link to the use and/or trafficking of drugs.
  2. Administrative consequences are not the same as disciplinary sanctions and shall not be used for purposes of punishment.
  3. The Institutional Head or designate will decide which measures shall be applied. Determination shall be based on a review of the inmates' risk and needs as outlined in the Correctional Plan.
  4. Intelligence information may be part of reasonable grounds for either administrative or disciplinary actions if the Institutional Head is satisfied that the source of the information is reliable and that the information is accurate. Intelligence about drug involvement shall not be limited to drug use, but shall include related activities such as drug dealing, muscling, extortion, financing and facilitating in any way the introduction of drugs into an institution.
  5. If an inmate has been charged or convicted of a drug-related offence in the institution or where there are reasonable grounds to believe that the inmate has been involved in drug-related activities, a reassessment of risk and needs shall be completed and a number of administrative consequences shall be considered. These consequences may include but are not limited to the following:
    1. a review of the Correctional Plan and the modification of the plan where necessary;
    2. a review of participation in a program of conditional release, including temporary absences, work releases and parole;
    3. a suspension or recommendation to the National Parole Board to suspend a program of conditional release;
    4. the restriction of open visits and/or other community contact, including general social events, visits from family or volunteers;
    5. the restriction of private family visits;
    6. the denial of all visits;
    7. the review of security classification and placement which may lead to placement in special facilities;
    8. the referral to relevant programming;
    9. the suspension from a job that requires a degree of trust or affords freedom of movement throughout the institution, and consequential pay impacts;
    10. the suspension from a job which requires the operation of machinery or heavy equipment with consequential pay impacts;
    11. the restricted access to work programs in the community; and
    12. a review of the inmate(s) accounts, including canteen expenditures.
  6. It is incumbent on the inmate to demonstrate to the Institutional Head or delegate that he or she is no longer involved in drug or alcohol activities and does not continue to constitute a risk to the security of the institution. This may include conclusive evidence of abstinence from drugs and alcohol, if available through urinalysis testing during a specified review period, and any other initiative on the inmate's part to resolve safety and/or security concerns.
  7. All administrative decisions shall be reviewed thereafter on a periodic basis not to exceed 90 days.

Disciplinary Sanctions

  1. The purpose of the disciplinary system is to encourage inmates to conduct themselves in a manner that promotes the good order of the penitentiary, through a process that contributes to the inmates' rehabilitation and successful reintegration into the community.
  2. Disciplinary offences primarily related to the Drug Strategy are those stipulated in paragraphs 40 (k) and (l) of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, i.e. "takes an intoxicant into the inmates' body" and "fails or refuses to provide a urine sample [...]", and they shall be considered as major offences.
  3. A disciplinary sanction which includes the loss of privileges shall be limited to a loss of access to activities that are recreational in nature and non essential. The loss of privileges shall not be imposed where it would be contrary to the inmate's Correctional Plan.
  4. Any action related to the discipline of an inmate shall be done through the disciplinary process established in the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, including the definition of all offences that are considered to be disciplinary in nature and all of the possible consequences for such offences.
  5. If there is direct evidence that an inmate has taken an intoxicant or there is confirmation from the laboratory that a urine sample test is positive or an inmate is found under the influence, a disciplinary charge may be made against the inmate.
  6. Staff shall ensure that reasonable steps are taken to resolve matters informally, whenever possible. However, where an informal resolution is not achieved, a charge may be issued against the inmate.


Original signed by:
Keith Coulter


For more information

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