Commissioner's Directives 009

Commissioner's Directives

Number: 009

In Effect: 2017-11-20

Related links:

Policy Bulletin 579



To ensure that all CSC-related research meets legal, ethical, methodological and scientific standards


Applies to all researchers, including CSC staff, students, volunteers and contractors



  1. The Executive Committee (EXCOM) of the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) is responsible for approving the Annual Research Plan.
  2. The EXCOM Sub-Committee for External Research will review and approve external research proposals based on recommendations provided by the National Headquarters (NHQ) External Research Review Committee and assess the anticipated benefits and relevance of the proposed research for CSC.
  3. The NHQ External Research Review Committee will:
    1. review and assess research proposals and make recommendations to the EXCOM Sub-Committee for External Research
    2. consult with relevant NHQ sectors and regions implicated in proposed research as well as other departments and agencies that may be involved.
  4. The Director, Research, will:
    1. coordinate the development and implementation of the Annual Research Plan and ensure its integrity
    2. establish a process to review research proposals (see Annex B), as required
    3. coordinate the dissemination of research results.
  5. The regional research representatives will:
    1. review research proposals implicating their region
    2. share information and consult with implicated parties within the region, including the institutions, community residential facilities, and parole offices
    3. assess the feasibility of projects and give consideration to operational impacts and resource requirements.
  6. The sites implicated will facilitate the researchers’ access to CSC facilities and provide support as outlined in the approved research proposal.


Employee Opinion Survey

  1. Employee opinion surveys may be considered public opinion research and are subject to the Policy on Communications and Federal Identity.

Compensation for Participation

  1. Inmates participating in research projects will not be compensated. Where participation requires an absence from a program assignment, those hours will be calculated as worked hours.
  2. The NHQ External Research Review Committee will review and approve the provision of reasonable compensation for CSC employees and/or offenders under supervision participating in research project in the community.

Medical Research and Experimental Treatment

  1. Health-related research for external publication or dissemination is subject to the review and approval process outlined in this policy document.
  2. There will be no experimental treatment unless it meets the necessary requirements of subsection 88(4) of the CCRA and section 115 of the CCRR, that provide for a review by a Treatment Demonstration Program Committee that is independent of CSC.
  3. In accordance with section 115 of the CCRR, the Treatment Demonstration Program Committee shall be comprised of equal numbers from the community of lay persons and registered health care professionals with expertise related to the treatment demonstration program.
  4. An offender may volunteer to participate in a medical research study or a treatment demonstration program, for which an ethics review has taken place, only if they:
    1. have been diagnosed as having a condition which the study addresses
    2. understand the objective of the study and the anticipated benefits and risks in comparison with the current best treatment or no treatment, as outlined by health care professionals who are registered or licensed in Canada
    3. understand and accept the methods to be used, including the use of controls, placebos, and randomization
    4. have signed a consent form which clearly describes the objective of the study, the offender’s understanding of their involvement and the implications of their consent. The requirements for this consent are in subsections 88(1), (2) and (3) of the CCRA and GL 800-3 – Consent to Health Service Assessment, Treatment and Release of Information.
  5. The offender's involvement in a medical study or treatment demonstration program will be discontinued if requested by the researcher or the offender.

Informed Consent

  1. Where the research involves participants directly, each participant must give their informed and written consent prior to their involvement. The consent form will outline the objective of the study, the limits of confidentiality and any implications of participating in the research. It is the responsibility of the researchers to obtain this consent.
  2. Informed consent for any type of research that involves treatment, including medical interventions, is defined in subsection 88(2) of the CCRA.

Submission of Research Proposals

  1. Researchers must complete the Research Application and Undertaking form (CSC/SCC 0954e) and supporting documents, where required, and submit them to NHQ Research Branch for review and approval.
  2. Researchers affiliated with a university (including students and university staff) must obtain approval for proposed research projects from their respective university ethics committees prior to submitting a proposal to NHQ Research Branch. This review must be completed in compliance with the Tri-Council Policy Statement on Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans.

Approval of Research Proposals

  1. Research proposals will be assessed according to the following criteria:
    1. conformity with the principles of the CCRA and the Privacy Act
    2. contribution to the achievement of the Mission and the priorities of CSC
    3. compliance with the Tri-Council Policy Statement on Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans, including respect of the framework on ethical conduct of Research Involving the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples of Canada
    4. level of disruption to operational units, including operational resources required during data collection
    5. quality of the methodology
    6. qualifications of researchers
    7. anticipated benefit to CSC
    8. level of risk, including but not limited to consideration of security threat risks, risks to the research team, offender and their family, staff, institution, victims etc.
  2. Approval to conduct research is effective the date the study is approved by CSC and will remain valid for a two year period following this date. Following this two year period, the researcher must request an extension or submit a new proposal.
  3. Approval to conduct research may be temporarily suspended for operational reasons or may be withdrawn at any time for violations of standing orders, violations of rules and regulations related to security, and/or for unapproved deviations from the original proposal.
  4. Data collected during a research study may only be used for the purposes outlined in the proposal; all subsequent or additional research questions must be submitted through the research proposal review and approval process.

Personal Information

  1. Researchers must obtain appropriate security clearance, in accordance with CD 564-1 – Individual Security Screening prior to receiving access to protected or personal identifying information.
  2. Personal identifying information shall only be given to researchers if one of the two following conditions is met:
    1. consent for disclosure from each participant is obtained
    2. the Commissioner determines that the information can be disclosed based upon the provisions of paragraph 8(2)(j) of the Privacy Act.
  3. The Privacy Act provides the Research Branch the authority to access personal information and use administrative data without obtaining consent when it is to be used “for the purpose for which the information was obtained or compiled or for a use consistent with that purpose” (paragraph 7(a)), or “for research or statistical purposes if the head of government” is satisfied that subparagraphs 8(2)(j)(i) and/or (ii) are met.
  4. There will be no subsequent disclosure of personal identifying information unless the participants have provided their consent or the information has been depersonalized in accordance with the undertaking given by the researcher under paragraph 8(2)(j) of the Privacy Act.
  5. In the exceptional circumstance where the use of personal identifiers was unavoidable, the research will be reviewed and vetted by the NHQ Access to Information and Privacy Division

Publication and Copyright

  1. As per the Copyright Act, Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, as represented by the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, is the owner of all intellectual property rights to the work prepared by CSC employees. This applies to all research conducted by employees as part of their official role and responsibilities.
  2. In the case of research conducted without direction or control from CSC, the primary researcher owns the intellectual property rights to any thesis, journal articles, conference papers, or other written reports incorporating the results of a study approved by CSC. Any and all rights to materials and data used and provided by the primary researcher are the property of the primary researcher. Any and all rights to materials and data provided by CSC to the primary researcher are the property of CSC and will be returned to CSC at the end of the study.
  3. In the case of research conducted under contract or otherwise sponsored by CSC (Memoranda of Understanding, Memoranda of Agreements, sole source contracts, etc.), the written undertaking must identify ownership of intellectual property and specify that all data is to be returned to CSC.
  4. Copies of all reports resulting from approved research conducted by contractors, external researchers, or CSC employees shall be forwarded to the NHQ Research Branch for information purposes. Sufficient time (at least six weeks) must be given for their review in advance of any release, publication, presentation or other research dissemination.
  5. Any research conducted by CSC employees and/or the use of an employee’s CSC affiliation in reporting independent research, including projects approved by the EXCOM Sub-Committee for External Research, must be submitted to the appropriate sector/regional heads for information purposes prior to external distribution. This includes but is not limited to publication in academic journals, conference presentations, book chapters, etc.
  6. In the case of research conducted under contract or otherwise sponsored by the CSC Research Branch, sharing of research findings will be managed by the Director, Research.
  7. Researchers will make appropriate acknowledgement in all reports of CSC’s sponsorship of the research, as well as an appropriate disclaimer that the opinions and conclusions do not necessarily represent those of the Service and/or Public Safety Canada.



Original signed by:

Don Head

Annex A

CD 564-1 – Individual Security Screening
GL 800-3 – Consent to Health Service Assessment, Treatment and Release of Information

Tri-Council Policy Statement on Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans
Communications Policy of the Government of Canada


EXCOM Sub-Committee for External Research: a committee comprised of the Senior Deputy Commissioner, the Assistant Commissioner, Policy, and the Director, Research Branch.

NHQ External Research Review Committee: a committee comprised of the Director, Research Branch, Senior Research Managers, and representatives from the Correctional Operations and Programs Sector, Health Services, Women Offender Sector, and the Indigenous Initiatives Directorate.

Research: the systematic collection and use of data or the controlled investigation into a subject to provide an organized body of knowledge. The collection and/or analysis of CSC data that is required for administrative, operational or organizational purposes is not considered research. The objective of a research activity is to contribute to generalizable knowledge in the area of focus with the intent to share, distribute and/or disseminate findings when appropriate.  

Special Access Program: a program managed by Health Canada that has the mandate of making drugs that are not approved for use in Canada available on application by a practitioner. These drugs are used to treat patients with a serious or life-threatening illness when conventional therapies have failed or are unsuitable and may include pharmaceuticals, biological and radiopharmaceutical products.

Treatment Demonstration Program: a clinical trial or pharmaceutical treatment that is not approved for general use in Canada. Such a program is characterized by the use of a scientifically designed experiment in which control groups, randomization and placebos may be present. It may also include drugs obtained under the Special Access Program of Health Canada.

Annex B

Research Governance

The figure in Appendix B shows the two streams of research and their respective approval process. The first is External Research Submissions, these follow the review and approval process outlined in the directive. They are submitted directly to the Research Branch, the Branch consults with implicated regions and sectors, it is first reviewed by the NHQ External Research Review Committee based on 8 assessment criteria, if supported, it is then reviewed by the EXCOM Sub-Committee on External Research. If approved at this level, the region and researcher are notified of the decision and the research may proceed. The second stream of research reflects research conducted internally by the Research Branch as outlined in the annual Research Plan. The development of the Plan is coordinated by the Director Research and is reviewed and approved by all members of the Executive Committee (EXCOM). The Director Research is responsible for implementing planned and ad hoc projects, including consulting with implicated sectors and regions, and reporting on results. The Assistant Commissioner Policy reviews and approves all research publications for release.

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