Commissioner's Directive

Inmate-Operated Business Enterprises


  1. To provide the mechanisms by which an inmate may be authorized to manage a business.


  1. No inmate shall operate a business in a penitentiary unless he or she has obtained the approval of the institutional head in accordance with the current policy.


  1. The institutional head or his/her designated staff member may grant approval to an inmate to conduct a business, where:
    1. the security of the institution and persons, and the operational constraints of the penitentiary permit the conduct of the business; and
    2. the business is consistent with the inmate's correctional plan.
  2. Because of risk to the security of the institution, no inmate shall hire another inmate to work in a business which is operated within the confines of the institution.
  3. The institutional head shall take into consideration the following elements when analysing the impact on security:
    1. the institution's security level;
    2. the level of supervision required for the business and the types of materials used by the business;
    3. possible risk of contraband;
    4. risks of influence and/or illegal partnership between inmates;
    5. previous criminal activities of the inmate; and
    6. any other elements which the institutional head could foresee as a security problem.
  4. While analysing operational constraints, the institutional head shall consider the following:
    1. the necessity for the Service to make the maximum use of the institutional facilities regarding its needs and those of the inmate population;
    2. the inability of the Service to increase its staff workload which would be caused by the occupation of certain types of inmate businesses;
    3. the necessity for the inmate to follow the Commissioner's Directive 090, entitled "Personal Property of Inmates"; and
    4. any other elements that the institutional head believes might have an impact on the operations of the institution.
  5. The institutional head shall ensure that the business does not compromise any programs or activities already in place in the institution.
  6. The institutional head shall ensure that the inmate's correctional plan has priority, and that consideration is given to the inmate's previous work records and his or her competence in relation to managing a business.


  1. Prior to commencing the operation of the business, the inmate shall sign the CSC waiver found at annex "A" of this policy.
  2. All inmate-operated businesses shall comply with all applicable federal, provincial and municipal legislation, including Income Tax, Goods and Services Tax, Provincial Sales Tax, Unemployment Insurance, Canada Pension Plan, Occupational Health and Safety, and any Fire Safety Regulations.
  3. The Service will not provide any financial, human or material assistance for the start or the operation of an inmate-operated business.
  4. Staff members shall not be involved nor have any financial interest, direct or indirect, in any inmate-operated business.


  1. The institutional head or his/her designated staff member may suspend or withdraw the approval when:
    1. the conditions set out in this policy are no longer met;
    2. the inmate is under investigation for, charged with or convicted of an offence associated with the business; or
    3. the inmate is no longer able to continue to operate his or her business for any reason.
  2. When the institutional head or a designated staff member withdraws or suspends approval, the inmate shall be given :
    1. written notice of the withdrawal or suspension of approval, including the reasons therefor;
    2. an opportunity to make representation with respect thereto if circumstances allow it; and
    3. a reasonable opportunity to wind up the business.
  3. Where, upon reception of an inmate in an institution, the inmate wishes to wind up a business or have it operated on the inmate's behalf, the Service shall ensure that the inmate is given a reasonable opportunity to make necessary arrangements.
  4. Where an inmate wishes to wind up a business operated in the institution, the Service shall ensure that the inmate is given a reasonable opportunity to do so.

Original signed by
Ole Ingstrup, Commissioner




I,_________________________, having been granted permission to embark on an Inmate-operated business enterprise named_________________________ at _________________________ do hereby signify that I will abide by section 112 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Regulations and Commissioner's Directive 737, entitled "Inmate-operated Business Enterprises".

I have read and agree that I, on behalf of my activity:

shall conform to all federal, provincial and municipal laws, statutes, by-laws, rules and regulations as they pertain to the operation of a business; shall pay sums of money such as taxes, compensations, and other monies as are required by municipal, city, provincial and federal laws and statutes, and room and board fees established in accordance with the Commissioner's Directive 860, entitled "Inmates' Money".

Further, I_______________ , of_______________ , in consideration of Her Majesty granting to me permission to operate the activity identified above, do hereby release and forever discharge Her Majesty the Queen in right of Canada, and Her Officers, servants and agents of and from all claims, demands, damages, actions or causes of actions arising or to arise by reason of the operation by me of the activity identified above and of and from all claims or demands whatsoever in law or in equity which I, my heirs, executors, administrators or assigns can, shall or may have by reason aforesaid against Her Majesty the Queen in right of Canada. Further, I agree to indemnify and save harmless Her Majesty the Queen in right of Canada and Her officers, servants and agents from and against all claims, demands, losses, costs, debts, damages, actions, suits or other proceedings by whomever, made, sustained, brought or prosecuted in any manner based upon, occasioned by, arising out of or attributable to in any way, the operation of the activity identified above. I understand that the Correctional Service of Canada can withdraw funds from my institutional account to cover the costs of deterioration and/or damage to the Correctional Service of Canada materials or facilities resulting from the operation of the business.

