Reopening of CSC penitentiary farm operations to include dairy cows and goats

News release

June 21, 2018 - Kingston, Ontario – Correctional Service Canada

Today, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and Member of Parliament for Ajax, Mark Holland, on behalf of the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, announced that the Government of Canada will be reopening penitentiary farms in Kingston, Ontario. The farm operations will include both dairy cows and dairy goats. This decision is the result of a detailed review of recommendations made to the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) since Budget 2018 announced funding of $4.3 million over five years for the reopening of the farm operations.

A phased approach, slated to begin in Fiscal Year 2018-19, will be adopted to implement new models for penitentiary farm operations at Joyceville and Collins Bay Institutions, with full implementation expected over the course of the next five years. The first step of this plan includes dairy cow and dairy goat operations at Joyceville Institution, in addition to land management, horticulture and crop production at both Joyceville and Collins Bay Institutions. Offenders will be involved in building and renovating necessary infrastructure as well as working to repair and rebuild farmland in the coming months to prepare for crops.

The reopening of the farms at Joyceville and Collins Bay Institutions represents a renewal of the penitentiary farms model that includes additional technical skills certifications and community partnerships. Through these partnerships, offenders will learn employment skills and gain training opportunities. The farms will also provide on-the-job training, vocational certification, and employability skills that will support offenders in their reintegration.

The farm operations will be managed under CORCAN, a key CSC rehabilitation program. CORCAN plays an important role in CSC's mandate to enhance public safety, by providing offenders with the employment experience and skills they need to become productive, law-abiding citizens and skilled workers when they return to the community.

An advisory panel comprised of seven volunteer members has been engaging with CORCAN and community stakeholders to assist CSC to better understand farm industry operations, explore new business ideas, and promote partnerships to provide employment opportunities for released offenders. The mandate of the advisory panel is to provide non-binding advice to CSC related to the reopening of penitentiary farms at Joyceville and Collins Bay Institutions in Kingston, Ontario.

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“Consultations with community members, businesses and stakeholders have demonstrated strong support for the return of CSC farms in Kingston, and the return of dairy cows is an integral part of the project. The prison farms are a valuable program that promotes rehabilitation, empathy and skills training, which reduces reoffending and helps make our communities safer.”

– Mark Holland, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Member of Parliament for Ajax


The return of CSC farms with cows and goats is fantastic news for our community. I’m grateful for passion and commitment of so many in our community for this project over so many years. The farms will help rehabilitate inmates, promoting public safety and reducing reoffending.”

– Mark Gerretsen, Member of Parliament for Kingston and the Islands

“We are looking forward to continuing to work with the farm advisory panel to implement farm operations and explore new partnerships with local businesses and organizations. This new beginning will allow us to further develop meaningful employment opportunities to help offenders successfully reintegrate into society.”

Anne Kelly, Interim Commissioner, Correctional Service Canada

"I am very pleased to learn that the government has approved the combination of dairy cows and dairy goats at our Kingston area prison farms. This announcement comes after years of dedication by hundreds of citizens to the cause of restoring the prison farms with a diverse program of crops and livestock. We have always been convinced that the farms offered valuable employment and rehabilitation opportunities for offenders, and contributed to their successful reintegration into the community. We are very excited to see the program restored, and appreciate the engagement and support of Minister Goodale and CSC."

Dianne Dowling, Community Member & Co-Chair, Farm Advisory Panel

Quick facts

  • On any given day, approximately 1,209 offenders are working in CORCAN operations across the country. Over the course of a year, more than 3,900 offenders benefit from CORCAN's on-the-job skills training.  

  • In Fiscal Year 2016-17, 187 offenders worked toward an apprenticeship in areas related to trades such as residential framing technician, welder, industrial mechanic, painter, carpentry, electrician, plumber and cabinetmaker, among others. 

  • Offenders also earned 14,030 certificates in Fiscal Year 2016-2017, with Indigenous male and female offenders receiving 27 per cent of certificates. These were earned through vocational training in areas such as construction trades, non-construction trades, the food industry and a variety of safety training.

  • In Fiscal Year 2016-2017, 16,302 offenders were involved in an institutional employment assignment.

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