Interim Policy Bulletin 584
Bill C-16 (Gender Identity or Expression)

Interim Policy Bulletin

Policy number and titles:

CD 352 – Inmate Clothing Entitlements
CD 550 – Inmate Accommodation (and User Guide)
CD 566-7 – Searching of Offenders
CD 566-10 – Urinalysis Testing
CD 566-12 – Personal Property Of Offenders
CD 567-1 – Use of Force
CD 577 – Staff Protocol in Women Offender Institutions
CD 702 – Aboriginal Offenders
CD 705-1 – Preliminary Assessments and Post-Sentence Community Assessments
CD 705-3 – Immediate Needs Identification and Admission Interviews
CD 705-7 – Security Classification and Penitentiary Placement
CD 710-2 – Transfer of Inmates
CD 800 – Health Services
GL 800-5 – Gender Dysphoria
CD 843 – Interventions to Preserve Life and Prevent Serious Bodily Harm

Why were the policies changed?

The above policies are currently under review in light of the coming into force on June 19, 2017, of Bill C-16, which, among other things, amends the Canadian Human Rights Act by adding “gender identity or expression” as prohibited grounds of discrimination.

Pending promulgation of policy amendments, the following principles and changes to operational practice are effective immediately, and override any direction found in Commissioner’s Directives or Guidelines.

Principles and Changes to Operational Practice

The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) is committed to ensuring a safe, inclusive and respectful environment for everyone, including staff, offenders, contractors, volunteers and visitors.

CSC has a duty to accommodate based on gender identity or expression, regardless of the person’s anatomy (i.e. sex) or the gender marker on identification documents. This includes placing offenders according to their gender identity in a men’s or women’s institution, Community Correctional Centre or Community-Based Residential Facility, if that is their preference, unless there are overriding health or safety concerns which cannot be resolved. Offenders may also choose whether strip and frisk searches and urinalysis testing are conducted by a male or a female staff member. As well, CSC staff must use offenders’ preferred name and pronoun in oral interaction and written documentation. (Note: OMS name information will not change unless the name is changed in accordance with CD 703 – Sentence Management. OMS sex code will not change unless the offender changes their sex, i.e. their anatomy.)

Steps must be taken to maximize the privacy and confidentiality of any information related to an offender’s gender identity. Information about an offender’s gender identity will only be shared with those directly involved with the offender’s care, and only when relevant. Any conversations or consultations amongst staff or with the offender, including discussions regarding cell sharing and intake interviews, must occur privately, out of hearing range of anyone else that does not need to know.

Offender requests related to gender identity or expression will be accommodated except where, or to the extent that, following discussions, including with the offender, it has been established and documented by the Service that there would be overriding health or safety concerns which cannot be resolved. Guidance should be sought from your supervisor and questions may be addressed to GEN NHQ Gender-IDE-genre.


When an offender seeks to be accommodated on the basis of gender identity or expression, an individualized protocol will be developed. This will include,  as applicable:

The protocol will be developed in consultation with the offender and documented in a Memo to File in OMS. The Memo to File will also include the offender’s preferred name and pronoun. The protocol will be carried out with respect for human dignity and in accordance with CSC Values and the Standards of Professional Conduct.

The Double-Bunking Cell Placement Assessment User Guide vulnerability risk assessment criteria now include the requirement to consider the needs of inmates with gender identity or expression considerations.

Inmates will be permitted to purchase effects from the catalogue for men and/or for women. The only restrictions are for safety, health or security reasons, as determined by the institution’s type (men’s or women’s) and security level (refer to CD 566-12 – Personal Property of Offenders, Annexes B and C). Consultation with a Psychologist or Physician is no longer required in order to grant this permission.

At the discretion of the Institutional Head on a case by case basis, inmates transferred from one institution type (men’s or women’s) to another may be authorized, within a 30-day window, to retain personal property items received from outside sources as it would be applicable to an admission or readmission (refer to CD 566-12 – Personal Property of Offenders).

Guidelines (GL) 800-5 – Gender Dysphoria are revoked. Criteria related to sex reassignment surgery in the case of gender dysphoria continue to apply and will be reflected in CD 800 – Health Services.

The revocation of GL 800-5 means that policy exemption approval from the Assistant Commissioner, Health Services, is no longer required in the case of placements or transfers. Transfers, whether intra-regional or inter-regional, will be per current policy, and will require close consultation between the sending and the receiving institutions as well as with the offender. If the decision of a transfer or a placement to a different institution type (men’s or women’s) does not correspond to the offender’s preference, the offender will be advised of the rationale in writing.

The Assistant Commissioner, Human Resource Management, will ensure that training in the area of gender identity or expression continues to be made available to all staff and is kept current.

As new or updated policy documents, communication products and offender programs are implemented, they will reflect gender-inclusive language rather than binary language (“binary” means either man or woman).

How was this interim policy developed?

This Interim Policy Bulletin was developed by Strategic Policy in consultation with various sectors within National Headquarters, and following input from internal and external stakeholders on the policies under review.

Who will be affected by this policy?

All staff and offenders are affected by the policy changes.



Original signed by:

Don Head

Date modified: