PBC 2023-2025 Accessibility Plan

About this publication:

Publication author: Parole Board of Canada
ISSN 2817-0741

From the Chairperson

As Chairperson of the Parole Board of Canada (PBC or the Board), I am pleased to present the PBC’s 2023-2025 Accessibility Plan. The Board is committed to building a culture of inclusiveness for the public that use PBC services, for PBC employees and Board members. The Board will work to ensure that anyone can access its programs and services with independence and dignity.

This plan describes the measures the PBC will undertake to remove and prevent barriers to individuals with disabilities. The goals outlined in the plan address identified gaps pertaining to accessibility and establish commitments towards making the PBC more accessible over the next three years. I, and the leadership team of the PBC, are committed to achieving these goals.

Accessibility is everyone’s responsibility. It will take the support and commitment from all levels of the organization to transform the PBC into a truly accessible organization. Embracing diversity and inclusion is our pledge to you.


Jennifer Oades
Chairperson, Parole Board of Canada

1. General

1.1 About the PBC

The PBC is an independent administrative tribunal that, as part of the Canadian criminal justice system, makes independent, quality conditional release (parole) decisions, record suspension/pardons and expungement decisions, as well as clemency recommendations, in a transparent and accountable manner, while respecting diversity and the rights of offenders and victims.

The PBC has exclusive authority under the Corrections and Conditional Release Act to grant, deny, cancel, terminate or revoke day parole, full parole, and authorize or approve temporary absences. The PBC may also order offenders who have reached their statutory release date to be held in prison until the end of their sentence, upon referral by the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC). The PBC also makes parole decisions for offenders serving sentences of less than two years in all provinces and territories except Ontario, Quebec and Alberta, which have their own parole boards.

The PBC also has legislated responsibilities to:

The PBC is headed by a Chairperson who reports to Parliament through the Minister of Public Safety.

For more information on the PBC’s programs and services, visit Canada.ca/Parole-Board-of-Canada.

1.2 Statement of Commitment

The PBC is dedicated to ensuring that persons with disabilities have equitable access across its organization. The PBC recognizes that improving accessibility is an ongoing commitment that requires acknowledging the experiences of persons with disabilities and taking action to remove barriers in a timely manner.

It is important that everyone who uses the PBC services is able to do so fairly and equitably. The PBC wants everyone who interacts with the Board to be able to do so with dignity, independence and without barriers. This plan is a commitment to listening to persons with disabilities and improving accessibility within the organization.

1.3 Feedback Process & Contact Information

As a means to capture and respond to accessibility feedback, especially from persons with disabilities, the PBC has established a feedback process (described below). Individuals may choose to submit the feedback anonymously. The PBC welcomes feedback, such as comments, concerns or questions, on accessibility from members of the public, partners, stakeholders, as well as its employees and Board members.

All feedback received will be reviewed and responded to, as appropriate. It will be catalogued and incorporated into the PBC’s annual progress reports.

Our Designated Official for Accessibility, responsible for receiving feedback and enquiries about accessibility, is the Senior Advisor, Values, Integrity and Disclosure. Feedback about accessibility barriers at the PBC or about the implementation of this plan, as well as requests for alternative formats of this plan or the feedback process, can be sent to the Designated Official for Accessibility through any of the various methods listed below.

Methods to Submit Feedback

Online Form: You may use the feedback form on the Contact the PBC webpage.

Email address: Accessibility.Accessibilite@pbc-clcc.gc.ca

Phone number: 1-833-541-3063 (toll-free)

Teletypewriter (TTY): (613) 954-7771

Mailing address:
Designated Official for Accessibility
Parole Board of Canada
410 Laurier Avenue West, 6th floor mailroom
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0R1

Alternative Formats

Alternative formats of this plan and a description of our feedback process are available by contacting the PBC Designated Official for Accessibility as follows:

Email address: Accessibility.Accessibilite@pbc-clcc.gc.ca

Phone number: 1-833-541-3063 (toll-free)

Teletypewriter (TTY): (613) 954-7771

Mailing address:
Designated Official for Accessibility
Parole Board of Canada
410 Laurier Avenue West, 6th floor mailroom
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0R1

A web version of this plan is available at: PBC Accessibility Plan 2023-2025 - Canada.ca.

The following alternative formats are available upon request and will be provided within 15 days of the initial request:

The following alternative formats are available upon request and will be provided within 45 days of the initial request:

1.4 Definitions

The following definitions apply throughout this plan:

Accessibility: The design of products, devices, services, environments, technologies, policies and rules in a way that allows all people, including persons with a variety of disabilities, to access them.

Barrier: Anything — including anything physical, architectural, technological or attitudinal, anything that is based on information or communications or anything that is the result of a policy or a practice — that hinders the full and equal participation in society of persons with an impairment, including a physical, mental, intellectual, cognitive, learning, communication or sensory impairment or a functional limitation.

Disability: Any impairment, including a physical, mental, intellectual, cognitive, learning, communication or sensory impairment — or a functional limitation — whether permanent, temporary or episodic in nature, or evident or not, that, in interaction with a barrier, hinders a person’s full and equal participation in society.

2. Areas Described under Section 5 of the Accessible Canada Act (ACA)

2.1 Organization Wide Initiatives


In launching the PBC’s accessibility initiative, a project team was assembled and comprised of employees from across the organization. This team was responsible to evaluate the PBC’s current level of accessibility, help identify gaps in accessibility and create goals to address identified gaps. Moving forward, a steering committee will be established to support the implementation of the plan and to track its progress.

The team consulted with a variety of accessibility stakeholders. PBC employees and Board members were surveyed to identify barriers within the PBC related to each Accessible Canada Act (ACA) area. Further information about PBC's accessibility was gathered through an external public survey from various stakeholders including those with a disability and those interested in accessibility issues. The results of these surveys have informed the creation of this plan. A baseline of accessibility for the PBC was established and progress will be reported annually.

Overall Accessibility Goals

2.2 The Design and Delivery of Programs and Services


The PBC holds parole hearings and file reviews and makes quality independent decisions. The Board also holds culturally adapted hearings for Indigenous offenders, such as Elder-Assisted and Community-Assisted hearings, and recently introduced cultural hearings for Black offenders.

The PBC also makes record suspension and expungement decisions as well as clemency recommendations to the Minister of Public Safety. 

The Board provides information to victims of crime about the conditional release process. Victims are able to access information and services through the Victims Portal. Support is provided to victims to prepare and present statements during the decision-making process.

The PBC conducts outreach sessions in the community and in-reach sessions in correctional institutions providing information about the Board's public safety mandate.

Individuals accessing the Board's services may face challenges in requesting disability-related accommodations such as alternate formats for forms, assistance filling out forms and understanding the technical language used in conditional release.

The goals below outline how the PBC will make its programs and services more accessible to persons with disabilities.

Accessibility Goals

2.3 Employment


The PBC has approximately 493 employees and Board members working across the country in five regions and one national office. The work is largely office-based with some travel required for hearings and meetings. Currently, PBC employees and Board Members are working in a hybrid model with a balance between working from PBC offices, working remotely from home, and from correctional institutions. PBC Board members conduct hearings and review case files to make conditional release decisions for offenders. The rest of the work of the PBC is predominately administrative, such as processing applications for record suspension and clemency, as well as other government functions like corporate services, finance, communications and policy. 

By law, the PBC requires that Board members be sufficiently diverse in their backgrounds to represent community values and views. Over the past several years, the Government has made great efforts to recruit Board member candidates from diverse communities to better reflect the Canadian population. By 2025, the Board will continue to improve the level of representation of its employees with disabilities and to provide the government with an increased slate of Board member candidates with disabilities.

Recently, the PBC also launched an Employment Equity Plan to support its efforts to become more representative of the population it serves and to create an inclusive, healthy workplace free of discrimination and barriers to employment and career development.

As a means to improve its workplace culture around disability and accessibility, the PBC invited persons with a disability to speak about their lived experiences to employees and Board members and will continue to hold these types of events.

The following goals reflect how the PBC intends to remove barriers for its employees and Board members.

Accessibility Goals

Representation, Recruitment and Advancement of Persons with Disabilities
Training and Leadership

2.4 Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)


The PBC uses a variety of Government of Canada technologies to communicate with partners, stakeholders and members of the public to ensure they can access information about its programs and services. The PBC also uses specialized technology and applications for specific program functions such as processing record suspension applications, working with victims as well as working with offenders.

Internally, the PBC uses an Intranet site to share information and documents among employees and Board members.

For parole hearings that are not held in-person, virtual technology is in place to allow individuals to participate virtually. Hybrid hearings ensure equal participation of those attending hearings in person and remotely.

The PBC has identified the following goals to address barriers to accessibility in ICT.

Accessibility Goals

2.5 Communication, other than Information and Communication Technologies


The PBC communicates with partners, stakeholders and members of the public through various formats such as email, mail, pamphlets, telephone as well as through its website. Individuals are able to use the Board's various services, which include applying for a record suspension, appealing a decision, and accessing victim information, among others.

The PBC holds hearings, both virtually and in-person, where Board members make conditional release decisions for federal offenders and for provincial offenders where no provincial board exists. The Board members must write the reasons for their decisions, which are held in a registry. The Decision Registry is a collection of decisions, which are accessible by written request to anyone who is interested in a specific case.

In terms of plain language, the PBC follows Government of Canada guidelines and best practices to ensure that the information we provide is easy to understand for the public. Because of the legal nature of its work, the PBC recognizes that some of the language it uses can make understanding information more difficult for members of the public, including some persons with disabilities. The Board will strive to address communication barriers through the following goals:

Accessibility Goals

Forms and Alternate Formats
Plain Language
Accessing Information

2.6 The Built Environment


The PBC's national office is located in Ottawa (Ontario). There are regional offices in: Moncton (New Brunswick), Montreal (Quebec), Kingston (Ontario), Saskatoon (Saskatchewan), Edmonton (Alberta), and Abbotsford (British Columbia). The PBC leases space in some office buildings, and other locations are located in Crown-owned buildings. In all cases, the PBC does not own any of the buildings where employees and Board members work. This means that the PBC is able to address accessibility within the perimeters of its office spaces located within these buildings but not with respect to the physical aspect of the buildings outside of its control, such as entrances, ramps, and some bathrooms, etc.

In-person parole hearings are held in CSC institutions across the country. These facilities fall under the jurisdiction of CSC, and therefore, the PBC has limited ability to address accessibility within the confines of hearing rooms and parole hearing format, but not with respect to the facility’s physical aspects.

The PBC carried out accessibility barrier assessments in each of its national and regional offices (excluding the Atlantic Region due to a scheduled move). The results of the assessments revealed that some of the washrooms need accessibility upgrades. Some main entrances and office entrances can be challenging to use for persons with mobility disabilities and could be improved by automatic door openers. It was also recommended that more tactile signage and wayfinding be added in its offices. The PBC is committed to addressing the results of the assessment and improving the built environment where it can. Any findings in the PBC assessment reports that pertain to areas of the building that fall outside of PBC's control will be shared with the responsible federal department, for their consideration.

The following are the goals to improve accessibility of the built environment at PBC.

Accessibility Goals

Evacuation Plans
Barriers in PBC Offices
Open Office Environment

2.7 Transportation


The PBC regional offices maintain a fleet of government motor vehicles (i.e., fleet vehicles) for business travel. The Board is in the process of purchasing new vehicles that will provide appropriate space to store mobility aids. Currently, those who need to travel but are unable to use PBC's fleet vehicles due to mobility disabilities can use their own vehicle. However, in some cases, requesting to use their own vehicle can be complicated by the approval process.

Accessibility Goal

2.8 The Procurement of Goods, Services and Facilities

The PBC has not identified procurement goals for goods, services and facilities for this plan. The Board currently follows Public Services and Procurement Canada standards and guidelines and makes accessibility considerations in its procurement processes.

3. Consultations

To develop this plan, the PBC identified barriers to accessibility within its organization by surveying employees, Board members and stakeholders with disabilities. The comments received informed the goals of this accessibility plan.

Initially, the organization sent a survey to all employees and Board members to ask what barriers they encountered at the PBC. The survey also asked for suggestions on how to improve accessibility within the organization. Issues raised included:

The PBC also developed a survey for external stakeholders who have disabilities or who represented persons with disabilities. They were asked what barriers they encountered when interacting with the PBC and how it could improve accessibility. The main themes the Board heard from stakeholders were:

The PBC held consultations during the development of this plan to ensure it is easy to understand and reflects its commitments to accessibility. PBC consulted with two groups of persons with disabilities. The first was a focus group of persons with a variety of disabilities from across Canada. The second was the Network for Persons with a Disability, which is an employee and Board member resource group within the organization. Both groups were presented with a draft of the PBC’s accessibility plan and provided comments in round-table discussions. The comments received were incorporated into the final version of this plan.

4. Conclusion

The Parole Board of Canada looks forward to making its organization more inclusive where every individual can interact with the Board without barriers.

The Board will work diligently to complete the goals listed in the plan to address existing gaps and remove barriers that impede the equal and full participation of persons with disabilities.

The Board will continue to engage with and listen to persons with disabilities and will build on the accessibility work it has accomplished to date. This will ensure that the PBC is an accessible and inclusive organization for both its employees and Board members and for the public who use its programs and services.

Page details

Date modified: