Commissioner's Directive

CCRA Section 84: Application Process


  1. These guidelines provide the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) direction for the completion of the section 84 process.


  1. It is important to recognize that the section 84 process involves the teamwork of numerous individuals within and outside of CSC. A successful section 84 process requires a coordinated approach and an ongoing communication between these team members.
  2. The Institutional Parole Officer (IPO) is the primary individual responsible for the management of the offender's case prior to his or her release. The IPO:
    1. informs the offender of the section 84 planning process at various points during the offender's incarceration;
    2. flags offender's interest in the Offender Management System (OMS) for those not identified during the Preliminary Assessment phase;
    3. where applicable ensures that when the application for decision is entered in OMS, the Aboriginal community is selected in the "Consultation" field and the section 84 information is entered on the release certificate;
    4. obtains the section 84 letter that the offender writes to the community expressing an interest in a section 84 release, obtains the Consent for Disclosure of Personal Information (CSC/SCC 0487), prepares a letter to inform the community of section 84 and faxes all three completed documents to the Aboriginal Community Development Officer assigned to the province in question;
    5. notifies the Institutional Aboriginal Liaison Officer and the Aboriginal Community Development Officer of an offender's interest;
    6. includes the section 84 release plans in the case preparation documents forwarded to the National Parole Board for decision;
    7. acts as the liaison at the institutional level between the offender, Aboriginal Liaison Officer, Elder, Community Parole Officer and Aboriginal Community Development Officer during the section 84 process;
    8. informs the staff member preparing the release certificate of the need to complete the "Section 84 Location" field within the "Supervision Information and Certificate" screen in OMS; and
    9. notifies the Community Parole Officer of an approved section 84 release when arranging supervision.
  3. The offender's role in section 84 is the most important, as it is the offender who initiates the process. In addition, the offender also needs to:
    1. inform his or her Case Management Team of his or her interest in section 84 as soon as possible;
    2. show commitment for conditional release by following his or her Correctional Plan;
    3. actively participate in the consultation process with CSC representatives and the Aboriginal community in developing a release plan; and
    4. demonstrate commitment to his or her healing path by participating in the release plan as developed.
  4. The Aboriginal Community Development Officer (ACDO) is involved in the release planning for section 84 offenders during several phases of the process as noted below.
    1. Even before offenders have expressed interest, the ACDO or CSC staff may contact Aboriginal communities to promote awareness of this section of legislation and determine whether there is interest in the community to participate in this process.
    2. The ACDO supports and promotes Aboriginal community participation in section 84.
    3. The ACDO assists in building a healthy relationship between the Aboriginal community and the offender by serving as the liaison between these two parties to support successful release planning and reintegration.
    4. The ACDO assists the Aboriginal community in developing a suitable release plan for the offender and assesses and confirms that a support system is in place upon the offender's release.
  5. The Aboriginal Liaison Officer (ALO) is responsible for leadership, cultural awareness, counselling and general services to Aboriginal offenders in an institutional setting. The ALO:
    1. informs incarcerated offenders about the section 84 process and provides information to staff and offenders on the process;
    2. communicates with the IPO and ACDO with regards to an offender's interest in section 84;
    3. acts as the liaison at the institutional level between the offender, IPO and ACDO during the section 84 process; and
    4. supports the offender in the section 84 process as appropriate.
  6. Aboriginal communities' involvement in the section 84 process is imperative. Without the communities' voluntary participation, this process does not continue. The Aboriginal communities should:
    1. familiarize themselves with the intent and purpose of the section 84 process as well as with their roles within the process through communication with the ACDOs;
    2. determine whether they are willing to participate in the section 84 process;
    3. work closely with offenders and CSC representatives in developing suitable release plans for offenders; and
    4. work closely with the Case Management Team supervising the offenders following their release to ensure the plans are implemented.
  7. The Community Parole Officer (CPO) is responsible for supervising the offender on release. The section 84 process will normally be completed while the offender is incarcerated. However, there may be exceptional circumstances whereby the offender's section 84 release plan will be completed by the CPO while the offender is in the community. The CPO will also:
    1. inform the offender of the section 84 planning process during the Preliminary Assessment phase;
    2. if the offender expresses an interest, include the section 84 release plans and consult with the ACDO and IPO in developing the Community Strategy/Assessment for Decision documents forwarded to the National Parole Board for decision;
    3. work closely with the Aboriginal community involved in the release planning upon the offender's release;
    4. assume the role of the ACDO, as assigned, when one does not exist in the parole office; and
    5. consult with community leaders when doing a Post-Sentence Community Assessment in an Aboriginal community.


  1. The following steps are intended to be used as a general guide for a section 84 process. The steps should be adapted to allow for differences in local practices, unexpected obstacles, and most importantly the customs of local Aboriginal communities.

Step 1 - Preliminary Assessment

  1. The section 84 process is initiated by the offender. However, for the offender to participate in the process, he or she must first be aware of this section of the CCRA as well as its intent and purpose. This awareness begins upon the offender's first contact with CSC.
  2. Upon an offender's sentencing to a federal term of incarceration, a CPO will meet the newly sentenced offender to conduct the Preliminary Assessment (refer to CD 705-1 - Preliminary Assessments and Post-Sentence Community Assessments).
  3. During the Preliminary Assessment, the CPO will inform the offender about section 84 and ensure that the offender understands that he or she has the right and responsibility to initiate the section 84 process.
  4. The offender will have an opportunity to express his or her interest in an Aboriginal healing path and the section 84 process.
  5. The offender's responses are documented by the CPO through the drop-down menus on the cover page of the Preliminary Assessment in OMS.
  6. If the offender expresses interest in the section 84 process and outlines plans for it, this information should be documented in narrative format in the Preliminary Assessment under "Assessment of Release Potential". A "yes" response to sections 81 and 84 automatically generates flags.

Step 2 - Post-Sentence Community Assessment

  1. The Post-Sentence Community Assessment (PSCA) is initiated with a community contact identified by the offender following the Preliminary Assessment (CD 705-1 - Preliminary Assessments and Post-Sentence Community Assessments).
  2. If the PSCA is conducted in an Aboriginal community, the CPO completing the PSCA will include, where applicable, Aboriginal community leaders or representatives. The CPO will also take this opportunity to inform the Aboriginal community of section 84.

Step 3 - Intake

  1. Following the offender's admission to CSC, the Intake Parole Officer and ALO will confirm with the offender that he or she has been briefed on section 84 and provide any additional information as required (CD 705-6 - Correctional Planning and Criminal Profile).
  2. The IPO completing the Correctional Plan will indicate that section 84 was discussed with the offender. If the offender is interested in pursuing a release through the section 84 process, any available details associated with it should be noted in the "Sentence Planning" section of the Correctional Plan.
  3. If at intake, or at any time during an offender's sentence, he or she indicates an interest in section 84, the IPO will activate a section 84 flag in OMS. This flag will alert the Case Management Team members of the offender's interest in section 84. If the Preliminary Assessment drop-down menu titled "Interested in 84" is already marked "yes", an automatic flag will have already been created. The flag should be deactivated if the offender is no longer interested in the section 84 process of if the offender is denied a conditional release by the National Parole Board and a section 84 process is no longer an option.

Step 4 - Offender Application

  1. CSC will assist and encourage offenders to use the provisions of section 84.
  2. An offender may express an interest in section 84 to the Aboriginal community at any time in his or her sentence. However, the IPO is responsible for confirming whether the offender is still interested in the section 84 process prior to completing pre-release casework.
  3. The sooner the offender involves the community, the more time the community will have to consider how it wishes to proceed and to develop an effective and meaningful community plan.
  4. When an offender has indicated interest in the section 84 process, the IPO will notify the Institutional ALO and the appropriate ACDO responsible for the proposed destination of release/Aboriginal community as soon as possible.
  5. The IPO will consult with the offender to review the application and ensure that he or she understands the process. Other members of the Case Management Team may also be included (e.g. ACDO and ALO).
  6. Where there is no ACDO to assist in the section 84 process in the identified Aboriginal community, the parole office responsible for that supervision area will be notified and a Parole Officer will be assigned to perform the duties in place of the ACDO (CD 712-1 - Pre-Release Decision Making).
  7. Once the ACDO receives the required documentation from the IPO, they will enter their name and assignment start date under "Offender Case Assignment" in OMS.
  8. The ACDO will enter a Casework Record in OMS to document activities related to the section 84 process. This includes, but is not limited to, activities related to consultations with the offender, CSC staff and the Aboriginal community.

Step 5 - Section 84 Letter

  1. When an offender decides, in consultation with the IPO, to pursue a section 84 release, he or she will initiate the process by preparing a letter to the appropriate contact for the Aboriginal community he or she intends to involve in the release planning.
  2. The IPO and/or ALO will assist the offender in preparing the letter, if necessary. It is imperative that this letter is completed in a timely manner to allow the ACDO sufficient time to contact the Aboriginal community and complete a section 84 Community Assessment.
  3. The ACDO will assist the offender in identifying the appropriate community contacts (Chief and Council, Métis Local, Urban Council, Justice Committee, etc.).
  4. For offenders who are serving long or indeterminate sentences and intend to engage in the section 84 process, it may be advisable for them to send a yearly letter to the Aboriginal community in order to update the community on their progress and to begin developing a working relationship long before release planning. This level of communication, at times over several years, may alleviate any fears that the Aboriginal community may have over the seriousness or sensational nature of the offender's offence.
  5. The ACDO, ALO or IPO do not complete the section 84 letters for the offender. This is the first step in the offender's demonstration of his or her commitment to the process. However, assistance may be rendered when required.

Step 6 - Consent for Disclosure of Personal Information

  1. The offender must sign a Consent for Disclosure of Personal Information (CSC/SCC 0487). This form allows CSC to disclose information regarding the offender's case to the identified contact(s) in the Aboriginal community.
  2. The form should be completed with specific instructions that the sharing of information is to be used solely for the purpose of the section 84 release planning and that the consent is valid only until the offender's warrant expiry date or the end of his or her Long-Term Supervision Order.
  3. The ALO or IPO should help the offender complete this form. The form will be forwarded to the ACDO by the IPO (CD 712-1 - Pre-Release Decision Making).

Step 7 - ACDO Letter to the Community

  1. The ACDO will prepare a letter to the Aboriginal community informing them about section 84, and of an offender's interest in engaging the community in a section 84 release process. The letter will provide relevant information about the process to assist the community in making a decision to support the offender (CD 712-1 - Pre-Release Decision Making).

Step 8 - Sending the Letters

  1. After having received the section 84 letter and the Consent for Disclosure of Personal Information (CSC/SCC 0487), and having written the letter for the Aboriginal community, the ACDO will present these documents to the Aboriginal community.
  2. The package should also include copies of the following documents: Enhancing the Role of Aboriginal Communities in Federal Corrections, Questions to Consider when Developing a Release Plan under Section 84, Questions on Section 84, and Guide to Preparing a Release Plan Under Section 84. The package can also include "The Path Home" release planning kit if available.
  3. The ACDO will make the appropriate arrangements for sending the section 84 package to the Aboriginal community. These documents are often referred to the Aboriginal community in the following ways:
    1. The Aboriginal community contact or band office is notified via email or telephone that a package is forthcoming for review by the Chief and Council or the appropriate agency head.
    2. The ACDO may contact the Aboriginal community to schedule a meeting to present the section 84 package in person.
  4. The ACDO will send a copy of the offender's letter to the Parole Office and the Area Director responsible for the area in which the Aboriginal community is located.

