- Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA), sections 2(1), 3, 3.1, 4, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 133(7), 134.1(5), 141 and 142
- Corrections and Conditional Release Regulations (CCRR), sections 5, 11, 12, 19, 25, 88, 94 and 166
- Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, section 7
- Privacy Act, sections 3, 6, 7 and 8(2)
- Access to Information Act
- Canadian Victims Bill of Rights
- To ensure information is received and shared with the appropriate individuals and/or groups pursuant to legal requirements and protocols
Applies to staff involved in the sharing of offender information
RESPONSIBILITIES AND PROCEDURES
- The Regional Deputy Commissioner will enter into protocols related to the disclosure of information, where necessary.
- The Regional Deputy Commissioner will inform Legal Services and the Assistant Commissioner, Correctional Operations and Programs, prior to finalizing any protocols.
- The Institutional Head/District Director:
- may withhold information from offenders pursuant to subsection 27(3) of the CCRA
- will ensure that a designated person is available to help offenders with formal access to information and privacy requests as outlined in the Access to Information and Privacy: Process and Compliance Manual
- will ensure that assistance is provided to offenders who require help to understand a report or a decision pursuant to section 88 of the CCRR
- will ensure interpretation services are provided to offenders who do not speak either of the official languages, pursuant to subsection 27(4) of the CCRA, for any hearing or for the purposes of understanding materials provided to the offender
- will ensure processes outlined in the “High Profile Offenders” section of this Directive are respected
- will ensure processes outlined in CD 784 – Victim Engagement are respected.
- The Security Intelligence Officer:
- is responsible for maintaining and safeguarding Preventive Security files as well as restricting unauthorized access to these files pursuant to Treasury Board's Policy on Government Security
- will disclose preventive security information to staff on a need to know basis
- will prepare a gist of protected intelligence information as required
- will vet “Protected C” documents prior to transmission to the Parole Board of Canada (PBC), if required.
- The Manager, Assessment and Interventions/Parole Officer Supervisor/Community Correctional Centre (CCC) Manager will ensure that information sharing is compliant with legislation and policy and that the Information Sharing Checklist Update (CSC/SCC 1197), Procedural Safeguard Declaration (CSC/SCC 1198), and Primary Information Sharing Checklist (CSC/SCC 1199) are completed when required.
- The Parole Officer will:
- verify the accuracy of case management information and consult with his/her supervisor as necessary
- vet any references to other offenders or private citizens in protected documents
- ensure disclosed information is in compliance with the Accessto Information Act, the PrivacyAct, sections 23 to 27, 133(7) and 134.1(5) of the CCRA and CD 784 – Victim Engagement
- prepare a gist, as outlined in Annex C, as required
- forward written requests from offenders for file information to the appropriate staff member
- ensure that any documents used in the decision making process are shared with the offender and submitted to the PBC at least 28 days before the scheduled date of the hearing. The Primary Information Sharing Checklist (CSC/SCC 1199) or Information Sharing Checklist Update (CSC/SCC 1197), and the Procedural Safeguard Declaration (CSC/SCC 1198) must be included
- for statutory release cases referred for detention, make every effort to provide the information to the offender no later than 60 days prior to the statutory release date. In cases where there is new information that results in a Commissioner’s referral for detention, the information will be shared as soon as possible
- ensure copies of Protected Information Reports or Security Intelligence Reports used in the preparation of a gist are provided to the PBC.
- Where new information is received within 15 days before a PBC hearing, the Parole Officer will provide the information or a summary thereof to the offender and the PBC as soon as practicable with an Information Sharing Checklist Update (CSC/SCC 1197) and a Procedural Safeguard Declaration (CSC/SCC 1198). In all other cases, if new information is received after the Assessment for Decision and information sharing have been completed and forwarded to the PBC, it will be submitted to the PBC and shared with the offender as soon as possible.
- All staff involved with information sharing pursuant to the CCRA will be aware that:
- they have a legal obligation to protect individuals who would be harmed by the inappropriate disclosure of information
- the confidentiality of an offender's personal health information will be maintained, except where disclosure is permitted pursuant to the CCRA, the Privacy Act, or when the information is relevant to offender risk or to the risk of others
- personal health information is protected and may be shared with other CSC staff without consent, only after the need to know is established and it has been determined to be consistent with the stated purposes for which the personal information was collected. The information that is shared, however, must be limited to only that which is relevant for the staff member to perform his/her specific duties
- where disclosure is necessary pursuant to the CCRA, the rules in the Privacy Act that would normally restrict disclosure of personal information do not apply
- any personal information that is disclosed beyond what is permitted by the CCRA, the Privacy Act or other legal means could be considered a contravention of the Privacy Act
- before sharing any information, even where this is permitted by the CCRA, they must carefully consider whether it must be shared in order to meet the requirements of the CCRA. Only relevant personal information sufficient to meet the requirements of the CCRA needs to be disclosed.
- When warranted, a staff member responsible for the file can make changes or corrections to a document created by CSC, as outlined in Annex B.
- The staff member must ensure that reliable documents or other sources exist which support or contradict the information on file and/or the requested change to the information.
- The staff member will inform the original author and supervisor that the report is being amended, where possible.
Provision of Information to CSC
- When CSC is requesting offender information from an external source (e.g. police, offender's family, victims), the request will include the following statement:
“The Correctional Service of Canada has a responsibility under subsections 27(1) and (2) of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act to share the information with the offender, unless it meets one of the exceptions set out in subsection 27(3) of the Act, i.e., where there are reasonable grounds to believe that disclosure to the offender would jeopardizeFurther, even if one, or more, of the above is met, it may be necessary to provide at least a “gist” of that information to the offender as outlined in Annex C.
(1) the safety of any person
(2) the security of a penitentiary, or
(3) the conduct of any lawful investigation.”
- Where an offender discloses that relevant, official information exists that is not available through the courts (e.g. mental health reports from a provincial mental health facility), staff will ask them to consent to the release of the information to CSC by signing the Consent for Disclosure of Personal Information (Inmate) (CSC/SCC 0487). Where the offender refuses to consent, CSC staff will explore all possible legal options to obtain the information and complete a Casework Record.
- The limitations on the confidentiality of information will be explained to those sources providing information about an offender. While CSC cannot guarantee confidentiality, CSC will make every effort to maintain it. However, this may not be possible if the information is to be used for decision- making purposes.
- Where the Institutional Head/District Director has determined that there are sufficient grounds, pursuant to subsection 27(3) of the CCRA, for not sharing all of the information with the offender, a gist will be prepared and shared with him/her as outlined in Annex C. Both the gist and the documents which formed the basis of the gist will be provided to the PBC.
Information Sharing with Offenders
- Information that can be shared directly should be given to the offender as soon as practicable.
- The following types of information can be disclosed to the offender:
- information provided by the offender
- publicly available information
- information about the offender in a locked report in the Offender Management System (OMS)
- opinions that CSC and other federal employees, PBC members, members of the criminal justice system, agency employees and contracted agency employees have expressed about the offender's needs, attitudes, behaviours, etc., provided that there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the safety of any person will be jeopardized.
- The offender is permitted to keep copies of the reports used in the decision-making process or alternatively, the Institutional Head/District Director will provide the offender access to them so that he/she may have reasonable opportunity to review them privately and/or with his/her assistant at least 28 days before the scheduled date of the PBC hearing.
- The Parole Officer will advise the offender that the PBC will review the report(s) before making a decision. The offender may contact his/her Parole Officer if he/she believes that there is inaccurate or incomplete information contained in the report.
- In the package of documents submitted to the PBC, CSC will clearly mark any sensitive reports as Protected A, B, or C, in accordance with the Information Security Requirements chart. CSC will also indicate that the gist has been shared with the offender. When it is determined that not even the gist can be provided, the reasons will be stated.
- Prior to any decision to disclose contents of reports for which confidentiality has been requested, the PBC is responsible for consulting the appropriate CSC authorities. In the event that no agreement can be reached, advice will be sought from Regional and National Headquarters. Although the final decision rests with the PBC, CSC’s views must be fully considered, given the context in which the sources have provided the information and the repercussions of not maintaining its confidentiality.
- The PBC is responsible for advising both the offender and CSC of information that it has received independently, through channels other than the documentation submitted by CSC.
Limitations to Information Sharing
- Pursuant to subsection 27(3) of the CCRA, information may be withheld from an offender if disclosure would jeopardize:
- the safety of any person
- the security of a penitentiary, or
- the conduct of any lawful investigation.
Jeopardizes the Safety of Individuals
- The withholding of this information must be supported by information that leads to the conclusion that disclosure could reasonably be expected to result in a direct threat to the safety of an individual (e.g. an employee, a registered victim, a PBC member, another offender, private citizen). Examples include:
- sensitive information furnished by another offender, the disclosure of which would easily identify the source, or
- information given by an offender's partner or a registered victim who specifically requests confidentiality as he/she is afraid that the offender will harm him/her if it is disclosed that he/she is the source.
Jeopardizes the Security of a Penitentiary
- The potential for injury should be clearly demonstrated with a reasonable degree of probability of occurrence. It should not be seen as vague general harm which might occur. Examples include:
- information as to the location of the institutional arms storage facilities, and information about the Perimeter Intrusion Detection System and the main computer and communications
- information describing any security system, or
- information on investigative techniques used for security intelligence purposes.
Jeopardizes the Conduct of Any Lawful Investigation
- This allows for the protection of information relating to investigative techniques or information collection methods that could have a detrimental effect on future investigative processes. Examples include:
- information as to how the investigation was conducted (e.g. use of wire taps, informants, etc.), or
- information which would reveal the existence of a current investigation. For example, general statements such as “is suspected of drug trafficking” should normally be disclosed unless the source can demonstrate that there is an ongoing investigation and that letting the individual know of its existence could be injurious to the further progress of that investigation.
When Disclosure Does Not Occur
- When relevant information is of such a highly sensitive nature that not even a gist can be provided to the offender, the following statement will be included in the decision-making report:
“The information contained in certain reports cannot be shared with you at this time since it is considered that disclosing this information to you would be injurious to a public interest which outweighs your right to receive the information.”
- If a situation arises where the fact that information exists may need to be withheld to protect the safety of persons, the security of a penitentiary or the conduct of any lawful investigation, staff must consult with both their supervisor and Legal Services, National Headquarters.
Sharing of Information Outside of CSC
- CSC may share information with officials and other external parties where this sharing is authorized by law. This disclosure must also support CSC's role in making informed and responsible decisions and ensuring the protection of society.
- No personal information will be released to anyone other than the individual it relates to, unless one of the following conditions applies:
- the information is already public
- the individual concerned consents to release of the information, or
- there exists a legal authority to disclose.
Provision of Information to Individuals Providing Support to the Offender
- Within the parameters of the law, all persons in the community who will play a significant role in offering support to the offender will be provided, on a need to know basis, with basic information regarding the offender's criminal background (nature of current and past offences) and present areas of concern. They will also be fully briefed on the offender's release plan and their role in it. This sharing of information will be documented.
Sharing of Information with Agencies or Volunteers
- Pursuant to subsection 25(1) of the CCRA, the Service shall give, at the appropriate times, to the PBC, provincial/territorial governments, provincial parole boards, police, and anyone authorized by the Service to supervise offenders, all information under its control that is relevant to release decision-making or to the supervision or surveillance of offenders.
- In order to receive this information, staff in private agencies and volunteers must be cleared or reliability screened in accordance with Treasury Board's Policy on Government Security and have a need to know.
Information Disclosed to Police Forces or Investigative Bodies
- Pursuant to section 25 of the CCRA and paragraph 8(2)(f) of the Privacy Act, personal information under CSC's control may be disclosed to police forces or investigative bodies for the purpose of administering or enforcing any law or carrying out a lawful investigation. This includes the RCMP when they are acting in such capacities. Any other request from the RCMP or any federal investigative bodies for personal offender information must be processed pursuant to paragraph 8(2)(e) of the Privacy Act. Refer to the Access to Information and Privacy: Process and Compliance Manual or to institutional, regional or national ATIP representatives for guidance on such cases.
Request from the Office of the Correctional Investigator
- Subsection 172(1) of the CCRA gives the Correctional Investigator the authority to investigate on behalf of offenders. Pursuant to section 172, the Correctional Investigator can require CSC staff to provide him/her with information that in his/her opinion relates to an investigation.
Public Requests for Information
- Consistent with public education, credibility and accountability, the following is a list of information which can be disclosed to the public by authorized members of CSC:
- the offender's name
- the fact that the offender is under federal jurisdiction
- the current offence of which the offender was convicted and the court that convicted the offender
- the date of commencement and length of the sentence that the offender is serving
- the eligibility dates applicable to the offender under the CCRA for temporary absences or conditional release
- the offender's statutory release date
- the offender's warrant expiry date.
Place of Incarceration
- The place of incarceration, including the Community-Based Residential Facility, may be disclosed in accordance with subsection 8(2) of the Privacy Act.
- The place of incarceration may also be disclosed to other individuals to whom the offender has consented the information be disclosed. This can only be done after he/she has completed the Consent for Disclosure of Personal Information (Inmate) (CSC/SCC 0487) form.
Disclosure to the Courts
- The court can issue a subpoena or warrant requiring CSC to produce documents concerning the offender, or call upon a CSC staff member to give evidence in a court proceeding.
- If subpoenaed, the staff member must immediately contact his/her supervisor and Legal Services, National Headquarters.
High Profile Offenders
- The Parole Officer will ensure the high profile offender flag has been entered in the offender's file in OMS.
