Citizen Advisory Committees: Strategic Plan for 2020-2025

Message from the Chair of the National Executive Committee of the Citizen Advisory Committees

December 2, 2020

On behalf of the National Executive Committee (NEC), I am pleased to present the Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) Strategic Plan for 2020-2025. Work on this plan began in 2019 with a survey of members and is based upon that feedback.

The NEC met in February of 2020 and created a tentative document, then COVID 19 arrived and brought with it a brand-new way of doing business. We also saw the worldwide recognition of systemic racism this past spring. NEC felt that we needed to respond to both in our plan. All of these factors delayed the release of the plan until now.

We reached consensus on this document on October 16, 2020 and have shared it with all CAC members, along with Correctional Service Canada (CSC) employees who work with and support CACs.

The NEC will be drafting an action plan and setting out our priorities in the coming weeks as local and regional committees become familiar with the plan. At the same time, we will be then looking to you, our members, to help us construct, implement and evaluate the strategies outlined in the Strategic Plan. CSC will be supporting us every step of the way, through the CSC co-chair of the NEC, and will also be focused on implementing strategies to support employee participation in CACs.

At this point, I want to recognize several past members of NEC who worked on, and believed in, the principles of this document, namely Anthony Gagnon, past regional chair for Quebec, and the past national chair, Chelsea Morrey. In addition, NEC needs to thank the Citizen Engagement team at national headquarters for their patience and support as we created this plan.

I want to close this message with comments from Chelsea, who, if COVID-19 had not arrived, would have been sending this plan to you as National Chair:

My passion for this new plan comes from my recent and past experiences as the Chair. I feel the renewed energy. It is important to speak to the commitment I, and all of you, have to CACs. Moving forward into 2021, it is also vital for the membership to know that NEC is carrying on with this renewed energy and commitment to make improvements.

Peggy Joiner
On behalf of the NEC (National Executive Committee) of the CACs

Citizen Advisory Committees: Strategic Plan for 2020-2025

October 2020

ISSN 2563-6642


The Strategic Plan is a five-year overarching directional document for all Citizen Advisory Committees (CACs) developed by the National Executive Committee (NEC) with input from members, the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) staff and officials who work with CACs.

It was developed in February 2020 with the assistance of an external consultant engaged by CSC to support this important initiative. The inputs into the process included an environmental scan of global trends in citizen involvement in corrections; a national survey of CAC members and CSC employees; and telephone interviews with a representative sample of CAC members and CSC employees across all regions.

The Strategic Plan is evergreen for five years. This means that it is a living document that will evolve over the course of five years, as context and realities change. The first major changes in realities and context occurred shortly after the plan was drafted: the COVID-19 pandemic and the global movement to address systemic racism.

The Strategic Plan is also an ambitious document. We have listened and we have heard concerns from members and from CSC; however, these issues have persisted for many years. With your help, we hope to fulfill all of these goals in five years. Results and course changes will be reviewed annually, amended as necessary, and approved by the NEC. We are committed to openness and transparency in this process and will share our progress as we go.

Quick Facts

Created in 1965, CACs provide an avenue for the public to be involved in the operations of the Service, a principle articulated in the Corrections and Conditional Release Act.

The closest equivalents of national programs of citizen involvement in corrections would be Scotland’s Independent Prison Monitor and the Independent Monitoring Boards in England and Wales.

Citizen Advisory Committees are anchored in the Corrections and Conditional Release Regulations:


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

This diagram outlines the four pillars (Mutual Acceptance and recognition, Collaboration, Information and Access, and Orientation and Training) designed to enhance CAC’s effectiveness to fulfil the vision. CAC requires Tools, Guidance, Resources and Processes to implement the four pillars.

This diagram highlights three interconnected strategies that will activities planned to mobilize change across the CACs: 1) Results & Reporting, the goal of which is to ENHANCE role as entrusted citizen advisors working in partnership with CSC; 2) Recruitment & Retention, the goal of which is to DEVELOP strong, connected, representative CACs; and 3) Training & Development, the goal of which is to REINVIGORATE CAC’s through renewal of the rules of engagement, training and development.

Strategic direction 1

Goal: ENHANCE role as entrusted citizen advisors working in partnership with CSC.

Priority I: To produce a clear management framework for CACs that provides guidance to staff and CAC members on roles and responsibilities in operationalizing legislation and policy.


Priority II: Systematize documentation and sharing of the information generated through the CAC mandate to observe, liaise and advise with CSC and the general public.


Strategic direction 2

Goal: REINVIGORATE CACs through renewal of the rules of engagement, training and development.

Priority I: A collaborative approach fostered between CAC members and CSC officials to fulfill the CAC mandate of observe, liaise and advise at all sites.


Priority II: Opportunities for orientation, training and professional development for CSC staff and CAC members to enhance skills and competencies, and build knowledge to fulfill their duties in the CAC Code of Conduct.


Strategic direction 3

Goal: DEVELOP strong, connected, representative CACs

Priority I: CAC members are equipped to engage with their communities, in collaboration with CSC, about corrections and conditional release, contributing to a mandate of public education and public involvement with an opportunity to recruit new members.


Priority II: CAC members equipped to engage and raise awareness within their communities, with the media and to develop partnerships in the criminal justice system.


Since the strategic planning session in February, several deliverables noted above have been completed or are in development, but there is much more that needs to be done. The NEC will develop a detailed annual plan each year to achieve all of the intended outcomes, which will be reviewed on a quarterly basis by the NEC to measure progress and ensure that we are on track to deliver.

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