Step 9 - Community Presentation

  1. Should the ACDO schedule a meeting with the Aboriginal community, the ACDO will provide a presentation of the section 84 package. In certain cases, the Aboriginal community may request that the offender also be present during the meeting. This may be facilitated by a temporary absence from the institution. A summary of the presentation should be documented in a Casework Record by the ACDO.
  2. The CPO is to be present during this presentation to provide comments with regards to case management issues and to establish a relationship with the Aboriginal community.
  3. It is important for the ACDO to be aware of the protocols of the Aboriginal community. The ACDO may meet with the offender, ALO and IPO prior to this presentation in order to receive or share any information on community protocols.
  4. The ACDO will make a brief presentation on section 84 and the Aboriginal community will often call on all members to say a few words on behalf of the offender if they have a previous knowledge of the case.
  5. The ACDO will respond to any questions the Aboriginal community may have. The section 84 package will be provided to the Chief and Council or appropriate agency contact.
  6. The ACDO will follow up with the Chief and Council or decision maker for the Aboriginal community to obtain a response in writing, where possible, to the section 84 letter.
  7. The deadline for the response should be agreed upon between the ACDO and the Chief and Council or community representative. The response should normally be received within one or two months and where possible should be in writing.

Step 10 - Community Response

  1. The ACDO is responsible for documenting the gist of the Aboriginal community's response to the section 84 presentation in a Casework Record in OMS. The ACDO should also follow up with the Aboriginal community if no response is received.
  2. If the response is positive and the Aboriginal community wishes to engage in the process, the ACDO will share this information with the offender, IPO and ALO.
  3. If the response is negative and the Aboriginal community does not wish to engage in the process, the section 84 process for that community is completed. The ACDO will share this information with the offender, IPO and ALO. Alternative release plans should be considered in consultation with the offender, ACDO, IPO and ALO. The offender may initiate another section 84 process with a different Aboriginal community.

Step 11 - Follow-Up to Section 84 Letter

  1. If the Aboriginal community responds positively, the offender will send a second letter to the Aboriginal community. The intent of this second letter is for the offender to further introduce him or herself. The information may include, but is not limited to:
    1. place of incarceration;
    2. nature of criminal history;
    3. activities while incarcerated;
    4. activities prior to incarceration;
    5. reasons for returning to the Aboriginal community;
    6. details of release plans.
  2. The offender will inform the IPO or the ALO once this letter has been completed. It can then be forwarded to the ACDO for presentation to the Aboriginal community. The IPO, ALO and ACDO should ensure that this letter contains relevant and appropriate information prior to forwarding it to the Aboriginal community.
  3. Note: This second letter is not always required. If the offender is aware of the contact person in the Aboriginal community and is comfortable sending personal information to the contact in the first section 84 letter, this step can be eliminated.

Step 12 - Completing the Community Plan

  1. The ACDO will contact the Aboriginal community to set up further meetings to discuss the release plan. It is also important to remember that the definition of Aboriginal community may differ in the case of urban releases in comparison with rural/northern releases. Some communities may choose to establish a section 84 review committee. As examples, the committee may include the following individuals in the Aboriginal community:
    1. Justice Committee members;
    2. Elders/Spiritual Advisors;
    3. Social Development Teams;
    4. Chief and Council;
    5. community support agencies.
  2. If the Aboriginal community decides to establish a section 84 review committee, the ACDO will discuss its composition with them, and ensure that the committee has the authority to speak on behalf of the community. Note that membership to such groups frequently change, therefore, the Consent for Disclosure of Personal Information (CSC/SCC 0487) must be completed accurately to ensure no breach of confidentiality.
  3. The ACDO will meet with the review committee or individuals identified to assist with developing a release plan, to review relevant information pertaining to the offender. This normally includes the Criminal Profile, the Correctional Plan, treatment reports, Community Assessments, psychological/psychiatric assessments, Healing Plans, Elder assessments and/or any other report that would provide relevant information. Any additional documents that the offender wishes to share with the community representatives should also be included.
  4. In developing the release plan, the Aboriginal community should consider what type of progress the offender has made to address the factors linked to his or her offending behaviour. The release plan should maintain and complement the work the offender has done in the institution.
  5. The ACDO should guide the Aboriginal community during this process, ensuring the community is aware that the release plan is put in place to support and assist the offender so that he or she can successfully reintegrate in the community. The release plan should not be completed in isolation, but should include communication with the offender, IPO, CPO and ALO as required.
  6. Note that sharing offender information with those that are not listed on the Consent for Disclosure of Personal Information (CSC/SCC 0487) is not allowed given privacy issues, even if the members appear to be well-meaning family or community members.
  7. Escorted temporary absences or unescorted temporary absences may be facilitated to allow the offender to visit the Aboriginal community. This will provide the offender and the community an opportunity to meet, prepare a release plan or participate in a healing circle if necessary. As well, representatives from the community may visit the offender during incarceration, or other method of communication may be used (e.g. phone calls).
  8. The release plan should consider the following elements in the offender's reintegration:
    1. programs and resources (e.g. Elders, AA meetings and Social Workers);
    2. employment opportunities;
    3. accommodations;
    4. community support;
    5. safety issues;
    6. monitoring of offender activities;
    7. expectations of the offender and the community;
    8. community attendance at the National Parole Board hearing;
    9. victim considerations; and
    10. need for health care and mental health services.
  9. Consultation at this stage can result in numerous meetings between the ACDO, offender, ALO, IPO, CPO and the individuals identified in the Aboriginal community to assist with release planning. The consultation can also involve other CSC representatives.
  10. The ACDO is responsible for documenting the discussions at these meetings. The Community Plan will be documented in the ACDO's Community Assessment.

Step 13 - Reviewing the Plan

  1. The ACDO will arrange a meeting with the offender, IPO and ALO to review the section 84 plan developed by the Aboriginal community. Representatives from the community may also be present.
  2. If any amendments are required in the plan, the ACDO will contact the Aboriginal community for consultation. Once the community plan is agreed upon, the ACDO will provide the plan to the section 84 review committee for signature.
  3. The ACDO will collect all information after meeting with the section 84 review committee.

Step 14 - Community Assessment

  1. The ACDO will outline the release plan created by the Aboriginal community in a Community Assessment. Where possible, the section 84 Community Assessment should be completed in advance of the Community Strategy and the Assessment for Decision prepared by the PO. Since the section 84 Community Assessment does not address or assess risk, it should be read in conjunction with the corresponding Community Strategy and Assessment for Decision (CD 712-1 - Pre-Release Decision Making).
  2. The ACDO will then ask his or her supervisor to review and lock the Community Assessment. The report is then share-printed to the National Parole Board.

Step 15 - Correctional Plan

  1. The IPO will complete a Correctional Plan for the purposes of pre-release planning. A summary of the proposed plan should be included in the Correctional Plan. The IPO will request a Community Strategy from the appropriate parole office. The process to be followed is consistent with the one for a non-section 84 offender.
  2. The IPO will enter the offender's Aboriginal community under "Section 84 Location" when requesting the Community Strategy. There must be a section 84 flag activated for the offender in order to enter a "Section 84 Location" in the Correctional Plan. In creating a decision number in OMS under "Application/Decision Processing" for the proposed release, the IPO will enter "S. 84 - Aboriginal Community" in the field "consultation", as opposed to "CSC Correctional Service" for a non-section 84 process.

Step 16 - Community Strategy and Assessment for Decision

  1. The assigned CPO in the parole office to which the Aboriginal community is affiliated will receive the Community Strategy request and the Assessment for Decision request (when applicable). The CPO will then complete the Community Strategy and Assessment for Decision as appropriate.
  2. The Community Strategy and Assessment for Decision should be completed in consultation with the ACDO. The CPO should assess the feasibility of the proposed plan.
  3. When the IPO or CPO chooses "S. 84 - Aboriginal Community" in the "Consultation" field, it will allow for the tracking of section 84 offenders once the National Parole Board makes a decision to grant that release. This step must also be completed for all subsequent decisions related to the offender's section 84 release (i.e. day parole continued, full parole granted) if the offender is still engaged in the section 84 process. When an offender requests a change in supervision location, a section 84 plan may be developed in conjunction with the request for a new Community Strategy.
  4. Sharing of the completed reports and completion of relevant sharing forms will follow normal procedures.

Step 17 - National Parole Board Hearing

  1. The National Parole Board (NPB) hearing will take place in accordance with normal procedures, including Elder assisted hearings. However, there may be an opportunity for a community-based hearing to occur with the agreement of the Aboriginal community, the offender and the NPB.
  2. A community-based hearing is an NPB hearing that takes place within the Aboriginal community and allows the attendance of all community members to bear witness to the process and the expectations of the offender. A circle process is usually used for these hearings and community members can provide comments on the plan developed.
  3. An ongoing awareness of community developments or events is critical to reduce unexpected negative effects of the offender's release to the Aboriginal community. Ongoing assessments of the release plan in the pre-release period and consultations between the offender, ACDO, ALO, IPO and Aboriginal community should be completed as necessary to make adjustments to the plan. CSC's Discharge Planning Guidelines highlight the role of Elders, ALOs and ACDOs in the discharge process involving Aboriginal offenders.
  4. Note: If the offender is denied a conditional release by the NPB, the case should be closed unless it is clearly documented that the offender will reappear before the Board for a conditional release involving the section 84 process.


  1. An offender who has engaged in the section 84 process is supervised in the community by CSC under normal parameters during release.
  2. The "Section 84 Location" field within the "Supervision Information and Certificate" screen in OMS should be entered at the time the supervision certificate is created. A section 84 status cannot be attached to this release certificate unless a section 84 flag has already been activated in OMS. Once the flag is entered and section 84 is identified on the release certificate, an Aboriginal community location must be identified.
  3. Note: If the Aboriginal community location is not already in OMS, it can be entered in the OMS Utilities menu by the regional OMS specialist.
  4. The plan that the Aboriginal community has developed and proposed as a result of the section 84 process will, in part, determine the way supervision is carried out. Parole Officers will ensure that policies and legal requirements are maintained, but at the same time respect the unique plan developed by the Aboriginal community.
  5. Note: It may be beneficial prior to or shortly after an offender has been released for a meeting to be arranged between representatives of the Aboriginal community, the offender, the CPO, the ACDO and appropriate family members/community support members to outline everyone's role in the release. The meeting could be arranged by the ACDO.
  6. The ACDO does not provide follow-up care at the community level once an offender is released. Where available, the Aboriginal Community Liaison Officer can provide this service.
  7. The CPO will maintain contact with the community Case Management Team to ensure that the established plan is progressing. Once a section 84 offender has been released, the ACDO will end his or her case assignement in OMS and work with that offender will end.
  8. An offender on conditional release or non-discretionary release (whether section 84 or not) may engage in the section 84 process for a subsequent release, decision, transfer of supervision, etc. For example, an offender residing in a community-based residential facility on day parole may initiate the section 84 process to his or her home community in another city for full parole. The process to be followed should be consistent with the steps outlined above, and amended where required given that the offender is already in the community.
  9. The section 84 plan is applicable until the offender's suspension or warrant expiry date or until the offender or Aboriginal community withdraws from the process.


  1. The CSC parole office remains the authority with regards to decisions on the offender's release. The authorities for suspending an offender who has completed the section 84 process for a release remain the same as they would be for any other offender on release, including community consultation and notification.
  2. Should a cancellation of the suspension be considered and a plan for re-release be developed, the ACDO and the Aboriginal community should be involved in the re-release case planning for the suspended section 84 offender. This is to ensure that the Aboriginal community has an opportunity to be consulted in redeveloping a plan to address the suspension and risk upon re-release.

Senior Deputy Commissioner,

Original signed by:
Marc-Arthur Hyppolite


Section 84 of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA) places a legal responsibility on CSC to provide the Aboriginal community with the opportunity to participate in the release planning process whenever an inmate who is applying for parole expresses an interest in being released to an Aboriginal community. It is a consultation process that engages Aboriginal communities in release planning for offenders to be released to their community.

Section 84.1 of the CCRA places the same legal responsibility on CSC as section 84 whenever an offender who is required to be supervised by a long-term supervision order expresses an interest in being supervised in an Aboriginal community.

Aboriginal community means a First Nation, tribal council, band, community organization, or other group with a predominantly Aboriginal leadership. (CCRA, section 79)

Aboriginal means Indian, Inuit or Métis. (CCRA, section 79)

For more information

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