Commissioner's Directive 712-4
Release Process

Commissioner's Directive



To provide direction on the release process


Applies to staff involved in the release of offenders



  1. The Institutional Head/District Director will ensure that procedures:
    1. are in place to facilitate releases and continuity of services to offenders upon release
    2. are in place to assist the offenders in:
      1. obtaining relevant documentation/identification such as health care coverage, social insurance number, birth certificate, Indian status card, Métis card and citizenship/ permanent resident card, as well as a supply of any necessary medication as per the CSC National Formulary
      2. applying for Old Age Security benefits, if applicable
    3. for High Profile Offenders are followed in accordance with CD 701 - Information Sharing
    4. for offenders with victim notification requirements are followed in accordance with CD 784 - Victim Engagement
    5. are in place to distribute warrant expiry packages.
  2. The Chief, Sentence Management, and/or the Sentence Management Officer will carry out release procedures in accordance with CD 703 - Sentence Management.
  3. The Chief, Health Services, will ensure the requirements for discharge planning are coordinated with the Case Management Team.
  4. The Admission and Discharge Officer will confirm the identity of the offender prior to processing the release.
  5. The Parole Officer will:
    1. confirm with the offender:
      1. current pieces of identification
      2. requirements to replace expired pieces of identification upon release
    2. liaise with the community Parole Officer to ensure the offender is provided with continuity of service, including replacing expired pieces of identification as soon as possible after release
    3. document, in a Casework Record entitled “Personal Documents - Pre-Rel”, the actions taken to assist the offender in replacing expired pieces of identification prior to release (or the offender’s refusal to replace them)
    4. liaise with the Indigenous Liaison Officer and/or the Indigenous Community Development Officer and/or the Indigenous Community Liaison Officer to ensure a smooth transition to an Indigenous community if the release plans include community involvement pursuant to section 84 or 84.1 of the CCRA
    5. ensure the offender receives pertinent release/discharge documents
    6. explain to the offender their release conditions, including special instructions, the rationale for them, and the consequences of non-compliance, as well as their responsibility to meet court-ordered obligations
    7. for those offenders with a victim notification flag, notify the Victim Services Unit pursuant to CD 784 - Victim Engagement.


Pre-Release Process

  1. The Parole Officer will obtain the most recent sentence calculation from Sentence Management to confirm the release date.
  2. The Chief, Sentence Management, or the Sentence Management Officer will check for outstanding arrest warrants prior to release and advise the Parole Officer if any exist.
  3. If an offender cannot be released on the date specified, or if outstanding arrest warrants have been identified, the Parole Officer will notify the Parole Board of Canada by completing an Assessment for Decision or an addendum to the Assessment for Decision in accordance with CD 712-1 - Pre-Release Decision-Making.
  4. When the day or full parole eligibility date occurs on a weekend or statutory holiday, the Parole Officer may submit a request for an unescorted temporary absence prior to the release date and notify the assigned Sentence Management Officer of the request and decision:
    1. if a release on the specified date would create undue hardship
    2. to accommodate community-based residential facility admission requirements
    3. to facilitate transportation.
  5. When the release involves an offender with mental health or medical concerns and ongoing health care needs, the Chief, Health Services, and/or mental health professional will participate in the release process as outlined in the Discharge Planning and Transfer Guidelines and/or Integrated Mental Health Guidelines.
  6. When there is significant change, the institutional Parole Officer will initiate a pre-release consultation with the community Parole Officer. This consultation will be documented in a Casework Record by the institutional Parole Officer.
  7. When the release involves an offender following a healing path, the pre-release consultation will also include the Indigenous Liaison Officer and/or the Indigenous Community Liaison Officer, as appropriate.
  8. When possible and appropriate, the pre-release consultation will include the offender to discuss immediate needs and supervision expectations. In this instance, the community Parole Officer will document the results of this discussion in a Casework Record.
  9. If the offender was not present during the pre-release consultation, release expectations will be shared with the offender by the institutional Parole Officer.
  10. The Parole Officer will ensure necessary referrals are completed to address special needs and to facilitate the offender's transition.
  11. The Parole Officer will review the need for accompaniment pursuant to CD 712-1 - Pre-Release Decision-Making.
  12. If an offender refuses to be accompanied, CSC cannot force the accompaniment, as the refusal does not necessarily mean that the offender will not arrive at their destination.
  13. If the Institutional Head determines that the offender will likely have difficulty reaching their release destination, they may grant an escorted temporary absence leading up to the statutory release date in lieu of an early discretionary release, and assign either a security or non-security escort.
  14. Prior to the release, the following will be completed:
    1. distribution of the release certificate
    2. identification of health care needs and coverage
    3. update of Standard Profile information
    4. update of inmate’s photograph, if necessary.
  15. Normally, prior to the release of an offender and where documents require translation, the releasing institution will ensure translation of the Criminal Profile Report, the Correctional Plan, the most recent Correctional Plan Update and Assessment for Decision, a current psychological/psychiatric report and any information impacting potential interventions.

Certificates of Release

  1. The Institutional Head will ensure a process is in place to notify the destination police agency prior to the commencement of release. Normally, the notification will be completed electronically through the Offender Management System (OMS).
  2. In exceptional circumstances, prior to an offender’s release, the institutional Parole Officer may notify the destination police agency by telephone and/or electronically.
  3. The offender will sign the certificate indicating the terms, conditions and instructions of release have been explained. In cases where the offender refuses to sign the certificate, the terms, conditions and instructions still apply.
  4. For offenders who upon release require continued custody (immigration hold, remand), specific information regarding reporting requirement is required on the release certificate.

Day of Release

  1. The offender will be provided with:
    1. a copy of the release certificate
    2. an updated CSC identification card and other existing pieces of identification
    3. trust account money
    4. a supply of medication as required, in accordance with the CSC National Formulary
    5. personal effects.
  2. The release protocol, confirming the identity of the offender, will be followed, pursuant to CD 566 3 - Inmate Movement.
  3. When the offender has outstanding charges or a removal order and no bail was granted, they will be delivered into the custody of the appropriate agency.
  4. The releasing institution will advise the supervising parole office if the planned travel and arrival arrangements have changed.
  5. In cases where the offender is being accompanied, the Assistant Warden, Operations, will ensure the person accompanying the offender is fully aware of the conditions of release, the destination of the offender, the time they are expected to arrive at the destination and what to do in the event that any difficulties are encountered.

Warrant Expiry Releases

  1. More than four months prior to release at warrant expiry, the Parole Officer will assess whether an offender poses a threat using the factors relevant for detention reviews (see CD 712-2 - Detention). This assessment will also address benefits of an early discretionary release prior to the warrant expiry date (see CD 712-1 - Pre-Release Decision-Making).
  2. If the Parole Officer has assessed that the offender (including offenders subject to a long-term supervision order [LTSO]) does pose a threat, a warrant expiry package will be prepared.
  3. The warrant expiry package will contain a summary of past offences, information relevant to the perceived threat, as well as documents identified in the Notification of Provision of Information to Police Prior to Warrant Expiry Date (CSC/SCC 1225). The information will be documented in OMS via a Memo to File.
  4. The Parole Officer will ensure the offender has reviewed the proposed warrant expiry package and has been given the opportunity to provide comment within two working days, using the Notification of Provision of Information to Police Prior to Warrant Expiry Date (CSC/SCC 1225).
  5. The Parole Officer will submit the warrant expiry package, offender comments and any recommendation regarding early discretionary release to the Institutional Head for final approval/decision.
  6. The approved warrant expiry package will be forwarded to the relevant area parole office normally four months prior to warrant expiry date. In cases where the release destination is unknown, a copy of the package will be forwarded to the office where the most recent conviction took place and any other location where the offender may be likely to relocate.
  7. The Area Director will share the warrant expiry package with police no later than 90 days prior to warrant expiry date and provide advice regarding risk management strategies.
  8. The releasing institution will issue an electronic notification at both the releasing and receiving jurisdictions, using the National Flagging System Coordinator in that province/territory. This notification will include the locations where the warrant expiry package was sent.
  9. The Parole Officer will discuss with the offender the possible impacts of negative public reaction, assist in developing strategies and provide information regarding community resources, as appropriate.

Destination upon Release/Discharge

  1. The offender will be provided with transportation to the release destination, an issue of civilian clothing and other necessities (see Annex B).
  2. Release destination is defined as:
    1. the place of conviction, if in Canada
    2. any other destination no further in distance than the place in “a.”, if the offender chooses, or
    3. any place in Canada, with the approval of the Institutional Head.

High Profile Offenders

  1. If it is determined that the proposed release is likely to generate significant public interest, the procedures regarding High Profile Offenders will be followed pursuant to CD 701 - Information Sharing.



Original signed by:

Anne Kelly

Annex A
Cross-References and Definitions


CD 001 - Mission, Values and Ethics Framework of the Correctional Service of Canada
CD 566-3 - Inmate Movement
CD 701 - Information Sharing
CD 703 - Sentence Management
CD 712 - Case Preparation and Pre-Release Framework
CD 712-1 - Pre-Release Decision-Making
GL 712-1-1 - CCRA Sections 84 and 84.1 Release Planning Process
CD 712-2 - Detention
CD 715 - Community Supervision Framework
CD 784 - Victim Engagement

CSC National Formulary
Discharge Planning and Transfer Guidelines
Integrated Mental Health Guidelines
National Essential Health Services Framework
Specific Guidelines for the Treatment of Opiate Dependence


Case Management Team: the individuals involved in managing an offender’s case, which include at a minimum the Parole Officer and the offender, and in institutions, the Correctional Officer II/Primary Worker.

Long-term supervision order: an order imposed by the court as a sentencing option to an offender designated as a Dangerous Offender pursuant to section 753 of the Criminal Code or as a Long-Term Offender pursuant to section 753.1 of the Criminal Code. The offender who has received such an order is supervised in accordance with the CCRA. The long-term supervision order commences when the offender has finished serving all sentences for offences for which they had been convicted. The period of supervision to which the offender is subject at any time must not total more than 10 years.

Annex B
Allowances Upon Release


  1. Transportation for released offenders, including their authorized personal effects, from the institution to the final destination should be prearranged (to the degree possible) with the principal carrier (plane, bus or train). Whenever possible, arrangements should be made to avoid the need for overnight accommodation.
  2. The use of private transportation will normally be considered, except when the Institutional Head has reservations about the person providing the transportation, the mode of transportation and/or the proposed plan.
  3. Reimbursement for private transportation may be provided at the request of the offender. The maximum amount will not normally exceed the cost of the most economical means of available public transportation.


  1. When overnight accommodation is required, payment should either be prearranged or the offender should be given funds equivalent to the lowest listed government rate for the city where the stop-over is to occur.


  1. Meal allowances will be provided in accordance with Treasury Board policies.


  1. No allowances related to the release, other than those listed above, will normally be provided.
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