Community Involvement

The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) benefits from the assistance of over 6000 Canadians who volunteer their time, energy and passion towards helping offenders become law-abiding citizens. We recognize that CSC would not fulfill its mandate without the contribution of volunteers and encourage volunteer work as a valuable contribution to the correctional process.

Volunteer initiatives

Volunteers bring a fresh perspective to our organization, help keep CSC in touch with the community, increase awareness of issues related to local institutions and parole offices, and complement a variety of institution-based programs including:

  • chaplaincy
  • recreational and cultural activities
  • educational and vocational training
  • social events

Volunteers also help bridge the gap for offenders between institutional life and reintegration into society. This includes offering support to the families of incarcerated offenders.

Citizen Advisory Committees (CACs)

Citizen Advisory Committees (CACs) are groups of local citizens who contribute to the quality of Canada's federal correctional system. The mission of each CAC is to:

  • observe daily operations
  • liaise with CSC staff, offenders and the community
  • advise on correctional issues, programs, and policies

CSC policy requires that there is a CAC associated with each operational site (e.g., federal institution, parole office, and community correctional center). Community members from various professional, cultural and demographic backgrounds serve on these voluntary independent committees. Members are appointed for a period of two years.

National and Regional Ethnocultural Advisory Committee (NEAC and REAC)

CSC consults the National Ethnocultural Advisory Committee (NEAC) and Regional Ethnocultural Advisory Committees (REACs) on the delivery of programs and services aimed at ethnocultural offenders (i.e., offenders with specific needs based on race, language or culture). NEAC and REACs help offenders by:

  • advising CSC about programs, services and interventions for ethnocultural offenders
  • sharing their expertise with CSC staff, volunteers, and the community
  • building and maintaining relationships with ethnocultural communities and organizations
  • helping CSC to raise awareness and train staff on issues related to ethnocultural services

Giving back to the community

CSC is a part of every community where an institution or a parole office is located. As an organization, we strongly advocate for helping others and emphasize the concept of "giving back to the community" with offenders so they develop a stronger sense of accountability.

For example, offenders have restored old or damaged bicycles and toys donated by local community centres, which are then given to children in need. Offenders have also participated in a correctional facility farming program that harvested more than 4,500 kg of vegetables for a local food bank in 2018.

These are only two examples of the many projects that give offenders the chance to show they care about Canadian communities.

Updated February 2019

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