- The high profile offender flag will be deactivated only in consultation with the Regional Communications Manager. The only circumstance warranting a removal of the high profile offender flag is when the flag has been activated in error.
- Following either an approved (CSC decision-making) or proposed (PBC decision-making) decision or event regarding an offender with a high profile offender flag, the Institutional Head/District Director will ensure the Parole Officer forward an email notification to the regional distribution list, including the GEN-NHQ High Profile – Cas Notoire generic email address. The email must include, at a minimum, the following:
- the offender's name
- FPS number
- the region in which the offender is located
- an indication of the approved or proposed decision or event
- the approximate date and timeframe of the event.
- Upon receipt of the notification from the Parole Officer, the Regional Communications Manager will advise if there are any additional media concerns, using the regional distribution list created for high profile offenders.
- The regions are responsible for creating and maintaining their distribution list and for ensuring that the GEN-NHQ High Profile – Cas Notoire generic email address is included in the list that provides notification to Regional Headquarters and National Headquarters.
- The Parole Officer will forward any new information to the regional distribution list created for high profile offenders, when warranted.
Original Signed by:
CROSS-REFERENCES AND DEFINITIONS
- CD 022 - Media Relations
- CD 081 - Offender Complaints and Grievances
- SOP 087 - Official Languages
- CD 704 - International Transfers
- CD 710-2 - Transfer of Inmates
- GL 710-2-3 - Inmate Transfer Processes
- CD 710-3 - Temporary Absences
- CD 710-7 - Work Releases
- CD 712-1 - Pre-Release Decision Making
- CD 712-3 - Parole Board of Canada Reviews
- CD 712-4 - Release Process
- CD 715-1 - Community Supervision
- CD 715-2 - Post-Release Decision Process
- CD 715-3 - Community Assessments
- CD 719 - Long-Term Supervision Orders
- CD 784 - Victim Engagement
- CD 800 - Health Services
- GL 800-3 - Consent to Health Service Assessment, Treatment and Release of Information
- CD 843 - Management of Inmate Self-Injurious and Suicidal Behaviour
- Official Languages Act
- CSC Guidelines for Sharing Personal Health Information
- CSC Information Security Requirements Chart
- CSC Access to Information and Privacy: Process and Compliance Manual
- Parole Board of Canada (PBC) Policy Manual
- Treasury Board Policy on Government Security
High profile offender: an offender whose offence dynamics elicited or have a potential to elicit a community reaction in the form of significant public and/or media interest.
Need to know: information that is pertinent and necessary to an individual performing his/her duties.
REQUEST FOR FILE CORRECTIONS
- The offender can make a request for corrections to his/her file information pursuant to paragraph 24(2)(a) of the CCRA.
- When an offender believes that there is an error or omission in information collected by CSC, he/she may request that the information be corrected.
- The offender must submit his/her request for file corrections in writing to the author of the report or to his/her Parole Officer. A copy of the written request will be placed on the offender's Case Management file.
- Those making administrative decisions on the basis of the information will be made aware that the offender has formally contested its accuracy.
- The review of the file and any subsequent changes to it will normally be completed within 30 days of the offender's request.
- The staff member conducting the review will assess whether the information is in fact inaccurate, erroneous or omitted, and will take the measures outlined in the “Corrections Accepted” and “Corrections Denied” sections below, as applicable.
- If the inaccuracy, error or omission is confirmed, the staff member conducting the review will correct the information that needs to be corrected in all CSC files, including the Offender Management System (OMS) records.
- The original OMS report will be unlocked. At the beginning of the report, indicate the date the information is being changed, the date of the original report, what is being changed, the reason, by whom, and the name of the supervisor who approves the changes.
- The original information in the report should not be changed. The corrected information will be inserted in capital letters directly below the original. The usual quality control process and review will apply prior to locking the report, when necessary.
- The changed OMS report will replace the original report on the appropriate hard copy files. The staff member will ensure that the original version (incorrect version) of the hard copy report is removed and destroyed.
- When relevant to decision making, a copy of the corrected report will be provided to the PBC. A request will be made for the PBC to replace the original report on their files with the amended/corrected report.
- A copy of the corrected report will be given to the offender.
- In cases where documents on the file have been numbered for an access to information and privacy request, Information Management staff will insert a note in place of the original report, indicating that the document has been deleted and replaced by the new report filed under the new report date.
- Pursuant to subsection 24(2) of the CCRA, when the offender’s request for correction has been denied in full or in part, staff will attach to the information for which a correction has been denied a notation indicating that the offender has requested a correction and the details of the request.
- The staff member will provide the details of the offender’s request, the reason(s) for the denial, and include the name of the supervisor who approved the denial in a Memo to File titled “Request for File Correction” (located in OMS). A copy of the Memo to File will be provided to the offender and he/she will be advised of his/her right to appeal pursuant to CD 081 - Offender Complaints and Grievances. Any related OMS report should be unlocked and amended to reflect the presence of, and direct the reader to, the new Memo to File. When relevant to decision making, a copy of the Memo to File will also be forwarded to the PBC.
HOW TO PREPARE A GIST FOR PROTECTED INFORMATION
Gist for Protected Information
- An offender is normally entitled to know the substance of the information which is being used in making a decision about his/her case. The substance of the information and/or significant details are shared with the offender in a “gist”. This is the “duty to act fairly”.
- A gist conveys the essence of the information to be considered by decision makers and provides sufficient detail to allow the offender to know what the information is about. It must give as much of the information as possible without disclosing information which can legitimately be withheld under the specified criteria for non-disclosure.
- Only as much information as is strictly necessary to protect the interests identified in subsection 27(3) of the CCRA may be withheld.
- A gist is only to be used in exceptional circumstances as normally all information will be shared with offenders. If information cannot be shared with the offender in a gist form, then the information should not be used in the decision making. (For exceptions, see “Withholding a Gist”.)
- Where the protected information is intelligence-related, the Security Intelligence Officer will prepare a gist in a separate document and provide it to the Parole Officer.
- In all other circumstances, the Parole Officer will normally prepare the gist.
Preparing a Gist
- The information shared must provide the offender with sufficient details to enable him/her to respond meaningfully to the assertions being made.
- The gist must provide the relevant facts, including:
- the dates and places of specific incidents
- the manner in which these became known to the authorities
- any other evidence supporting the intelligence information.
- The name of the source is not relevant information.
- The disclosure of information to an offender does not necessarily mean that he/she has a right to:
- know the identity of the source of the information, or details and circumstances which could reveal the identity of a source of information
- a copy of the actual documents, or
- all of the details of the case against him/her.
Withholding a Gist
- In order to justify withholding a gist, it will have to be demonstrated that the information meets one of the injury tests outlined in subsection 27(3) of the CCRA.
- In some cases, the information is time-sensitive and must be withheld from the offender until the injury test no longer applies. The Parole Officer, in consultation with the Security Intelligence Officer will share the gist of the information when there is no imminent risk to the source.
- In rare cases, there may be circumstances which preclude even the gist from being disclosed to the offender without compromising the security of the institution or endangering life. The reasons for the full exemption of the file will be prepared and provided to the PBC.
- Where relevant information is of such a highly sensitive nature that a gist cannot be provided to the offender, the PBC must be informed and the following statement appended to the decision-making report:
“In accordance with subsection 27(3) of the CCRA, the information contained in certain reports cannot be shared with you at this time since it is considered that disclosing this information to you would be injurious to a public interest which outweighs your right to receive the information.”
- In order to support the rationale not to disclose under subsection 27(3) of the CCRA, the following points should be noted:
- when information has already been made public, the offender will already know the names of the victims and the details of the alleged crime thereby rendering it unlikely not to be able to share information
- fear that disclosure would threaten the safety of sources or informants requires evidence of this allegation.
Preventive Security Files
- The information contained in Preventive Security files may be shared only after the Security Intelligence Officer has fully determined and considered the potential injury arising from access to the information.
- The documentation of sensitive information is recorded using either a Protected Information Report (CSC/SCC 0426) or a Security Intelligence Report (CSC/SCC 0232) which is maintained in the Preventive Security file.
- When a Protected Information Report or a portion or summary thereof is shared with the offender, a notation will be placed on the Protected Information Report indicating that a gist was shared. A copy of the gist will be included in the Preventive Security file for future reference and to facilitate any file review in the event of a formal request for access under the Privacy Act.
- When required, the Security Intelligence Officer will prepare a gist of security intelligence information and provide it to the Parole Officer.
- The Parole Officer will share the gist of his/her information with the Security Intelligence Officer for review and concurrence.
- The gist is provided to the PBC as part of the report (if applicable, it may be discussed during a hearing).
- Copies of Protected Information Reports or Security Intelligence Reports used in the preparation of a gist must be provided to the PBC.
- If an offender registers an appeal of a PBC decision, the PBC will liaise with National Headquarters to obtain documents considered necessary by the Board.
For more information
- Government-wide Forward Regulatory Plans
- The Cabinet Directive on Regulatory
- The Federal regulatory management
- The Canada–United States Regulatory Cooperation Council
To learn about upcoming or ongoing consultations on proposed federal regulations, visit the Canada Gazette and Consulting with Canadians websites.
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