Constitution of the Citizen Advisory Committees to the Correctional Service of Canada

This document details the Constitution that governs all Citizen Advisory Committees (CAC) to the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC).

Citizen Advisory Committees are comprised of citizens appointed and entrusted by CSC to observe, liaise and provide impartial and independent advice within the corrections and conditional release system, to support CSC’s accountability to its mission, mandate and priorities.

The intention is that every federal institution and parole office should be represented by a CAC.

Article 1: Name and Purpose

1.1. The official name is the Citizen Advisory Committees (CAC) to the Correctional Service of Canada.

1.2. Committees use the name of the CSC institution or parole office to which it is attached (e.g. “Metro Vancouver West Community Corrections CAC”, “Stony Mountain Institution CAC”) or its acronym (“CAC”) in all materials and correspondence.

1.3 CACs are organized at three levels: local, regional and national. They work collaboratively with CSC at every level. All three levels carry out the mandate of observe, liaise and advise and all activities must be directed towards this purpose and mandate.

1.4 The number of local Citizen Advisory Committee will reflect the size and complexity of the operational unit. The local CAC elects their own chair, as per their by-laws.

1.5 To the maximum extent possible, as stated in Commissioner’s Directive 023 (paragraph 8), the committees will reflect the community or region served by the operational unit and the inmate population(s) being served.

Article 2: Legislative and Policy Framework

All Citizen Advisory Committees operate within a comprehensive legislative and policy framework, as follows:

2.1 Citizen Advisory Committees support the principle in the Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA) to involve members of the public in matters relating to the operations of the Service.

2.2 The corresponding Corrections and Conditional Release Regulations (CCRR) provide the privileges for Citizen Advisory Committees. Section 4 states that a Citizen Advisory Committee (a) may advise an institutional head or a person responsible for a parole office on any matter within the institutional head’s or person’s jurisdiction and they (b) shall make itself available for discussions and consultations with the public, offenders, staff members and Service management.

Additionally, section 5 states that the members of the Citizen Advisory must have reasonable access, for the purpose of carrying out the functions of the Committee, to:

(a) every part of the penitentiary or parole office;
(b) every staff member of the penitentiary or parole office;
(c) any offender in the penitentiary or under the supervision of the parole office; and
(d) any hearing, conducted under this Part or Part I of the Act, respecting an offender in the penitentiary or under the supervision of the parole office, if the offender consents to the access.

2.3 CACs respect the status and use of both official languages and comply with the Official Languages Act.

2.4 Citizen Advisory Committees are integrated into and comply with the policies of Correctional Service Canada (CSC). CAC structures and responsibilities are detailed in Commissioner’s Directive 023 Citizen Advisory Committees.

2.5 In order to gain access to the site and necessary information to carry out the CAC mandate, administrative requirements of registration outlined in Commissioner’s Directive 024 – Management of CSC Volunteers (CD 024), such as security clearance, identification cards, and orientation, are required to be met.

2.6 CACs members have mandated, voluntary positions to participate in the Canadian federal correctional process, bringing a community perspective and contributing to public safety.

Article 3: Management Framework

All CACs operate within a comprehensive management framework, which is a collection of foundational documents that supports Citizen Advisory Committees in areas such as learning and development, results and reporting, communications and engagement, and member recognition and retention. The framework includes the Constitution and by-laws, a strategic plan and various supporting documents that outline responsibilities of the committees, as follows.

3.1 All documentation and sharing of information generated through the CAC mandate to observe, liaise and advise, with CSC and the public, is systematically documented according to the Results and Reporting directive.

3.2 All committee members contribute to recruitment and development of new members, in collaboration with CSC. Collaboratively, CSC and the CAC will develop and implement a recruitment plan, which will reflect the needs of the community or region being served, and the inmate population(s). Committees will report on their efforts locally.

3.3 All committees support engagement, communications and development of members, with support from CSC.

3.4 All new members complete orientation on the roles and responsibilities of being a volunteer with a CAC. All new and existing members are also provided with opportunities for learning and development in relation to their mandate.

3.5 All committees engage within their communities, with the media and with community partners in the criminal justice system to raise the profile of CACs within and beyond CSC, and promote the recognition of committees with a focus on their impact.

Article 4: Individual Members

In order to become a member of the CAC, one must apply. The Regional Deputy Commissioner, based on the recommendations of the local operational head, and the site’s CAC chairperson (or regional chairperson, in the absence of a site chair) approves all appointments. All CAC members are appointed by CSC for a period of three years as per Commissioner’s Directive 023 (paragraph thirteen).

Section A: Requirements

4.1 As part of the application process, all prospective CAC applicants should participate in up to three (3) committee meetings and/or activities, if circumstances permit, before they are appointed as a member to assess the applicant’s fit and level of interest. This could include meetings of the site’s committee, another committee at another institution or in the community (virtually), and a meeting with the operational unit head.

4.2 All members must undergo security screening for Reliability status before being appointed. For the purposes of section 4.1, prospective members can attend meetings where no protected information is being shared. If on site, they will need to be signed in as a visitor and escorted at all times.

4.3 All prospective members are required to participate in CAC member orientation before being appointed to the committee.

Section B: Withdrawal of membership

4.4 If a CAC member wishes to withdraw from their local committee before the end of their three-year term, they must do so in writing to the applicable chairperson. The chairperson will notify CSC.

4.5 Upon termination of involvement with a CAC, members should also be made aware of their continuing responsibilities to maintain the confidentiality of the sensitive information to which they have had access. If they have any accounts, they must notify their CSC liaison to cancel the account (e.g. the CSC Stakeholder Collaboration Hub, the CSC Learning Platform). They must also return their ID cards to their CSC liaison.

4.6 Any member of any committee may be replaced prior to the expiry of their term if they: (i) resign, (ii) is not fit or able to continue for whatever reason, (iii) is in an unmanageable conflict of interest, and/ or (iv) acts contrary to the CAC mission, mandate, Code of Conduct or Constitution. In the event of the latter, the regional chair, in concert with appropriate CSC representatives, will expeditiously review the matter, specifying corrective actions appropriate to the circumstances or outlining grounds for dismissal. (v) Miss more than three consecutive meetings without informing site chair or arranging a leave of absence.

Article 5: Functions

5.1 For all CAC members (local, regional, national) the three specific roles and objectives are:

5.2 As the regional executive branch of Citizen Advisory Committees, specific roles and objectives of the regional committee/council include:

5.3 As the executive branch of Citizen Advisory Committees, specific roles and objectives of the National Executive Committee include:

Article 6: Bylaws

6.1 Flowing from this Constitution, every committee will maintain bylaws that specify roles and responsibilities for local, regional and national committees. A set of mandatory bylaws are managed by the National Executive Committee and applicable to each local, regional and national committee.

6.2 Where local and regional committees require the by-laws to reflect local or regional distinctions, that committee may add additional bylaws managed locally or regionally.

Article 7: Voting Privileges

7.1 The National Executive Committee shall engage the entire membership of the Citizen Advisory Committees on issues of national significance and such decisions will be made by simple majority.

7.2 The entire membership of the Citizen Advisory Committees may exercise a veto against any decision made by the National Executive Committee by a vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the membership.

Article 8: Amendments to the Constitution

8.1 This Constitution and by-laws will be reviewed regularly to ensure that the goals of good governance and accountability are met.

8.2 Amendments to the Constitution shall be ratified by a vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the members of the National Executive Committee where the vote presented from each region is based on a simple majority of its regional constituency.

8.3 Amendments may be submitted in writing to the National Executive Committee Chairperson at anytime.

8.4 A period of no less than sixty (60) days will be permitted for voting on amendments to the Constitution. Voting is permitted in-person or by means of telephonic, electronic or other means of communication that permits participants to exercise their voting rights.

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