Further, I agree that the decision as to whether the activity specified above continues or ceases shall be at the discretion of the institutional head or designated staff member of ____________________. I also understand that I cannot hold the Correctional Service of Canada responsible for loss or damage resulting from a decision, within reasonable grounds, by the institutional head or designated staff member to interrupt or terminate the business.

I have read and understand all of the foregoing.





_________________________ _________________________

Witness                                   Witness





  1. To outline the procedures related to the approval and the operation of inmate-operated business enterprises inside an institution.


  1. The institutional head shall establish procedures concerning the submission and approval of requests, and the supervision and termination of the inmate business operations.


  1. The institutional head may require that an inmate wishing to start a business submit a detailed work plan which will include the elements identified in annex « A » of these guidelines.
  2. The institutional head may have the assistance of one or more members of the community when making a decision with regard to the approval of an inmate's request to operate a business.
  3. It is the inmate's responsibility to demonstrate the legitimacy of the origin of funds being used to start the business.
  4. Prior to authorization of the business, and depending on its size and type, the institutional head may require the inmate to obtain a business insurance policy.
  5. Before commencing business operations, the inmate shall, at his or her expense, obtain the services of, and continue to retain a person from the community, who is acceptable to the institutional head to act as treasurer.
  6. Before commencing operations, the inmate shall establish a separate account for the business in a provincially recognized financial institution to which business monies shall be directed. All transactions drawn upon this account shall require two signatures, one of which shall be of the treasurer.


  1. The institutional head may assign a staff member to act as a liaison between the inmate-operated business and the institutional administration, in order to ensure that the business complies with the requirements of this policy and to assess the performance of the inmate with regard to determined objectives. The person shall not liaise between the business and its suppliers, clients or any community organizations.
  2. The institutional head may require that the inmate-operated business submit an operating statement signed by the treasurer every three months.
  3. An updated operational plan, including the audited financial statement of the business, shall be submitted annually to the institutional head. The financial statement shall be completed by a member of a recognized society of accountants.
  4. An inmate working on a full-time basis in an inmate-operated business shall not be entitled to receive inmate pay. An inmate working on a part-time basis will receive pay in accordance with the proportion of time spent in institutional programs and his or her performance as authorized in the Commissioner's Directive 730, "Inmate Program Assignment and Pay".
  5. The maximum amount of money available to the inmate-owner of the business in his or her current account shall not exceed that which is normally paid to an inmate receiving the maximum pay level allowed by the institution.
  6. The institutional head may impose a fee not to exceed twenty-five per cent (25%) of gross revenue of the business, for expenses incurred by the Service such as electricity, handling of additional mail services, etc.
  7. Equipment and tools used for the operation of the business shall be owned by the inmate.
  8. Equipment and tools used for the operation of the business and resulting goods shall be considered separate from the personal property of the inmate and not be counted as part of the total dollar value of the inmate's property described in the Commissioner's Directive 090, "Personal Property of Inmates". There should not be any duplication of material between the inmate's personal effects and the business property held within the institution.
  9. Except under special approval of the institutional head, the dollar value of business-related property within the institution should not exceed $2,000. A record of such property shall be maintained separately from the record of the inmate's personal property.
  10. The inmate-operated businesses shall meet all other applicable requirements included in the Commissioner's Directive 090, "Personal Property of Inmates".


Original signed by
Ole Ingstrup



To be considered, the detailed work plan submitted by the inmate shall include at least the following:

  1. type of business, product description, business location, and the type of incorporation or registration foreseen;
  2. plan and schedule, completed inventory control, production standards and expectations, requirements for production, and tools and equipment required;
  3. marketing and sales plan;
  4. expected short and long term profits;
  5. human resources involved (persons from the community);
  6. sources of funding, financial management and accounting;
  7. relevance to the correctional plan;
  8. reporting procedure, supervision and liaison;
  9. method of disposition of inventory/tools and/or termination of activity;
  10. any types of insurance required to run the business such as business liability insurance, workmen's compensation, employee life insurance, pension, environmental control, etc.


For more information

To learn about upcoming or ongoing consultations on proposed federal regulations, visit the Canada Gazette and Consulting with Canadians websites.