Correctional Service of Canada responds to the Office of the Correctional Investigator’s 2020-2021 Annual Report


Today, Anne Kelly, Commissioner of the Correctional Service of Canada, issued the following statement:

“I want to start by thanking our employees for their tremendous efforts during this challenging global pandemic. They have worked tirelessly to keep everyone safe – with many working on the frontline including correctional officers, primary workers, health care professionals, parole and program officers, kitchen workers, and all those supporting our operations across the country.

I welcome the Office of the Correctional Investigator’s (OCI) annual report and our collective efforts to strengthen and improve areas of the federal correctional system. We all want to ensure that our system works to safely and successfully support federal offenders in becoming law-abiding citizens – this is how we keep our communities safe. We have carefully examined all recommendations put forward by the OCI and are taking concrete actions to address them. These actions are outlined in our response to the report, including our progress and additional changes we plan to make.

The OCI’s report highlights a number of priority areas for our organization, including Structured Intervention Units (SIUs); use of force; women’s corrections; the mental health needs of inmates; as well as anti-racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.

One of our major priorities continues to be the effective implementation of SIUs. In response to external oversight bodies and reports, including the OCI, we have been taking concrete actions in a number of areas, including operations, policy, data, monitoring, and evaluation. As the OCI has highlighted, SIUs provide greater access to services, staff, programs and interventions targeted to the needs of inmates. This is what the model sets out to do and something we continue to build on as we also work to make improvements in a number of areas. This new model was a large-scale transformation for CSC and, as Commissioner, I am highly committed to ensuring its successful implementation.

CSC takes the issue of use of force very seriously. We use an Engagement and Intervention Model (EIM) to resolve situations that could potentially jeopardize the safety and security of those in our institutions. It is a gradual process used to de-escalate situations, including the use of verbal interventions as a first step. The goal is always to resolve a situation quickly while working to keep everyone safe. In response to the OCI’s recommendation, CSC completed an evaluation of the EIM in fiscal year 2020-21. Based on the evaluation, CSC will be carrying out a review of use of force incidents involving diverse sub-populations, including inmates from visible minority groups, Indigenous inmates, and those with mental health needs. This will involve working more closely with health and mental health professionals on our interventions. We are committed to doing more to address this, as detailed in our Management Action Plan, including work to review system-wide procedures, practices and policies in relation to how we prevent and respond to incidents.

Anti-racism, diversity, and inclusion are areas of tremendous importance to us and we continue to take action to build an anti-racist organization and foster an environment that is diverse, inclusive, and equitable for staff and offenders. CSC is implementing an anti-racism framework and actions focused on three pillars: inmates, employees, and stakeholders. We also provide ongoing training, education and resources to staff about diversity, equity and inclusion, including activities, interventions and services that are culturally responsive to Indigenous and ethnocultural offenders. CSC is also undertaking an audit of its culture to identify additional areas of focus moving forward.

CSC is a world leader in the area of women’s corrections and continues to enhance services, programs, and strategies to meet the specific needs of women offenders. CSC continues to follow the principles of Creating Choices, which incorporates a holistic and research-based correctional philosophy for federal women offenders. The five principles are: empowerment, meaningful and responsible choices, respect and dignity, supportive environments, and shared responsibility. We make every effort to ensure that women offenders are housed at the lowest possible security level that responds to the risk they present. We are currently reviewing correctional programming for women offenders to increase content on cultural relevancy for Indigenous women. We have also established a National Working Group to obtain feedback on proposed changes from program experts across the country. 

CSC provides a range of health services in order to meet the diverse needs of inmates throughout their sentence and is committed to ensuring they have access to quality, safe, patient-centered care. We continue to implement improvements to CSC’s health system to ensure inmates are directed to the right pathway of care and receive appropriate and timely treatment. We are also making significant strides in supporting autonomous clinical decision-making and undertaken activities to support patient-centered care.

We are steadfast in our commitment to continue working with partners and stakeholders, such as the OCI, as we deliver on our mission of contributing to public safety by actively encouraging and assisting offenders to become law-abiding citizens, while exercising reasonable, safe, secure and humane control.”

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