Commissioner's update for correctional stakeholders: March 31, 2023

This content is a message to Correctional Service Canada's (CSC’s) stakeholders from the Commissioner of CSC.

I hope you are doing well and enjoying early signs of spring. 

Appointment of Deputy Commissioner for Indigenous Corrections

On March 27, we announced that Kathy Neil will be the Deputy Commissioner for Indigenous Corrections. Ms. Neil will take on her new functions on May 1st, 2023. Reporting directly to me, the new Deputy Commissioner for Indigenous Corrections will play an integral role within CSC to help address issues within the correctional system, including the disproportionate overrepresentation of Indigenous peoples. This new position will also work to build and further partnerships with Indigenous:

as well as ensure the delivery of culturally appropriate:

forfederal offenders.

This new role was created in response to my mandate letter commitment and directly responds to Call for Justice 5.23 of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG).

The Deputy Commissioner for Indigenous Corrections will ensure the implementation of the MMIWG Calls for Justice and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action within CSC’s purview, as well as support the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Teachings at Sagasigaa, Structured Intervention Unit 

In December, culturally relevant ceremonies were held for Indigenous incarcerated individuals at Sagasigaa, Stony Mountain Institution’s Structured Intervention Unit. The activities were designed to help inmates on their healing journey, which included:

The men also used the Tipi, a sacred place of healing at Sagasigaa, and listened to their Elders’ Teachings. The Tipi is a major component in the ceremonies and goes hand-in-hand with reconciliation, promoting healing for the individuals. 

Thank you to the Elders for offering inmates meaningful ways to assist in their personal growth, as well as in their rehabilitation and reintegration.

United Nation’s Special Rapporteur visit

In early March, the United Nation’s Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Francisco Cali Tzay, visited Canada. As part of his work, he toured Edmonton Institution for Women and Kent Institution where he met with:

to learn more about how we work to address the needs of Indigenous peoples in our care and custody.

Mr. Tzay said he was pleased that teachings are available to the inmates in our institutions and thanked CSC for the open door extended to him. He will present his report, which is about Canada’s efforts towards reconciliation, to the UN Human Rights Council in the coming months.

Expression of Interest for Black, ethnocultural and racialized community groups, experts or organizations

On March 21, we launched an Expression of Interest to hear from Black, ethnocultural and racialized community groups, experts or organizations. The first step in this process is building a comprehensive national inventory of organizations who, based on their specific strengths, could work with CSC. We are asking interested parties to apply before May 15.

I encourage you to share the information with Black, racialized, and ethnocultural:

in your networks. For more information, please visit: 

Black History Month and beyond

Since 2008, Canada has celebrated the achievements and accomplishments of Canadians of African descent in February. Black Canadians have shaped our country since before confederation when American Revolution Loyalists settled in Canada and Black soldiers fought in the War of 1812. Despite facing barriers of prejudice and discrimination, Black Canadians have made significant contributions in all aspects of our society, which have shaped our communities and our country.

CSC encouraged all staff to take time to learn about and reflect on the experiences of Black Canadians. There were several learning opportunities during the month, and we shared a number of exciting initiatives on our social media channels, including presentations from Professor (Dr.) Owusu-Bempah at Bath, Millhaven and Collins Bay Institutions about the intersection of:

Canada's Black Justice Strategy

On Feb. 15, 2023, Justice Canada announced the establishment of a Steering Group to lead the next phase of Canada's Black Justice Strategy. The nine-member Steering Group will develop a framework for consultations led by Black communities across Canada and work with other experts and community leaders. This work will ensure that the Strategy is grounded in the diverse:

of Black communities across Canada.

To read more, visit:

Anti-Racism, diversity and inclusion at CSC

CSC is committed to ongoing discussions about anti-racism, diversity, and inclusion throughout the year. Our Anti-Racism, Diversity and Inclusion Directorate toured the Atlantic Region in November and the Quebec Region in February to hear from racialized individuals, both incarcerated and on release, as well as staff, senior management and community partners. These visits, which included the CSC Champion for Anti-Racism, Diversity and Inclusion, Kirstan Gagnon, led to rich and meaningful discussions and will continue this spring in the Ontario, Prairie and Pacific regions.

Recently, eight employees from the Anti-Racism Diversity and Inclusion Directorate, including members of the Employment Equity and Diversity Committee, graduated from the Global Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Practitioner Certification Program delivered by the Canadian Congress on Inclusive Diversity and Workplace Equity. 

Emerson Douyon Award recipient

On November 30, Jude Clyke, Project Officer in the Anti-Racism Diversity and Inclusion Directorate, received CSC’s 2021–2022 Emerson Douyon Multiculturalism Award at a ceremony held at Dorchester Penitentiary, in New Brunswick. The award recognized Jude’s outstanding work with Black employees and offenders, as well as his unwavering championing of:

You can read about his lifelong passion and commitment to helping people succeed—both at work and in his community in Let’s Talk Express:

Fit Life Program in the Structured Intervention Unit

I am proud of the innovative work being done across the country. One such example is CSC educator, Kwame Osei, who developed a physical fitness program for inmates in the structured intervention unit (SIU) at Millhaven Institution. His program, Fit Life, promotes the importance of healthy living, with a focus on education. Since it began in 2020, 91 students have gone through the program, and 11 have now graduated with their Ontario high school diploma. Read about the successes of individuals in the Fit Life Program in Let’s Talk Express:

Victim Complaints: 2021–2022 Annual Report

CSC recently released the annual victim complaint report. This past year, CSC provided services to over 8,500 victims. Of the 11 formal complaints we received, there were four identified instances where CSC did not fully uphold victims’ rights under the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights. We responded by implementing changes and taking steps to address the issues. I encourage you to read the report.

National Ethnocultural Advisory Committee update

On February 24, I met with members of our National Ethnocultural Advisory Committee (NEAC) where we acknowledged the loss of long time NEAC member, Theresa Halfkenny, who passed away in January. She will be greatly missed. We had a rich roundtable and learned of many regional initiatives underway. I am grateful for the NEAC’s commitment to meeting with individuals in our care and custody.

Vulnerable Behind Bars event 

On March 3, the Consulate General of Canada in New York organized the ‘Vulnerable Behind Bars’ event, to raise awareness of the experiences of transgender and 2SLGBTQ+ people in detention. Approximately :

from 12 countries attended, in person and virtually, including Canada.

Participants recognized the importance of integrating gender diversity and inclusivity awareness in frontline staff training. They also saw the value of increasing awareness and understanding among the incarcerated population to ensure a:

environment for all incarcerated individuals.

CSC’s latest research publications

CSC's Research Branch is always conducting research on subjects that matter and that are important to the work that we do at CSC. Their findings can help inform:

Research is available on several important topics affecting CSC and the offenders in our care. This includes research on:

just to name a few.

We encourage you to take a look at these reports as some of them may be relevant to your work with CSC. To find out more, visit:

CSC’s 2023–24 Departmental Plan

On March 9, CSC’s 2023–24 Departmental Plan was tabled in Parliament. The document outlines our:

for the upcoming fiscal year. It describes how we will contribute to government priorities and fulfill CSC’s departmental mandate to uphold public safety. I invite you to read more about our plans and priorities in the:

In closing, I would like to thank you for your ongoing commitment and support. 

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