Response to the 48th Annual Report of the Correctional Investigator 2020-2021


The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) is pleased to provide its response to the Correctional Investigator’s 48th annual report. Working in collaboration with oversight bodies helps CSC make ongoing enhancements and improvements to Canada’s correctional system and we value the input.

2020-21 was an unprecedented year for federal corrections. In March 2020, the World Health Organization declared the Coronavirus (COVID-19) a global pandemic. During this time, CSC continued to operate 24/7 and provide health care to federal offenders. In all of our operations, the health and safety of our employees, offenders and stakeholders remained a top priority for CSC during this time. All CSC staff worked tirelessly in the management of the pandemic and stakeholders and federal offenders collaborate in helping to keep everyone safe.

In managing its response to the pandemic, CSC developed an Integrated Risk Management Framework, with the assistance of our public health partners, unions and stakeholders, and used this framework to make decisions and develop mitigation measures tailored to the local circumstances of each site. Risk mitigation strategies included mandatory masks, physical distancing, handwashing/sanitizing and frequent cleaning/disinfecting at each site. CSC also completed infection prevention and control reviews at all of its institutions and implemented the recommendations. Early on, CSC developed a comprehensive testing strategy to limit the spread of the virus and trained over 250 of its own staff to do contact tracing. CSC was also an early adopter of rapid tests, which resulted in the successful identification and containment of the virus. Offenders, through CORCAN, the agency responsible for inmate employment and employability, quickly pivoted to produce over 850,000 masks and 60,000 gowns. CSC communicated weekly with staff and inmates using a multi-pronged approach, and regularly with stakeholders and the public, throughout the pandemic.

In January 2021, CSC began vaccinating federal offenders, starting with the oldest and the most vulnerable. In April, CSC started offering vaccines to all other offenders as well as to the front-line staff who had not yet been vaccinated by their province. As of the end of October, over 80% of the inmate population had been fully vaccinated and CSC continues to offer the vaccine, including to newly admitted offenders.

CSC is proud of the immediate response it took to the pandemic, taking a coordinated, collaborative, and transparent approach to maintain safe and secure operations at all of its sites.

On November 30, 2019, CSC abolished administrative segregation and introduced Structured Intervention Units (SIUs). SIUs are not about punishment or causing harm. SIUs are about helping inmates and providing them with the opportunity to engage in targeted interventions and programs to support their safe return to a mainstream population as soon as possible. Fiscal year 2020-2021 was focused on the implementation of the SIUs, all while managing through the impacts of the pandemic, which had a significant impact on CSC’s institutions and their operations. Since the beginning, there have been many sets of eyes on SIUs to ensure they are doing what they were set up to do. SIUs are closely monitored by independent external oversight bodies, which provide added transparency and accountability.

Despite the pandemic, CSC has been able to maintain the number of inmates in SIUs at an average of approximately 150 across Canada, which roughly represents less than 1.5% of federal inmate population in Canada. This points to a shift in mindset on the part of both staff and inmates. CSC continues to make active offers to inmates for time out of cell, meaningful human contact, and participation in activities and programs that support their rehabilitation.

The SIU model was a historic transformation and was implemented on a large scale. CSC continues to make adjustments and enhancements to the new model. For example, work is underway to review all of our data, quantitative and qualitative, and examine what the numbers and experiences are telling us. In addition, CSC held a consultation on SIUs in June 2021 with over 30 organizations and individuals representing diverse perspectives. Their input and feedback has been built in CSC’s plans moving forward.

Another priority for CSC is its commitment to inclusion, diversity and equity. Following the death of George Floyd in the United States, many of us were reminded that, as a global community, we need to take action to ensure a safer, more just future for all Canadians.

As an organization, CSC has been working to reinforce a culture of respect, and build environments that are free of harassment, discrimination and violence of any kind, which is key to the successful rehabilitation of offenders in our care. A key part of this is also building an anti-racist organization. To that end, we have developed an anti-racism framework, which has three pillars of focus: inmates, employees and stakeholders. Various initiatives are underway or are being planned that respond to the needs of each group of individuals represented through these pillars. We are also carrying out an audit of CSC’s culture to assess our organization and take appropriate actions.

CSC is also focusing its attention on the incidence of sexual coercion and violence (SCV) in its institutions, which was a past recommendation of the OCI. We are taking a number of actions to further understand, prevent and address SCV, including the development of a standalone policy by Spring 2022, and the provision of the necessary awareness and support to those in our care and custody.

In fiscal 2020-2021, there were significant reductions in federal admissions and ongoing efforts for increased safe releases, which resulted in a pronounced reduction in the number of federal inmates during the pandemic period. From April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021, because of the pandemic and its effects, there was a substantial decline (-1,321 or -9.6%) from 13,720 to 12,399 in the federal in-custody population. As well, there was a slighter decline (-269 or -2.9%) in the conditional release supervision population from 9,382 to 9,113 by the end of March 2021.

Despite a very challenging year, there was an increase in the percentage of offenders successfully reaching sentence expiry date, from 56.7% in 2015-2016 to 61.5% in 2020-21. Moreover, there was an increase in the percentage of offenders not readmitted to federal custody within 5 years following sentence expiry, from 84.1% to 87.5%.

CSC is in a crucial stage of transition as it continues to implement fundamental new legislative changes that will enhance its ability to achieve a set of key priorities for Canadians. Everything CSC does is in the context of its Mission of rehabilitating federal offenders and keeping our communities safe.

As CSC moves forward in its transformation and post-pandemic recovery, collaboration with partners, such as the Office of the Correctional Investigator, remains critical and we will continue to work with oversight bodies to understand and work to address their recommendations.

Responses to Recommendations

  1. I recommend that the Minister of Public Safety engage the Public Health Agency of Canada to conduct an independent epidemiological study of the differential rates of COVID-19 infection and spread in Canadian federal prisons and report results and recommendations publicly.
  2. This recommendation will be responded to by the Minister of Public Safety.

  3. I recommend that the Minister of Public Safety promptly conduct an in-depth review of the community corrections sector with a view to considerably enhancing financial, technical and infrastructure supports. Funding for a reinvigorated community corrections model could be re-profiled from institutional corrections in direct proportion to declining warrant of committal and returning admissions, and the planned and gradual closures of redundant or archaic penitentiaries.
  4. This recommendation will be responded to by the Minister of Public Safety.

  5. I recommend that the President of Treasury Board recognize the reporting burden of small and micro agencies, and play a leadership role by developing a whole-of-government approach to alleviate this burden. Before full legal and regulatory reforms can be introduced, I recommend that TBS consider legal exemptions for eligible small and micro agencies to start reporting differently.
  6. This recommendation will be responded to by the Minister of Public Safety.

  7. I recommend that CSC conduct an in-depth evaluation of the EIM with a view to implementing changes that will reduce the over-reliance on force options overall, particularly inflammatory sprays, and provide concrete strategies for adopting evidence-based, non-force options for resolving incidents.
  8. The Engagement and Intervention Model (EIM) is a risk-based model designed to assist CSC staff working both in security and health activities in responding to, and resolving institutional incidents, using the most reasonable interventions. To have and maintain safe operations of institutional environments, the EIM was introduced in January 2018, and replaced the previous Situational Management Model (SMM).

    CSC completed an evaluation of the Engagement and Intervention Model (EIM) in fiscal year 2020-21. The final evaluation report was reviewed by external members of the CSC Performance Measurement and Evaluation Committee (PMEC) and approved on June 29, 2021. The evaluation found that there is a continued need for the EIM to prevent, respond to, and resolve situations within federal institutions that could potentially disrupt the safety and security of inmates or staff. It also found that the EIM is aligned with the priorities, roles and responsibilities of CSC and the federal government.

    While the recent evaluation found some overall positive trends since the implementation of EIM, findings also suggested that particular attention needs to be paid to the more frequent use of force towards diverse sub-populations of inmates, particularly those who are displaying physical or mental distress. Although quality improvement activities are occurring under the EIM, there remains a need to have more involvement from sector coordinators and health/mental health professionals in the planning and application of intervention strategies.

    CSC has developed a Management Action Plan, including timelines, in response to the recommendations that were made in the final evaluation report, which has been published on CSC’s external website in October 2021.

  9. I recommend CSC review and revise its policy and practice regarding use of inflammatory sprays when responding to incidents involving individuals who are self-harming or suicidal, with a view to reducing their use when responding to individuals who are experiencing mental health crises.
  10. CSC agrees with the importance of using a gradual process to de-escalate situations, including the use of verbal interventions as a first step, when time and circumstances permit.

    This is already identified in Commissioner’s Directive 567 on the Management of Incidents, which specifies that “All interventions used to manage incidents will be consistent with law and policy in the application of the Engagement and Intervention Model, and will:

    1. take into consideration the inmate’s mental and/or physical health and well-being, as well as the safety of other persons and the security of the institution;
    2. when possible, promote the peaceful resolution of the incident using verbal intervention and/or negotiation;
    3. be limited to only what is necessary and proportionate; and
    4. take into consideration changes in the situation through the use of continuous assessment and reassessment.”

    In addition, CSC will take the following actions:

    • Conduct research into the application of inflammatory spray when responding to offenders who are self-harming or suicidal to determine whether it is the most appropriate intervention strategy and whether the amount of chemical or inflammatory agent used is limited to what is necessary and proportionate to bring the situation under control. This research will be completed during 2021-22.
    • As a next step, CSC will engage external expertise to determine any enhancements or changes required to our interventions when responding to these incidents.
    • CSC will also review Commissioner’s Directive (CD) 567-4 on Use of Chemical and Inflammatory Agents, and based on latest research evidence and expertise, make any required revisions to ensure consistency with the overall intent of the EIM by the Fall 2022.

    In the interim, CSC will ensure chemical and inflammatory agents are only considered and/or used when situational factors dictate that their use is considered the most appropriate intervention management strategy as per the Engagement and Intervention Model (EIM).

  11. I recommend that CSC develop a reliable method for administratively tracking individuals with mental health concerns in order to identify how policies and practices, such as use of force, impact this particularly vulnerable population.
  12. CD 567 on Management of Incidents specifies that all interventions used to manage incidents will be consistent with law and policy and will take into consideration the inmate’s mental and/or physical health and well-being, as well as the safety of other persons and the security of the institution

    CD 567-4 on Use of Chemical or Inflammatory Agents indicates that, except in emergency situations where a delay would result in bodily harm or jeopardize the security of the institution, a health care professional will be consulted before chemical or inflammatory agents are used to ensure that the inmate has no medical condition that would be aggravated by the application of chemical or inflammatory agents.

    Individuals with mental health concerns are identified based on having a rating of “some” or “higher” on the Mental Health Need Scale, which is recorded in the Electronic Medical Record. Health Services shares health information on a need to know basis in support of the review of policy and practices (e.g. research projects, audits and investigations, etc.), and will continue to explore mechanisms to share information in ways that respects the confidentiality of medical information (e.g. de-identified data, aggregate summaries, etc.).

    CSC continues to work on refining health data including the use of a disease registry to allow for the tracking of diagnostic information. These refinements will support both patient-centred care as well as more nuanced administrative tracking moving forward.

    In support of continuous quality improvement and patient advocacy, CSC commits to completing research and reporting on the rates of use of force among persons with mental health needs with an initial report to be provided in Spring 2022.

  13. I recommend that CSC promptly develop an action plan in consultation with stakeholders to address the relationship between use-of-force and systemic racism against Indigenous and Black individuals and publicly report on actionable changes to policy and practice that will effectively reduce the over-representation of these groups among those exposed to uses of force.
  14. Racism and discrimination has no place in our society, inside or outside of CSC. We are mindful of this in how we train and educate our employees, especially in the way they manage security incidents. CSC is undertaking substantial work in this area, such as ensuring cultural sensitivity, avoiding unconscious bias, and building an anti-racist, diverse and inclusive organization.

    Work is underway specifically related to use-of-force incidents. CSC will consult with a group of stakeholders, such as members of the National Ethnocultural Advisory Committee, the National Indigenous Advisory Committee, the National Association Active in Criminal Justice, Citizen Advisory Committee Members and the OCI, on a comprehensive data analysis with respect to use-of-force incidents to ensure that only strategies that were necessary and proportionate to manage the incidents were used. The analysis will be reviewed with stakeholders to determine whether the EIM was applied without bias.

    Should any trends emerge from the analysis, CSC will develop an action plan, in consultation with the stakeholders, to address any gaps identified. The consultation with the stakeholders will begin shortly and CSC is planning to complete the action plan by Summer 2022.

  15. I recommend that CSC conduct an external review to evaluate all security practices within women’s facilities with a view to eliminating or reducing overly secure procedures that move women’s corrections further away from the objectives identified in Creating Choices.
  16. CSC recognizes that women inmates require different levels of management and intervention as their risks and needs differ. In keeping with the principles of Creating Choices, medium and minimum security women at all sites reside in stand-alone housing units, simulating a community environment.

    For women who may require more structure and intervention based on their risks and needs, Behavioural Counsellors and Enhanced Support Houses provide a supportive living environment, both of which are in the mainstream environment. CSC makes every effort to ensure that women offenders are housed at the lowest possible security level that responds to the risk they present. However, there are cases where the safety and security of the public, the institution and the other offenders dictate that some women be assessed as maximum security and therefore be housed in the Secure Unit (SU).

    In recognition that the profile of women entering the federal correctional system has evolved over time, CSC is in the process of conducting a comprehensive analysis of the current women offender population profile. This will inform discussions and planning regarding future capacity and appropriate infrastructure and process requirements for Women Offender Institutions that are consistent with the principles of Creating Choices. This review will engage external parties with an understanding of these principles and the women offender correctional environment.

    Currently, CSC conducts a Security Classification Review for each Indigenous offender. It is completed within thirty days of their successful completion of a main program in a maximum or medium security level institution, and six months after participating in the Pathways initiative.

    In order to ensure security classification tools are effective and meeting the needs of the offender population, research is conducted regularly to test their reliability and validity. As one of our major initiatives, we are currently working with university partners on an Indigenous-led security classification process for Indigenous peoples in federal custody. This includes substantial consultation with Indigenous peoples. To this end, CSC has in place a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the University of Regina to conceptualize, from the ground up, a risk assessment process for security classification, for both women and men inmates, that is culturally based. CSC is playing a supportive role in this Indigenous-led process.

    CSC recognizes that Indigenous women are overrepresented in federal corrections. While we are making important progress for the time they are in our care and custody, there is more work to do both within CSC and within the criminal justice system – and society – to improve outcomes for Indigenous peoples overall.

  17. I recommend that CSC conduct an independent in-depth study of their Women Offender Correctional Program (WOCP) and Aboriginal Offender Correctional Program (AWOCP) to better understand why the program has been deficient in producing improved correctional outcomes for participants, particularly for Indigenous women.
  18. In the fiscal year prior to the pandemic, over 86% of Indigenous women had completed a nationally recognized correctional program prior to their first release, with 45% prior to their DPED and 79% prior to FPED.

    In 2019, the Evaluation division at CSC completed an in-depth review of CSC’s Reintegration Programs (including women’s programs) which identified several recommendations for change. This evaluation report was reviewed by the Performance Measurement and Evaluation Committee (PMEC) comprised of members of CSC's Executive Committee (EXCOM) and two external members with expertise in evaluation. While the evaluation reported that women were enrolled in, began and completed their programs more quickly than men, it was found that programming did not appear to be achieving the desired outcome in the community. While this community result was statistically insignificant, and community results are based on many more factors than programs alone, the WOCP program content is currently undergoing revisions including content to increase cultural relevancy of the IWOCP (formerly AWOCP).

    A National Working Group has been established to obtain comments and feedback on proposed changes from program experts across the country. The finalization of the program revisions are expected to be complete by Winter 2022.

  19. I recommend that CSC significantly increase the use of temporary absences and work releases for women, particularly those in minimum security, to ensure they can regularly access the community to provide more options and enhance their opportunities for successful reintegration.
  20. CSC remains committed to the use of temporary absences (TA’s) and work release programs for women offenders, as they contribute to successful reintegration. CSC recognizes that some barriers exist that impact these programs, including the recent restrictions related to the global pandemic.

    During the global pandemic, CSC’s ability to provide offenders access to temporary absences was impacted by public health restrictions. However, CSC is building on the changes brought on by the pandemic, analyzing the current barriers and challenges, examining lessons learned and looking beyond the traditional approach to temporary absences and work releases for women, such as the use of technology to provide new and innovate opportunities for inmates.

  21. I recommend that CSC return to the basic principles identified in Creating Choices and develop a long-term strategy to ensure that all women are prepared at their earliest date possible to return to the community and that significant resources be reallocated to the community supervision program and community correctional programming to support women back in the community.
  22. In the fiscal year prior to the pandemic, over 91% of women had completed a nationally recognized correctional program prior to their first release, with 45% prior to their DPED and 82% prior to FPED.

    The women offender sites conduct regular case reviews to ensure timely case preparation for women offenders who have successfully completed their correctional programs.

    CSC provides additional support to women offenders serving their sentence in the community. Specialized Funding is available to support specific initiatives in the community that promote the reintegration of women. Complex case funding is also available to address the individual needs of women offenders who require additional support and services for their transition back into the community.

    In terms of other resource allocations to the community, the number of community parole officer full-time equivalents is funded based on a resource formula that takes into account a number of factors. At this time, there is no information to indicate that additional parole officer resources are required specifically for women offenders based on existing policy and population requirements.

    In regards to programming in the community, CSC is currently undertaking a review of program indicators. This exercise will ensure the number of resource indicators for women program resources is sufficient within the community.

  23. I recommend the development of alternative accommodations for women housed in secure units and the eventual closure of all secure units. If secure units remain open, they should only be used for temporary removal and separation of women after a serious incident until a proper alternative placement is found.
  24. From an operational and safety and security perspective, the closure of the Secure Units is not feasible. Over the last 5 fiscal years, the number of women offenders in the secure units has remained stable, except in GVI, where a decrease has been observed throughout the years. With a rated capacity of 70 beds, the number of women in the Secure Units ranged from 71 in 2014-2015; 69 in 2015-2016; 56 in 2016-2017; 63 in 2017-2018; 69 in 2018-2019; and 62 in 2019-2020.

    The current approach to the security classification of women offenders allows for the protection and safety of the public, offenders, and staff. Alternative accommodations, such as the Structured Living Environment, Pathways Unit, Enhanced Support Houses and Structured Intervention Units are well established at women offender institutions, and provide responsive interventions in accordance with risk assessments, security needs and correctional planning. In addition, the women have access to services such as mental health professionals and intervention staff directly on the unit.

    CSC will continue to examine policy and procedures for women to identify if there are further opportunities to facilitate the timely assessment for movement of women offenders to lower security levels while ensuring the continuation of mental health supports, cultural activities, and correctional programming and interventions as required.

    With respect to maximum-security women who reside in the Secure Units (SU), they have access to shared spaces in the main compound of the institution (e.g., gym, recreation facilities, health services, spiritual and vocational areas) as well as activities and interventions provided outside the SU, as appropriate. The cases of women in the SU are reviewed by an interdisciplinary team at least every two weeks, with the aim of reducing security restrictions and successfully integrating the women into lower security levels as appropriate.

  25. 13. I recommend that CSC publish forthwith a quarterly record of SIU placement authorizations under section 34 (2) of the CCRA, including the reasons cited for granting authorization. This record should also include the number of instances where individuals were subjected to Restricted Movement under section 37.91 (1) of the CCRA.
  26. Under section 34(2) of the CCRA, CSC is required to maintain a record of every instance in which an inmate is authorized to be transferred into a Structured Intervention Unit (SIU), the reasons for granting such authorization and any alternatives considered. These records include any time the Service has imposed restrictions on an inmate’s movement (RM) pending transfer to an SIU.

    CSC maintains these records and is able to extract this information on a quarterly basis, including the reasons for granting authorization under Section 34(1).

    Finally, the preliminary number of authorizations for the first two quarters of 2021/2022 show:

      2021-2022 Q1 2021-2022 Q2
    Total authorizations 374 343
    Authorizations Started by Reason
    TRANSFER_REASON 2021-2022 Q1 2021-2022 Q2
    CCRA 34(1)A JEOP SFTY/SEC INST 197 180
    CCRA 34(1)B JEOP INMATE SFTY 165 159
    CCRA 34(1)C INTERF W/INVEST 12 4
    Total 374 343
  27. I recommend that CSC finalize and publish a timeline indicating how it plans to meet its legislated reporting requirements under section 37 (2) (Obligations of the Service) and section 32 (3) (Physical Barriers), as well as under section 37.2 (Health care recommendations).
  28. Under subs. 37(2), and subs. 32(3) of the CCRA, the Service is required to maintain a record of every instance as prescribed. This information is currently being recorded by the Service on an on-going basis, as required under the aforementioned sections of the CCRA. The Service also maintains a record of Health Care recommendations made to the Institutional Head under s. 37.2 of the CCRA.

  29. I recommend that Commissioner’s Directive 822: Medical Isolation and Modified Routine for COVID-19, be immediately revised to include:
    1. Definitions that clearly distinguish between the practice of medical isolation and quarantine, including clinically relevant criteria where appropriate.
    2. Service standards (time restrictions, response times) for medical clearance and the institutional head’s authorization to discontinue medical isolation and quarantine.
    3. Time restrictions for quarantine and medical isolation, with clear guidelines to allow for the extension of restrictions as per the advice of health care.
    4. A requirement that any stays in medical isolation beyond 14-days be flagged in the offender management system (OMS), and be subject to the same level of review and oversight as those in place for Structured Intervention Units.
    5. Basic expectations for conditions of confinement including out-of-cell, yard, and shower time, access to video visitation, and health care visits.

    Commissioner’s Directive (CD) 822 – Medical Isolation and Modified Routine for COVID-19 was provisionally promulgated in July 2020. In light of the urgency to provide timely national guidance to staff during the pandemic, the decision was made to simultaneously promulgate the CD and engage in consultation with both internal and external partners and stakeholders. CSC had an opportunity to discuss the organization’s use of medical isolation with representatives from the Office of Correctional Investigator on two separate occasions. CSC will be promulgating a revised version of the CD, based on the feedback received and lessons learned since the original provisional promulgation.

    With respect to paragraphs 15 (a) to (e):

    1. During the development of the policy, consideration was given to the terminology to be used with respect to the use of the separation of inmates (in line with self-isolation in the community) to help prevent the introduction and spread of COVID-19 in federal penitentiaries. The use of the term quarantine, while considered, was ultimately not utilized for CSC policy given that it is a legally defined construct under the Quarantine Act.
    2. CSC has implemented Health Services Algorithms which act in concert with the CD, and outline service standards for testing and the initiation and medical clearance from medical isolation.
    3. The length of medical isolation is based on public health principles and the recommendations of registered health care professionals similar to what is used in the community.
    4. The Health Service Algorithms have been reviewed and updated on an ongoing basis throughout the pandemic, in accordance with the best available public health advice. As a congregate living environment, CSC policy and guidelines were informed by public health advice and are similar to the approach followed in the broader community, such as in Long Term Care facilities.
    5. Revisions to the CD will include a clearer distinction between medical isolation and modified routine for health purposes as well as expectations related to the conditions of medical isolation and modified routine related to out-of-cell time (e.g., yard time, shower time, access to phone calls/video visitation).

    It is important to note that all inmates on medical isolation are seen at least once daily by a health care professional to allow ongoing monitoring of their health needs. In addition, all reasonable efforts are made to provide the inmates opportunities to be out of their cell to attend activities of daily living (e.g. showers, recreation time, access to calls, etc.) and to interact with others on the range with appropriate infection prevention and control measures in place.

    CSC’s health professionals continue to review and amend the guidance for the appropriate use of medical isolation as broader national public health advice changes over the course of the pandemic.   

  30. I recommend that CSC’s team of national investigators within the Incident Investigations Branch (IIB) be comprehensively trained in the principles and practices of Gladue analysis and Gladue report writing (Indigenous social history). Further, National Boards of Investigation into a person of Indigenous ancestry should be principally led, investigated, and written from an Indigenous social history perspective.
  31. CSC is committed to improving National Investigators’ skills and knowledge in the consideration and analysis of the Indigenous Social History. CSC is examining the training curriculum to ensure a specific portion on Gladue principles is included. It is expected that the revised curriculum will be completed in Spring 2022.

    CSC undertakes to continue and explore best practices. CSC will also continue to ensure that National Boards of Investigation into incidents involving an offender of Indigenous ancestry include at least one board member who is of Indigenous background and/or who possesses expertise in analyzing the impact of the offender’s Indigenous Social History on the incidents.

  32. I recommend that a Gladue-informed summary of M’s case be prepared and used as a national training and learning tool for all CSC staff. In the interests of transparency and accountability, any documentation prepared to meet my recommendations in this case should be made public.
  33. CSC is in the process of rolling out new training on Indigenous Corrections, which is being added to the National Training Standards. The training will be included as an additional 16 hours in the Correctional Training Program (CTP) for Correctional Officers (CX) and into a one day training for all new non-CX employees, to be completed within 12 months of employment. These training initiatives will increase the awareness of all staff regarding historical and contemporary laws, policies, and Supreme Court decisions that impact Indigenous people in Canada. Additionally, they will provide key information on the factors which contribute to the over-representation of Indigenous offenders in the Criminal Justice System and how CSC, in consultation and engagement with Indigenous communities, addresses these factors through its legislation, policy and interventions.

    The CTP portion of the training will begin being delivered in the first quarter of 2022 and the training for new employees will begin by the third quarter of 2022. Both trainings will incorporate a Case Study developed on M’s case. A draft of the Case Study has been developed by the Indigenous Initiatives Directorate and is being reviewed by the Learning and Development Directorate for appropriate integration into both these training sessions.

  34. I recommend that CSC discontinue the practice of labeling non-suicidal self-injurious behaviour in prison settings as “instrumental,” “wilful,” or “deliberate” in nature or intent. A comprehensive mental health assessment of self-injurious and suicidal persons should be completed, and clear guidance provided to front-line staff in how to manage and de-escalate incidents of self-injurious and suicidal behaviour.
  35. CSC is committed to using language that is respectful and does not contribute to stigma. Enhancing prevention and intervention for offenders with suicidal behaviours is a continuous goal for CSC. CSC has a process to comprehensively assess the mental health of self-injurious and suicidal persons and the recently implemented Suicide Prevention and Intervention Strategy provides a consistent approach for clinical assessment and intervention with offenders with needs related to suicide/self-injury. This overarching strategy also includes training and continuous development for CSC staff, as well as a continuum of prevention and intervention actions from admission and throughout the offenders’ sentence. Current CSC documents related to this strategy do not include words such as “wilful” or “deliberate”.

