Commissioner's Directive

Social Programs and Leisure Activities


  • To ensure offenders receive the appropriate social programs to prepare them for their successful reintegration into the community
  • To encourage inmates to use their leisure time constructively, thereby helping them become law-abiding citizens


  • Applies to all staff involved in social programs, leisure activities, hobby craft, and special events


  1. The Director, Reintegration Services, will manage, coordinate and monitor social program development.
  2. The Regional Deputy Commissioner will ensure that social programs are available to offenders.
  3. The Institutional Head will establish institutional Standing Orders, that outline:
    1. the referral criteria, the procedures for the application, approval, and participation in social programs
    2. the types of social programs and activities that may be carried out in the institution
    3. the procedures for the application, approval, and issuance of hobby craft permits
    4. the types of hobby craft activities that may be carried out in the institution
    5. the types of equipment, tools and materials that may be utilized in hobby craft activities and the procedures for securing and recording these items
    6. the pricing procedures for finished hobby craft articles
    7. the procedures for the sale and donation of hobby craft articles
    8. the procedures for the approval and implementation of special events
    9. the clothing permitted for leisure activities, pursuant to CD 566-12 - Personal Property of Offenders.
  4. The Assistant Warden, Interventions/Associate District Director or delegate will chair the Correctional Intervention Board, which:
    1. approves referrals to social programs and updates assignments until they are finalized
    2. reviews and records decisions on referrals to social programs within 10 working days from the date of the application
    3. ensures the offender meets the referral criteria and that the social program is available prior to accepting the referral.
  5. The Manager, Programs/Community Program Manager, will:
    1. supervise staff involved in the delivery of social programs
    2. provide the overall management of leisure activities and the hobby shop
    3. ensure that social program schedules include offender participation information and the Social Program Officer is identified
    4. ensure that required social program performance measurement data, including any automated data, are collected and distributed
    5. ensure that program case conferences and corresponding documentation are completed as required
    6. ensure that the final social program report is quality controlled and finalized within 12 working days of social program completion.
  6. The Parole Officer will ensure:
    1. social programs are part of the Correctional Plan. The order of program priority and recommended start dates are to be identified
    2. social program referrals are entered in the Offender Management System.
  7. The Social Program Officer will:
    1. deliver social programsto offenders
    2. supervise/coordinate inmate leisure activities
    3. organize special events for inmates pursuant to local procedures and/or national policy
    4. act as a liaison between inmate groups and/or committees and institutional management, pursuant to CD 083 - Inmate Committees
    5. coordinate volunteer activities, including the provision of orientation and training to volunteers, pursuant to CD 024 – Management of Correctional Service of Canada Volunteers
    6. complete the Calculation of Net Profit for Hobbies (CSC/SCC 1190) form in collaboration with the inmate.
  8. The Indigenous Liaison Officer will supervise/facilitate spiritual and cultural activities, which may involve hobby crafts and leisure activities.
  9. Staff who interact directly with offenders will encourage them to:
    1. participate in social programs and leisure activities
    2. develop and maintain relationships with individuals and groups in the community for social and cultural purposes
    3. participate in sports and physical fitness activities
    4. pursue various hobbies and develop knowledge, creativity and skills related to hobby craft
    5. develop skills in interpersonal relations and communication.
  10. When operationally feasible, the offender will be encouraged to:
    1. participate in social programs in support of the objectives of his/her Correctional Plan
    2. participate in leisure activities.


Leisure Time

  1. Leisure activities will be supervised and/or coordinated by appropriate staff, and will take place at times other than during inmates' program or working hours.
  2. Every inmate will be given the opportunity to exercise for at least one hour each day outdoors, weather permitting, or indoors on days where the weather does not permit outdoor exercise.

Hobby Craft

  1. Hobby craft activities will only be conducted at times other than during inmates' program or working hours.
  2. Hobby craft permits will be issued to inmates who wish to participate in hobby craft activities, pursuant to CD 566-12 - Personal Property of Offenders. Two categories of permits will exist:
    1. category 1 permits will be issued to inmates for hobby craft activities that may be conducted only in a designated hobby craft area due to the requirements of the specific machinery and/or tools and/or required level of supervision
    2. category 2 permits will be issued to inmates for hobby craft activities to be conducted in the inmate's cell/room.
  3. The Institutional Head may limit the number of hobby craft permits that an inmate may hold simultaneously. Hobby craft permits will normally be renewed annually, or upon transfer to another institution.
  4. Hobby craft permits will be visibly displayed in an inmate's cell/room in order to facilitate the searching of cells/rooms, pursuant to CD 566-9 - Searching of Cells/Room, Vehicles and Other Areas.
  5. All tools and equipment used in the production of hobby craft articles in cells/rooms will be purchased by, and will be the responsibility of the inmate, pursuant to CD 566-12 - Personal Property of Offenders.
  6. All materials required for the production of hobby craft articles will be purchased by the inmate, pursuant to CD 860 - Offender's Money.
  7. For hobby craft activities: inmates in men's maximum and medium security institutions, or in men's maximum and medium security level units within a clustered institution; or inmates residing at Women Offender Institutions within a fenced perimeter are not permitted to have in their cells/rooms metal knives or knife-like tools with a cutting edge or blade designed for cutting. For these institutions and units, the use and storage of these items is limited to a supervised, designated hobby craft area.

Sale of Articles

  1. Hobby craft articles produced by inmates may be sold to CSC employees and contractors.

  2. All orders for hobby craft articles will be placed through a staff member designated by the Assistant Warden, Interventions. This staff member will maintain detailed records of all transactions.
  3. Each institution will ensure that in its pricing procedures, prices of the hobby craft articles are consistent with similar products available in the community.
  4. The price of hobby craft articles will be established in writing prior to the articles being offered for sale, pursuant to Calculation of Net Profit for Hobbies (CSC/SCC 1190) form. Prices will not be negotiated between the purchaser and the inmate.
  5. Staff who purchase articles will sign a declaration indicating that the articles are for personal or gift giving purposes and not for the purpose of resale.
  6. Proceeds from the sale of hobby craft articles will be credited to the inmate's account in accordance with CD 860 - Offender's Money.

Donation of Articles

  1. Hobby craft articles may be donated by the inmate who made the articles to:
    1. a family member or individuals with a close personal relationship
    2. an individual on his/her approved visiting list
    3. a charitable organization
    4. an Elder and/or special community visitors.
  2. In all cases, it must be clearly established that the articles to be donated are clearly the property of the inmate.
  3. Individuals or organizations who receive donated hobby craft articles will sign a declaration indicating that the articles are for personal or gift giving purposes and not for the purpose of resale.


Original signed by:

Don Head





Close personal relationship (includes extended family for Indigenous offenders): exists between two individuals and is normally characterized by one or more of the following situations:

  1. both individuals shared a close family bond
  2. one of the individuals contributed significantly to the moral or spiritual development of the other
  3. both individuals were engaged in a long-term living arrangement or partnership
  4. both individuals shared significant life experiences that resulted in an enduring bond of friendship and trust
  5. for Indigenous offenders, extended family members may include family relations that exist by birth, as well as significant others who are not related by birth, but are given the title of grandparent, parent, brother, sister, aunt, uncle or other relative.

Correctional Intervention Board: a multidisciplinary team that approves interventions and contributes to recommendations or decisions for complex cases. The Interdisciplinary Mental Health Team is considered a component of the Correctional Intervention Board.

Leisure activities: structured and unstructured activities that encourage inmates to develop and maintain a healthy, pro-social lifestyle and to use their time constructively.

Social program: a structured intervention that contributes to the safe reintegration of offenders. Social programs provide offenders with the skills, knowledge and experiences necessary for personal and social development and assist in their successful transition into the community.

Special events: refers to any pre-approved activity within the institution, which involves inmates as well as visitors, volunteers and/or outside agencies.

For more information

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