Operating context and key risks

Operating context: conditions affecting our work

Responsibilities

Correctional Service of Canada's responsibilities are derived from the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRAFootnote i) and the Corrections and Conditional Release Regulations (CCRRFootnote ii). The CCRA and CCRR outline CSC's responsibilities as:

  1. the care and custody of inmates;
  2. the provision of programs that contribute to the rehabilitation of offenders and to their successful reintegration into the community;
  3. the preparation of inmates for release;
  4. parole, statutory release supervision and long-term supervision of offenders; and
  5. maintaining a program of public education about the operations of the Service.

CSC maintains 43 institutions, 14 community correctional centres, and 91 parole and sub-parole offices. On a typical day in 2016−17, CSC managed 22,882 offenders, many of whom have extensive histories of violence and violent crimes, previous youth and adult convictions, and affiliations with security threat groups. In addition, the offender population has a high rate of mental health disorders, addictions, and infections including Hepatitis C (HCV) and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Diversity in the offender population is continuing to grow in recent years with an increased number of women offenders, a disproportionate representation of Indigenous offenders (compared to their representation in the Canadian population) and the growing number of offenders who identify as members of ethnic minority. To safely manage such an offender population and to successfully reintegrate them to the community as law-abiding citizens, CSC needs to operate with a great degree of adaptability, flexibility, rigour and cultural competency.

Key risks: things that could affect our ability to achieve our plans and results

Key risks

CSC is challenged by the following five key risks:

  1. There is a risk that CSC will not be able to respond to the complex and diverse profile of the offender population.

    CSC manages offenders with histories of violence, previous convictions, mental and/or physical health care needs, and affiliations with threat groups. Furthermore, there is great and increasing diversity in the offender population in areas of age, gender, race, language, ethnicity, and religion.

    CSC's most fundamental mitigation strategy for this risk is the continued implementation of its national Population Management Approach that strategically integrates accommodation, resources and interventions within a cohesive direction. Key risk-mitigating elements of this approach include the delivery of nationally recognized correctional programsFootnote 1, as well as education, social and vocational programs to offenders with identified needs, meeting offenders' religious/spiritual needs , and successfully addressing the needs of Indigenous, women and Ethnocultural offenders. The approach is further supported by ensuring that appropriate resources are put in place to enable offenders' transition to the community. Finally, adapted correctional and education programs are available to meet the needs of offenders who are unable to meaningfully participate in traditional programming.
  2. There is a risk that CSC will not be able to maintain required levels of operational safety and security in institutions and in the community.

    CSC's ability to maintain safety and security is challenged by the number of offenders with a history of violence and security threat group affiliations, and is further challenged by the aging physical infrastructure in CSC.

    CSC is mitigating this risk by developing and implementing offender management strategies. Following the modernization of federal correctional infrastructure in recent years, CSC successfully reduced double-bunking and segregation rates. In the next three years, CSC will continue to assess, update and maintain physical infrastructure, as well as invest in updating IT infrastructure, where appropriate.

    CSC is committed to creating and maintaining a safe and respectful workplace that is free from harassment and sexual violence. As such, CSC is developing communication strategies to promote values-based leadership and workplace wellbeing. CSC will also conduct on-site Ethical Risk Assessments at every site over the course of three years, during which CSC will review its future plan to identify and evaluate potential ethical risks in order to take appropriate actions to mitigate them.
  3. There is a risk that CSC will not be able to implement its mandate and ensure the financial sustainability of the organization.

    In addition to challenges arising from the offender population, CSC is required to adapt to externally-sourced changes that impact corrections in, among other things, areas of legislation, case law, and financial resourcing.

    CSC has recently undergone significant change over a short period of time, including responding to and implementing mandated changes and dealing with fiscal constraints, while continuing to meet its operational requirements and mandate commitments. CSC possesses a robust governance structure, a clear decision-making process, and vigorous financial and budgetary controls.
  4. There is a risk that CSC will lose support of partners delivering critical services and providing resources for offenders.

    CSC needs support from diverse partners, stakeholders, victims' groups, Indigenous groups and others involved in support of Public Safety to assist the rehabilitation of offenders and their reintegration into the community as law-abiding citizens. The availability of partners and their ability to provide support is challenged by potential loss of funding, negative public perception, and insufficient communication and information sharing.

    CSC continuously engages community partners, including faith-based organizations, and constantly expands its networks as part of its day-to-day operations.
  5. There is a risk that CSC will not be able to sustain results related to violent reoffending.

    Preventing violent reoffending is a key objective for CSC. In institutions, it involves assessing offenders' risk, meeting their program needs and managing factors which influence violent behaviour. When offenders are in communities on supervision, it involves ongoing risk assessment and management with the support of strong collaborative partnerships.

    Key factors that contribute to offender violent reoffending risk include the presence, influence and complexity of security threat groups, insufficient support from the community, and offenders being released without completing all of their identified correctional programs.
Key risks
Risks Risk response strategy Link to the department's core responsibilities Link to mandate letter commitments or to government-wide and departmental priorities
There is a risk that CSC will not be able to respond to the complex and diverse profile of the offender population
  1. Continue to strengthen the Population Management Approach
  2. Conduct research to offer empirical and fact-based information for decision makers to draft policies and guidelines
  3. Continue to implement the Anijaarniq Inuit Strategy focussing on Inuit men and women offenders
  4. Implementation of the National Indigenous Plan and the Aboriginal Intervention Centres as a core strategy to improve reintegration results for Indigenous offenders
  5. Continue to implement CSC's Accommodation Plan
  6. Implement key IM/IT projects that support and enhance CSC's ability to manage a complex population
Custody
Correctional Interventions
Community Supervision
Work with the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs to address gaps in services throughout the criminal justice system to Indigenous Peoples and those with mental illness
There is a risk that CSC will not be able to maintain required levels of operational safety and security in institutions and in the community
  1. Continue to develop and implement offender management strategies
  2. Continue interventions to reduce inmate self-injuries and deaths in custody
  3. Continue to work with key partners to help prevent contraband and prohibited items (such as drugs, tobacco) from coming into institutions
  4. Improve security intelligence analysis by greater familiarity with database tools to maximize potential
  5. Maintain, evaluate, update and implement emergency management plans (security, strategic emergency, and contingency)
  6. Develop action plans to ensure the maintenance of a respectful workplace free from harassment and violence within CSC
  7. Develop a specific Communication Strategy related to workplace harassment to reinforce commitments, promote programs and services, contribute to prevention and raise awareness, and promote workplace wellness values-based leadership
  8. Conduct Ethical Risk Assessments – Site Evaluations
Custody (primary)
Community Supervision (secondary)
Take action to ensure that CSC is free from harassment and sexual violence
There is a risk that CSC will not be able to implement its mandate and ensure the financial sustainability of the organization
  1. Engage the portfolio, Central Agencies and Department of Justice to clearly articulate the risks and develop approaches to ensure CSC's ability to implement legislative changes
  2. Implement actions as needed to secure and ensure optimization of financial resources
  3. Implement CSC's Strategic Plan for Human Resource Management
Internal Services

Work with provinces and territories and the Minister of Health to develop a coordinated national action plan on post-traumatic stress disorder, which disproportionately affects public safety officers

Take action to ensure that CSC is free from harassment and sexual violence

There is a risk that CSC will lose support of partners delivering critical services and providing resources for offenders
  1. Continue to engage appropriate criminal justice and community partners and to help expand networks
  2. Increase volunteer involvement with faith-based organizations to enhance and sustain offender support opportunities
  3. Implement CSC's Integrated Engagement Strategy
  4. Continue to increase use of technological communications to maintain engagement with partners
Correctional Interventions (primary)
Community Supervision (secondary)
Work with CSC's partners to deliver the service in an open and transparent manner
There is a risk that CSC will not be able to sustain results related to violent re-offending
  1. Continue to engage appropriate criminal justice and community partners and expand networks
  2. Full implementation of Population Management approach
  3. Full implementation of the Integrated Correctional Program Model
  4. Ensure that measures are in place to strengthen offender accountability and motivate offenders to participate in their correctional plans
Community Supervision (primary)
Custody (secondary)
Collaborate with community partners to deliver real results to Canadians
Date modified: