Boards of Investigation - Fact Sheet
What is a National Joint Board of Investigation?
A National Joint Board of Investigation (BOI) is a review that may be conducted by the Parole Board of Canada (PBC) and the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) when an offender who is on conditional release is charged with a serious violent offence in the community.
Under what Legislative Authorities do Boards of Investigation fall?
A) Corrections and Conditional Release Act (CCRA):
The Commissioner, CSC receives authority to convene investigations from Section 20 and 21 of the CCRA.
- Section 20 of the CCRA: the Commissioner of CSC may appoint a person or persons to investigate and report on any matter relating to the operations of the Service.
- Section 152(4) of the CCRA: the Chairperson of the PBC may appoint a person or persons to investigate and report on any matter relating to the operations of PBC.
B) Inquiries Act:
As indicated in the CCRA, persons appointed by the Chairperson to conduct investigations have all the powers of a Commissioner under Part II of the Inquiries Act.
Sections 7 to 13 of the Inquiries Act apply in respect of such investigations. The Inquiries Act details the extensive powers given to the BOI such as the right to access any public office, the power to examine any document/paper, the power to summon, or if required, to subpoena witnesses and require them to give evidence under oath and provides the provision that persons will be given the opportunity to be heard in regards to any charge of misconduct alleged against them.
What is the purpose of an investigation?
The purpose of National Joint Boards of Investigation is to report on matters relating to the operations of PBC and CSC. A National Joint BOI allows for a thorough review of the actions taken by PBC and CSC to verify that those actions are consistent with the law, policies, and the mission of conditional release. National Joint BOI reports support PBCand CSC's probity, transparency, accountability and professionalism.
National Joint BOIs enable PBC and CSC to learn from incidents and help identify elements in areas such as policy, procedures, and training, in an effort to reduce the likelihood of such incidents in the future. The focus of the National Joint BOI is on the facts leading up to the incident and analyzing issues related to the release of the offender. A BOI is an administrative investigation. It is not a criminal investigation into the incident.
Who conducts the investigation?
National Joint Board s of Investigation typically consist of three members, namely a community representative who is the Chairperson of the National Joint BOI, an PBCrepresentative and a CSC representative. The community representative is appointed as the Chairperson to ensure transparency and independence of the process. On occasion there may be additional members representing the community and/or members who possess an expertise in an area related to the investigation.
How long does the investigation take?
A National Joint Board of Investigation usually begins within two weeks after the offender is charged with the new offence. The length of time to complete an investigation varies according to the complexities of the case and may take up to six months before the report is finalized.
Are victims contacted during the investigation?
Boards of Investigation do not normally contact the victim(s) or victim's family during investigations. Victims are informed when a BOI has been convened. Exceptions may be made when the victims have information as a result of their relationship to the offender that cannot be obtained in any other way. Arrangements for such contact are made through the police investigating the case. These victims can forward written statements to the BOI.
Are victims notified when the report will be released?
PBC and CSC officials will advise the victim or the victim's family before the report is released to the public. At the request of a victim or victim's family, PBC and CSC will discuss the report with them and also assign a contact to provide further information.
Can the investigation report be released to the public?
The report may be released to the public when a written request is made to PBC and CSC, as required under the Access to Information Act. PBC and CSC attempt to release as much information as possible. However, some information may be removed to comply with the Privacy Act, for example, to protect the identity of the victim(s), families of the victim(s) and the offender.
How is the investigation report used after it has been completed?
When completed, the report is submitted to the Chairperson of the PBC and to the Commissioner of CSC. Action plans are developed in response to recommendations contained in the report.
Copies of investigation reports are provided to regional offices and national office staff. The results of investigations are also shared and used in discussions with Parole Board of Canada (PBC) members and staff to ensure that lessons learned from investigations are incorporated into practice.
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