International Transfer Of Offenders

As a sovereign country, and member of the International Community, Canada has long cooperated in judicial and correctional matters. Correctional Service Canada is responsible for the implementation of the International Transfers of Offenders Act, related treaties, and the International Transfers of Offenders Program which includes the processing of applications for transfer, the actual transfer of the offenders, and their subsequent incarceration in Canada.

The International Transfer of Offenders program is consistent with the Mandate of Correctional Service Canada and its Mission which supports implementation of international treaties and agreements to ensure the rights of Canadian and foreign offenders. The program contributes to public safety by actively encouraging and assisting offenders to become law abiding citizens, while exercising reasonable, safe, secure and humane control. It ensures that offenders are gradually returned to society and that they have the opportunity to participate in programming that targets the factors that may have led to their offence.

Transfer of Offenders Treaties, enable offenders, with their explicit consent and with the discretionary approval of the sentencing country and of the country of citizenship, to serve their foreign imposed sentence in their country of citizenship. Once transferred, the offender's sentence is administered in accordance with the laws of the receiving country.

Canada has been a party to Transfer of Offenders Treaties since 1978. Canadians incarcerated in foreign countries often find themselves facing serious problems coping with local conditions. The most common problems involve culture shock, isolation, language barriers, poor diets, inadequate medical care, disease and inability to contact friends and family. While Canadian Consular personnel (Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade) provide all assistance possible, their ability to help is often limited. Their role generally consists of ensuring that offenders' rights under local laws are protected, that they are not discriminated against on the basis of citizenship and in acting as contact between the offenders and their family. In extreme cases, they can provide dietary supplements and emergency medical assistance. In some prison systems, the offender's family is expected to provide food and financial assistance.

The purpose of these agreements is humanitarian to enable offenders to serve their sentence in their country of citizenship, to alleviate undue hardships borne by offenders and their families and facilitate their eventual reintegration into society.