Guidelines 200-1

Policy Instruments


Number: 200-1

In Effect: 2018-10-01

Related links

Policy Bulletin 616



To establish an effective policy development process for policy instruments that is based on the legal framework for the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC)


Applies to staff involved in the development of policy instruments, Regional Instructions, Standing Orders and Post Orders



  1. The Assistant Commissioner, Policy, will ensure a process is in place to initiate a review of all Commissioner’s Directives (CD), Guidelines (GL) and Internal Services Directives (ISD), no later than three years after the last comprehensive review.
  2. The Office of Primary Interest (OPI[s]) will work in collaboration with the Strategic Policy Division to carry out their responsibilities. Any deviation from the policy instrument process will be pre-approved by the OPI(s) sector head(s) and the Assistant Commissioner, Policy.
  3. The sector head will ensure to consult the Strategic Policy Division prior to any decision or commitment to address recommendations affecting any policy instruments from, but not limited to, boards of investigations, audits, evaluations or legal advices.
  4. Regional Deputy Commissioners will ensure that all Regional Instructions comply with policy instruments and that a process is in place to ensure compliance of all institutional/district Standing Orders and Post Orders.
  5. Following the promulgation of any new policy instrument, the Institutional Head/District Director will develop and/or update, as required, Standing Orders and Post Orders affected by this instrument, using national templates and ensuring their content complies with the policy instruments.
  6. The Director, Strategic Policy, will:
    1. oversee the policy development process for policy instruments as outlined in the Policy Development Toolkit
    2. manage the process to ensure that the reviews on Commissioner’s Directives, Guidelines and Internal Services Directives begin at the prescribed review date
    3. develop and maintain the Toolkit for the development of documents at all levels (national, regional and institutional/community)
    4. ensure that Commissioner’s Directives, Guidelines, Internal Services Directives, Financial Directives and Human Resources Directives are provided to the Communications and Engagement Sector for publishing on CSC’s Hub and CSC’s Web site.
  7. The Strategic Policy Manager will:
    1. provide guidance to the OPI(s) on all facets of the policy development process (e.g. drafting, consultation, revision, translation, approval, development of Policy Bulletins, revocation and promulgation)
    2. as the custodian of CSC policies, ensure consistency of direction among policy instruments
    3. notify the OPI(s) of upcoming legislative or regulatory changes that may impact policies
    4. assist with the coordination of discussions with multiple OPIs that may have a vested interest in a particular policy
    5. ensure policy instruments are in line with legal obligations and take into account input from formal internal/external consultation
    6. collaborate with the OPI(s) to uphold the clarity and quality of the writing by providing editorial advice and standard of formatting and writing style across the document
    7. ensure policy objectives are measurable and reportable.

Translation and Editing

  1. The Translation and Editing Services Unit will translate and/or produce a controlled version at the request of the Strategic Policy Division to ensure concordance of both official languages as well as to ensure CSC-approved terminology has been used.


  1. The review process will begin no later than at the beginning of the third year after the date of the last review of the policy instrument.
  2. A new review date will be generated by the Strategic Policy Division only in the following circumstances:
    1. a review of the national policy instruments by the OPI(s) and the Strategic Policy Division includes a formal internal/external consultation covering the entire document, or
    2. a review of the policy instrument by the OPI(s) and the Strategic Policy Division showed that no substantive change is required and that the policy instrument was not the subject of a recommendation stemming from an investigation, an audit or a documented inquiry, and as a result, its renewal will not require formal consultation.

Development/Amendment of Policy Instruments

  1. The Strategic Policy Manager, in conjunction with the OPI(s), will assess and devise a plan for the development of new policy or policy changes which will include the following:
    1. division of responsibilities
    2. stakeholders to be consulted as part of the formal consultation, including, as required, inmates/offenders
    3. approvals required
    4. tasks and steps in line with the national policy development process as outlined in the Policy Development Toolkit
    5. timelines.
  2. The OPI(s) will prepare a draft of the new or amended national policy instrument and a Policy Bulletin that will describe the main changes to the policy.
  3. As part of developing the first draft, if required, the OPI(s) will conduct a targeted primary discussion with key stakeholders that may be impacted by the changes to the policy instrument. This includes, but is not limited to, Human Resources, Finance, Performance Measurement and Management Reports, Indigenous Initiatives Directorate, the Women Offender Sector and Information Management Services.


  1. Prior to internal/external formal consultation, the Director, Strategic Policy, will ensure the draft of the national policy instrument has been approved by the identified OPI(s) sector head(s).
  2. The Strategic Policy Division will coordinate the internal/external consultation on the draft policy instrument. The Strategic Policy Division, in conjunction with the OPI(s), will determine the magnitude and duration of the consultation, which is a minimum of 15 working days.
  3. The Strategic Policy Manager will prepare a roll-up of feedback for review and consideration and to make any applicable changes in conjunction with the OPI(s).

Approval Process

  1. Once the proposed national policy instrument has been approved by the OPI(s) sector head(s), the Strategic Policy Division will send the policy instrument to the Executive Committee and will coordinate approvals, review and responses. Any significant changes stemming from the approval process will require re-approval by all members of the Executive Committee.
  2. The Strategic Policy Division will prepare the final national policy instrument package for final signature by the approval authority as per Annex B of CD 200 – Policy Framework.
  3. The Strategic Policy Division will ensure that the promulgation of all national policy instruments is performed at the appropriate level of dissemination.

Post Promulgation

  1. The Strategic Policy Division will ensure the coordination of all questions received in the

Regional Process

  1. Regional Instructions as well as institutional/district Standing Orders and Post Orders that support the operationalization of policy instruments will be developed using the Toolkit and following the established text structure, in consultation with the OPI(s) as needed.
  2. Regional and local policy instruments are approved as per Annex B of CD 200 – Policy Framework.

Technical Amendments

  1. Technical amendments will follow the same process as for substantive changes, but they do not require a formal consultation or the Executive Committee’s approval.

Interim Policy Bulletin

  1. When it is required to amend or develop a national policy instrument that may impact one or multiple policy instruments to meet legal or operational requirements, the OPI(s) in conjunction with the Strategic Policy Division will prepare an Interim Policy Bulletin which will be signed by the Commissioner.
  2. Once signed, the Interim Policy Bulletin will be disseminated appropriately and incorporated into the policy instruments during their next review.

Assistant Commissioner,

Original signed by:

Larry Motiuk




CD 041 – Incident Investigations
CD 200 – Policy Framework

Policy Development Toolkit
Official Languages Act
Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+)


Commissioner’s Directive (CD): national policy instrument that provides the written rules and authorities that CSC wants to establish, and sets out the procedures to be followed by staff to meet the policy objective, where consistent application is necessary. More specifically, it stipulates responsibilities and accountabilities on what staff will accomplish and provides indicators on which the performance of the Service will be evaluated. Once a CD is promulgated, it is applicable nationally.

Controlled version: the version of a policy instrument that has undergone a rigorous comparison of the English and French by CSC’s Translation and Editing Services Unit to ensure that the content of both languages has the same meaning and is grammatically accurate. The controlled versions are maintained by the Translation and Editing Services Unit and are the ones used when promulgating the policy instrument on CSC’s Hub and CSC’s Web site.

Guidelines (GL): they are not stand-alone documents in that they provide more detailed or practical information than what is contained in a Commissioner’s Directive about how policy direction must be implemented. When Guidelines are required, the Commissioner, through the most relevant CD, will delegate authority to the sector head to establish and sign the Guidelines.

Interim Policy Bulletin: a national policy instrument, signed by the Commissioner, whose purpose is to issue immediate policy direction that replaces, amends or enhances an existing policy, until the CD is updated and promulgated.

Internal Services Directives (ISD): national policy instruments that have the same importance as Commissioner’s Directives and are used to provide direction on the implementation of all Treasury Board approved policies and related instruments for organizations across the Government of Canada. These instruments, such as Human Resources Directives, Financial Directives and Health Services Protocols, are developed and signed by the appropriate sector head.

Policy Bulletin: apart from an Interim Policy Bulletin, a Policy Bulletin is issued every time a new or revised national policy instrument is promulgated. Its purpose is to introduce the policy change(s) and provide the rational for the change(s). It does not contain a signature.

Policy instrument: document containing formal direction or guidance issued by the Commissioner or any Assistant Commissioner. This includes Commissioner’s Directives, Guidelines, Internal Services Directives and Health Services Protocols.

Post Order: document created to specify responsibilities and processes unique to a specific post in the operational unit.

Regional Instructions: document created only where there is a need to provide instructions on the implementation of a national policy based on factors unique to a region.

Standing Order: document created to operationalize a Commissioner’s Directive or Guidelines where there is a need to specify rules and processes unique to the operational unit.

Technical amendment: any change to a document that does not modify the purpose, the responsibilities or the workload.

Annex B

CSC’s Policy Development Process

The following diagram depicts the five stages of the policy development process: planning, drafting, consultations, approval and promulgation. The diagram also highlights the distribution of responsibilities between Strategic Policy (SP), the Office(s) of Primary Interest and the decision-makers, as described within these guidelines for CD 200.

CSC’s Policy Development Process

Date modified: