Commissioner's Directive

Parole Board of Canada Reviews


  • To provide direction regarding the Parole Board of Canada review process while assisting in the protection of society and promoting timely reintegration


Applies to all staff involved with the preparation of and participation in Parole Board of Canada reviews. This includes both hearings and file reviews


  1. The Institutional Head/District Director will ensure:
    1. procedures are in place for the control, management and supervision of individuals attending Parole Board of Canada (PBC) hearings
    2. appropriate facilities are available for the hearing, including a room for cultural hearings that can accommodate ceremonial practices such as smudging.
  2. The Assistant Warden, Operations/Area Director will ensure:
    1. procedures are in place to facilitate the attendance and supervision of offenders prior to and during the hearings
    2. procedures are in place for the attendance of observers at hearings.
  3. The Assistant Warden, Interventions/Area Director will ensure:
    1. the coordination of hearings including video conferencing
    2. that services of a certified or otherwise PBC-approved interpreter for offenders are arranged as necessary
    3. the management of waivers, withdrawals, postponements and adjournments before and during the hearing
    4. when there is a hearing, the offender's case is presented orally to the Board members by a Parole Officer who is familiar with the case.
  4. The Parole Officer will:
    1. ensure that the offender is made aware of and understands their right to PBC review and the consequence of waiving that right (CCRA subsection 123(2))
    2. ensure the sharing of information is completed at least 28 days prior to the scheduled hearing, pursuant to CD 701 Information Sharing
    3. advise the offender of the scheduled date of the hearing as soon as possible in advance of the hearing, and whether it will be by videoconference
    4. ensure the offender is provided with the opportunity to present in writing, normally within one week of being notified by PBC of the request by an observer to attend a hearing, comments/objections regarding the observer’s presence at the hearing
    5. attend the hearing, present the case and provide relevant updates as required.


Parole Board of Canada Hearings

  1. Parole Board of Canada (PBC) hearings are required for:
    1. escorted temporary absences where the PBC is the granting authority, until a first escorted temporary absence is approved or authorized by the Board at a hearing (exceptions apply to escorted temporary absences for administrative and compassionate reasons) 
    2. unescorted temporary absences where the PBC is the granting authority, until a first unescorted temporary absence is authorized or a first day parole is granted by the Board.
  2. Unless a waiver has been provided by the offender, PBC hearings will also be held for:
    1. the first review for day parole
    2. legislated reviews for full parole
    3. all detention reviews (including initial, annual, biennial reviews and earlier reviews of detention orders)
    4. reviews following a cancellation of parole
    5. reviews following a suspension, termination and revocation of parole or statutory release.
  3. Hearings will be conducted in the official language of choice of the offender (in accordance with subsection 140(1) of the CCRA).
  4. An Aboriginal offender, or an offender who is committed to following a healing path, may request an Elder-Assisted Hearing by completing Request for an Elder-Assisted Hearing form (PBC/CLCC 0035). Upon the request of the offender, the PBC Elder, or CSC Elder when the PBC Elder is not present, will conduct an appropriate Elder-Assisted Hearing.
  5. The Elder's role is determined by the PBC (refer to Decision-Making Policy Manual for Board Members).

Information Sharing

  1. In circumstances where additional relevant information becomes available and there is insufficient time to share the information prior to the hearing, the Parole Officer will inform the Board members and the offender of the new information orally during the hearing. In these cases, a postponement or adjournment may occur.
  2. The Parole Officer will provide a synopsis of the case to the PBC at the beginning of the hearing.

Hearing Participants and Observers

  1. The hearing will be attended by the Board member(s), a Parole Officer and the offender. It may also be attended by:
    1. a hearing officer
    2. the offender's assistant
    3. an interpreter (for the offender or victim)
    4. observers, including victims, victims’ representatives and supports, offender supports, media representatives, criminal justice partners, PBC and/or CSC representatives, students and the general public
    5. an Elder
    6. a PBC regional communications officer.
  2. If an offender requests an assistant, the Application for an Assistant at a Parole Board of Canada Hearing (CSC/SCC 1293) will be completed.
  3. Victims may present a statement in person by reading it themselves or having their support person read it on their behalf. (For other ways victims may present, refer to PBC Decision-Making Policy Manual for Board Members.) If a victim is not in attendance their statement may be presented at the hearing in the form of a written statement, which may be accompanied by an audio or video recording.
  4. Every person who requests to attend a PBC hearing as an observer, including an offender support person, must apply to the PBC using the Request to Observe a Parole Hearing form (PBC/CLCC 0037). The form should be sent to PBC at least 30 days before the hearing.
  5. The observers will be permitted to attend unless the PBC determines that their presence may adversely affect the hearing pursuant to the CCRA, subsection 140(4).
  6. Observers and assistants may only be present for the proceedings, and not for the deliberations. The Board may require an observer to leave at any time during the hearing as considered necessary, pursuant to subsection 140(5) of the CCRA.


  1. Adjournments and Administrative Adjournments will be as per PBC's Decision-Making Policy Manual for Board Members.


  1. An offender may request a postponement of a PBC review using the Postponement form (PBC/CLCC 0087).


  1. An offender may withdraw an application for unescorted temporary absence, escorted temporary absence, day parole or full parole review using the Withdrawal form (PBC/CLCC 0086).
  2. An offender may not withdraw an application for day parole or full parole within 14 days before the commencement of the review, unless the withdrawal is necessary and it was not possible to withdraw it earlier due to circumstances beyond their control (CCRA subsections 122(6) and 123(7)).


  1. An offender can waive their right to a hearing for a parole, temporary absence or detention review, as well as their right to a full parole review using the Waiver form (PBC/CLCC 0079), at any time prior to the review, subject to the exceptions below. An offender can also waive their right to a hearing for a review following a suspension, termination or revocation of parole or statutory release.
  2. Offenders designated as dangerous offenders or dangerous sexual offenders and serving an indeterminate sentence cannot waive their right to a day or full parole review, in accordance with subsections 761(1) and (2) of the Criminal Code, but may waive their hearing.
  3. Consent of the offender is not required for the Board to grant full parole to an offender who is subject to removal or extradition.
  4. A waiver of a hearing does not apply for:
    1. escorted temporary absences for community service, family contact, personal development for rehabilitative purposes or parental responsibility, until a first escorted temporary absence has been approved or authorized by the Board by way of a hearing
    2. unescorted temporary absences, for offenders serving an indeterminate sentence or a sentence of life as a minimum punishment, until a first unescorted temporary absence has been authorized or first day parole granted (in accordance with subsection 164(1) of the CCRR).
  5. When an offender requests to waive their right to a parole review, the Parole Officer will make every effort to ensure the waiver is completed no later than four months prior to the review date.
  6. In the case of an offender following a healing path, the Elder or Aboriginal Liaison Officer will ensure the offender understands the consequences of the waiver.


  1. The offender may appeal a negative decision within two months of the decision, based on the five grounds to appeal listed in subsection 147(1) of the CCRA and the PBC Decision-Making Policy Manual for Board Members. The written notice of appeal filed by the offender or a person acting on their behalf will include the grounds for appeal as well as all supporting information.
  2. If the PBC Appeal Division orders a new review, the Parole Officer will provide an update of the offender’s progress by completing a new Assessment for Decision if there is a change to the original recommendation or an addendum if the original recommendation remains the same.


Original Signed by:
Don Head




CD 001 – Mission, Values and Ethics Framework of the Correctional Service of Canada
CD 566-1 – Control of Entry to and Exit from Institutions
CD 700 – Correctional Interventions
CD 701 – Information Sharing
CD 702 – Aboriginal Offenders
CD 705-5 – Supplementary Assessments
CD 710-3 – Temporary Absences
CD 712-1 – Pre-Release Decision-Making
CD 712-5 – Pre-Release Case Preparation for Provincial/Territorial Offenders and Federal Offenders Incarcerated in Provincial/Territorial Facilities
CD 715-2 – Post-Release Decision Process
CD 784 – Victim Engagement

Parole Board of Canada, Decision-Making Policy Manual for Board Members


Adjournment: a decision to temporarily suspend a PBC review, after the Board members have begun the review.

Administrative Adjournment: a decision to delay a PBC review, normally no later than 28 days prior to its scheduled date.

PBC Review: a file review or a hearing

Postponement: a written request from an offender to delay their PBC review.

Waiver: a written statement by an offender forfeiting their legal right to a specific PBC review.

Withdrawal: a written request by an offender who no longer wishes to have their application for a temporary absence, a day parole or a full parole reviewed by the Parole Board of Canada.

For more information

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