    CSC will consult with a relevant expert on stigma and language in health care as well as inmates within CSC with lived experience to inform a review of health policies and practice reminder for health reinforcing their important role in supporting respectful communication about self-injurious behaviours. CSC’s organizational policy (Commissioner’s Directive 843, Interventions to Preserve Life and Prevent Serious Bodily Harm) does not utilize the terminology of “instrumental”, “wilful”, or “deliberate”. The policy requirements do not differ based on the underlying motivations for the non-suicidal self-injurious behaviour.

  36. I recommend that the Commissioner proactively issue a formal apology to M’s family for the systemic failures of the Correctional Service Canada.
  37. There is no greater responsibility than having the care and custody of other human beings. It is a responsibility that is taken very seriously by the Commissioner of CSC. The tragic death of offender M while in CSC’s care is troubling. CSC recognizes that no words are sufficient to lessen the heartfelt sorrow that the family feels on the passing of their loved one. As is CSC practice, when an incident such as this occurs, a Board of Investigation is convened in accordance with the Corrections and Conditional Release Act section 19 to determine the circumstances surrounding the incident. As in all cases of a death in custody, an investigation was conducted into the circumstances surrounding the death of offender M. CSC is currently implementing the recommendations and corrective measures to help prevent similar incidents in the future.

    CSC recognizes the importance of supporting Indigenous offenders while they are in our care and custody. As a result, CSC has implemented a unique approach to Indigenous Corrections that is both culturally responsive to the offender and inclusive of Indigenous communities. Our approach takes into account each individual’s Indigenous social history, evaluating culturally responsive or restorative options, and determining the best ways to address the rehabilitative needs of the offender. CSC provides Indigenous Continuum of Care services designed to address the needs of First Nations, Métis, Inuit and women which are grounded in culture and are Elder-assisted.

    Some examples of services provided as part of the Indigenous Continuum of Care include:

    • Indigenous Interventions Centres offer engagement with an Indigenous community early in an offender’s sentence to increase the success for offenders upon release.
    • Pathways Initiatives provide more intensive counselling and interventions to those offenders ready to engage in more Indigenous healing and ceremonial engagement;
    • Indigenous Community Development Officers provide Indigenous offenders with the support to engage their families and home communities in their release planning;
    • Indigenous Community Liaison Officers provide support to offenders upon release, particularly in urban centres; and
    • CSC and community partners operate 10 Healing Lodges, which are environments that offer culturally appropriate services and programs to offenders in a way that incorporates Indigenous values, traditions, and beliefs.

    As part of the Indigenous Continuum of Care, CSC employs Indigenous staff and contracts with Indigenous Elders across all regions to support Indigenous offenders. Elders provide ceremonies, guidance and counselling, and cultural support. In fact, CSC is one of the largest employers of Indigenous peoples in the federal public service and we are continuously working to increase our diversity and representation, including in senior level positions.

    Furthermore, racism and discrimination have absolutely no place in our society, inside or outside of CSC. CSC is committed to working with its employees, partners and offenders to address systemic barriers to inclusion.

    CSC has developed an anti-racism framework, which has three pillars of focus: inmates, employees and stakeholders. Various initiatives are underway or are being planned that respond to the needs of each group of individuals represented through these pillars. In fact, we are building a unit dedicated to anti-racism, diversity and inclusion at CSC. We are consulting individuals from each group as well as collecting and reviewing various sources of data, research and information. We will also benefit from outreach activities and opportunities to listen and gather feedback from our many internal and external stakeholders, including people from Black, Indigenous and racialized communities.

    We are making progress but recognize there is more work to do. CSC will continue to work with its criminal justice partners and Indigenous communities to support the rehabilitation of Indigenous offenders and ensure they are provided the tools and services they need to successfully reintegrate into the community.

  38. I recommend that the Prime Minister of Canada fulfill this Government’s commitment by signing the Optional Protocol Against Torture and taking concrete steps within the next four years to ensure that this important human rights instrument is ratified.
  39. This recommendation will be responded to by the Minister of Public Safety.

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