Implementation of the penitentiary farm program
In June 2016, at the request of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, CSC launched a feasibility study to review the 2009 decision to close the two CSC penitentiary farm operations in the Kingston area. This study included public consultations.
CSC released the results of the Penitentiary Farms Public Consultation in November 2016. This included an online forum and a town hall in Kingston in July and August 2016. The consultations garnered nearly 6,000 responses and almost 300 participants attended the town hall. The majority of participants in both consultations said they supported bringing back penitentiary farms.
A volunteer Farm advisory panel was established in May 2017 to provide non-binding recommendations and advice to CSC about potentially reopening the penitentiary farms at Joyceville and Collins Bay Institutions, in Kingston, Ontario. Its members lend their expertise in the areas of business, agriculture and employment opportunities for offenders.
To inform its work, the Farm Advisory Panel has been engaging with community stakeholders and with CORCAN, the Special Operating Agency within CSC that provides offenders with employment and employability skills training while incarcerated in federal penitentiaries.
As part of Budget 2018, the Government of Canada announced funding of $4.3 million over five years for the reopening of the farm operations at Joyceville and Collins Bay Institutions in Kingston, Ontario.
In 2018, farmland repair began at Collins Bay Institution, to prepare the land for planting and harvesting crops. 203 acres of crops were already planted and harvested in the 2018 season. In 2019, crops have been planted at both Collins Bay and Joyceville Institutions, including corn, soybeans and barley, in addition to a small organic crop field.
The advisory panel has been very active and engaged in consultations about potential farming operations, partnerships and training opportunities for these sites and provided feedback, along with other internal and external partners over the last year. The panel and other stakeholders shared a number of options for farming operations, employment for offenders and community partnerships.
As a result of the 2009 Government of Canada’s Strategic Review process, the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) closed its six federal penitentiary farms, including two in Kingston, Ontario.
Collins Bay Institution farm operations were comprised of dairy milk and egg production. The Joyceville Institution farm operations included a feedlot, meat processing plant, field crops, greenhouse and composting.
At the time of the farm closures, CSC developed regional leasing plans for the farm lands and guidelines to ensure that an open, fair and transparent competitive process was available to all interested parties.
All equipment and assets were dispersed as required by established government processes.
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